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I'm looking for a text I read some time ago where an Early Church writer (one of the Patristic Fathers?) responds to an argument regarding suicide put forth by some opponents. IIRC, it goes something like this: "If Christianity is true and this world is a temporary place of suffering prior to the bliss of heaven, why don't all you Christians just kill yourselves?" (Or something to that effect.) The text is the author's response--but I can't recall the text, the author, their response, or where I read it! Any help would be appreciated.

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  • Searching a site like newadvent.org or ccel.org is a good way to find the works of the church fathers, paragraph 3 here this looks tangentially close to what you're describing, I don't think it's good 'nuff for an answer though – Peter Turner Mar 8 at 19:51
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Justin Martyr (†c.165) is one such Early Church writer. In fact, I suspect he is one of the earliest to respond explicitly to this objection.

From the Second Apology, Chapter 4 (Thomas B. Falls translation):

Lest any one should say to us, 'All of you, go, kill yourselves and thus go immediately to God, and save us the trouble,' I will explain why we do not do that, and why, when interrogated, we boldly acknowledge our faith. We have been taught that God did not create the world without a purpose, but that He did so for the sake of mankind; for we have stated before that God is pleased with those who imitate His perfections, but is displeased with those who choose evil, either in word or in deed. If, then, we should all kill ourselves we would be the cause, as far as it is up to us, why no one would be born and be instructed in the divine doctrines, or even why the human race might crease to exist; if we do act thus, we ourselves will be opposing the will of God.

Emphasis mine. Justin's key reason is that doing so is contrary to God's will: the secondary reason why it is contrary to God's will is that doing so is an impediment to the spread of Christian doctrine.

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  • Yes, this is exactly what I was looking for. I would probably never have discovered its provenance if not for your help. Thank you very much! – Sophisticated_Sophist Mar 8 at 23:39

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