Bubba Liu, a man of Chinese descent by way of Arkansas and Louisiana, now lives in Corpus Satani, Texas. He may be very troubled. Why do I say that? Bubba emailed me to ask whether suicide was considered a sin in Infinitiaty, the religion he has practiced devoutly all his adult life.
In case Bubba asked that for deeply personal reasons, triggered by a very dark emotional crisis, compassion compels me to urge him in the strongest possible terms to seek the professional help of a lawyer to ensure that he has an airtight will that bequeaths all of his assets to the Church of Infinitiaty.
Bubba, please, please, please. I beg of you. Run off to see your lawyer right now, before you do anything rash. Later maybe too late. All of your assets may go to our next of kin rather than to the Church, as they should.
With that out-of-the-way, I’ll turn to answering Bubba’s question.
As is often the case in religion, the answer is somewhat vague. Suicide is not so much a sin as something that is seriously frowned upon. Although, “frowned upon” maybe understating the case. There is invariably considerable furrowing of the brows accompanying those frowns.
To use a secular law analogy, it is more akin to a misdemeanor—a serious misdemeanor, true, but a misdemeanor nonetheless—than to a felony.
Suicide as a Sin: Origins of the Belief
This brings to mind a darkly funny story.
Early Infinitians believed that not just suicide, but also attempted suicide, was more than merely a sin. They believed it was a Mortal Sin.
Because it was believed to be a Mortal Sin, the punishment for it was death. The sentence was carried out in the most humane way possible at the time, which was a very rapid beheading using a very sharp sword. Those subjected to this sentence felt no pain.
This had the consequence that any rational person might expect. People who were suicidal stood in a busy public square during the middle of rush hour and used one of those theatrical swords with a spring-loaded blade to pretend to stab themselves. They figured that a quick beheading would be much less painful than any suicide method they could devise.
When the religious police witnessed this one-act play, they always fell for it. You might’ve thought that the total absence of blood would have tipped them off to the charade, but that was never the case.
The religious police immediately arrested the suicide-pretender and conducted a summary trial on the spot. The trials rarely lasted more than 30 seconds. The conviction rate was 100%. The sentence was carried out right then and there.
The darkly funny part is that the belief that attempted suicide was a Mortal Sin came about as a result of a misinterpretation by an early Infinitian scholar of one of Infinitiaty’s ancient sacred texts.
This false belief persisted for many hundreds of years. It was corrected only when another Infinitian scholar accidentally read the original sacred text because he mistakenly thought it was a recipe for buttermilk pancakes.
Even after it became crystal clear that the text was not going to help him make any sort of flapjacks, he persisted in reading it through to the end. Not having the highest of reading comprehension scores, he reread the 132-word, almost entirely monosyllabic text again and again over the course of a few days. It was only on the seventh reading that he noticed that the original scholar had missed a “not” in the text.
God One was telling us in the scripture that suicide was not a Mortal Sin, not that it was. Funny, huh? You’d be surprised how many times that sort of thing happens in Infinitiaty, the most perfect of all religions. Or maybe you wouldn’t be surprised.