40 Harmful Effects of Christianity – #26

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

This post is the twenty-sixth in a series that addresses a list of “40 Harmful Effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #26: Terminal patients in constant agony who would end their lives if they didn’t believe it would result in eternal torture.

This “harmful effect” assumes that patients with a terminal illness are better off dead. It further assumes that it is a Christian doctrine that believers who take their own lives are destined for an eternity in Hell. Neither of these assumptions bear out in the biblical text. There are certainly those who claim to be Christians who are under the misapprehension that suicide equals an automatic ticket to Hell. However, there are also those who claim to be Christians who reject the eternity of Hell or its existence altogether. So, on that one misunderstanding of Christianity (that everyone goes to Heaven), this harmful effect is absurd. On another, (that Christians who kill themselves are destined for Hell) it is arguable viable. However, that mistaken belief is based on unfounded folk religion rather than biblical Christian doctrine. The author of this list seems to have picked whichever misapprehension best suited his atheistic presupposition that the terminally ill are better off dead.

To be a Christian is to be one of God’s elect people. The status of being one of God’s elect cannot be lost, even through committing an act of sin (including the act of self-murder). Having accepted Christ as Lord, a Christian’s sins (past, present, and future) are covered by the blood of Christ. Through His atoning death, Christ bore the punishment for the sins of the elect. Concurrently, the righteousness of Christ was imputed to the sinners He came to save. No Christian who understands the Bible will avoid killing himself purely to avoid Hell. Rather, such Christians will value the life they have been provided by God for as long as continue to live. Atheists, who have no hope in this life or the next, surely cannot understand the peace that comes with knowing that a loving God is control of the fate of His children. If you are reading this and struggling with a lack of hope, consider calling out to Jesus Christ for salvation. There’s no reason to live in hopelessness or with the belief that even a terminal illness has to be the end for anyone.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #27: School boards having to spend time and money and resources on the fight to have evolution taught in the schools.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant