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  Bible Question: What does the Bible say about self-mutilation/suicide, if anything?
 
Bible Answer: Self-mutilation and suicide are serious issues in anyone's life. These occur sometimes when a person is depressed, discouraged, lonely and hopeless. It is important that no matter how discouraged one may be or if we have already committed one of these sins, we need to know that God will forgive us.
     Self-Mutilation. Self-mutilation occurs in the Old Testament in a number of passages. It occurs in false religions. Here is an example from the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
 
  Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire--he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good." Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no-one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no-one answered, no-one paid attention. (NIV) 1 Kings 18:24-29
 
Self-mutilation was a common practice in false religions. So it is not surprising that God prohibits this practice in Leviticus and other Old Testament passages. Here is one verse.
 
  Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. (NIV) Leviticus 19:28
 
     Now we must ask, "How does this apply to pierced ears, noses and "belly buttons?" God never condemns this type of practice even though the Israelites did these things (Ex 35:22, Isa 3:21, Eze 16:12). Self-mutilation is prohibited when it is connected with religious practices. Does God approve of someone cutting off their body parts and cutting themselves? This type of self-mutilation is characteristic of demonic possession.
 
  When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no-one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No-one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. (NIV) Mark 4:2-5
   
 
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