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God is love (some restrictions may apply)

Most days at the office are devoid of meaning, intelligence, and humanity for eight hours, except for as much time wasted as possible. Today I wasted some time talking with Hector, who sits next to me, and we had a fun conversation about suicide and God.

How we got on the subject I don't remember, but Hec believes suicide is the only sin God won't forgive, because once you're dead you can't ask forgiveness. If you commit suicide you're going to Hell, says Hector.

Well, I'm not suicidal, but that seems a little harsh, doesn't it?

There's a crucifix on Hector's neck, a Jesus candle on his desk, and he's a religious man. I'm not religious. There's nothing on my neck, and on my desk only piles of work and my Popeye lunchpail. I was curious about this religious way of thinking, so I asked Hector a follow-up question:

"What if I took an overdose of sleeping pills and regretted it, too late to be saved by calling 9-1-1, but not too late to cry out to Jesus and beg forgiveness? The Lord would refuse to hear my prayers as I die? Or would the Lord hear my prayers, but refuse to save me or forgive me, because that's 'company policy', so to speak?"

Hec pondered this, and said, "That's a special situation. I suppose God would forgive you if you could ask, but a more normal suicide would be putting a gun to your head and pulling the trigger. There'd be no time to ask God's forgiveness."

I chewed that over for a moment and spat it out. "Lemme get this straight. God will not forgive suicide by gun if I'm a good shot. What if I'm a bad shot? Like, I aim for my brain but shoot my jaw, so there's splattered bones in my face and it takes half an hour for me to slowly bleed to death. If I asked nicely while I was dying, would God forgive me?"

Hector seemed uncomfortable at being asked to explain the laws of God for some fat geek in the office, so he said, "I don't make the rules," and soon we were talking about something else, something safer. And then we weren't talking at all, which was even better.

Now it's only me, at home a few hours later, remembering that conversation and still confused about it. I was being an ass with Hector, of course, but my question was serious.

I was raised in a Christian church, in a denomination more liberal than Hector's, and with a God more forgiving. We never heard sermons saying suicide is an irrevocable ticket to eternal damnation in Hell, so that's a new one for me.

In my church, one of the first verses they made us memorize was First John 4:7 — "God is love." Of course, it's more complicated than those three little words, and in any denomination, any religion, the deity has all sorts of rules and regulations and commandments about what you can do, what you can't, and what can be forgiven and what never will.

But this rule against forgiveness for suicide is just cruelty for the sake of cruelty, isn't it? "God is love," but in the end maybe God won't forgive you? God, that's bullshit. That's more morally wrong than suicide. If there's anything God should forgive, it ought to be suicide — that's the one thing you could never forgive yourself for.

I'd love to send God a memo and explain the concept of mercy, but God doesn't have an in-box, only a collection plate. If a real 'Judgment Day' was coming, here's what I'd say as I was passing judgment on God:

Suiciders have at least given the matter some thought. Have you? Some suiciders have a valid reason for offing themselves — endless pain from a fatal disease, for example. You could cure that disease and end that pain, because you're God, but you don't. So someone's in agony 24/7, with no hope of recovery, and sadly decides suicide is painless — but even suicide is no escape, because God will condemn that person to eternal torture in Hell, every moment for as long as the universe exists?

"Catch-22; that's one hell of a catch." —Joseph Heller

From Pathetic Life #2
Wednesday, July 13, 1994 

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

 

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