por Lillian Rosendo e Katia Conceição

Assisted suicide

We aim to draw your attention to the thought regarding a practice that attracts more and more followers in some States of the USA, European countries, and one of South America. It is an urgent appeal to the reader, about the problem of the human being when he is victimized due to his disbelief in life. We will approach assisted suicide in the light of the Spiritist Doctrine, especially the case of a 104 years old English scientist, David Goodall.

Allan Kardec asks in The Book of Spirits, question 944: - Does man have the right to dispose of his life? And the answer is negative; the Teachers of the Greater Life state that “God alone has this right. Voluntary suicide means breaking this law”. Kardec then asks in point a whether suicide is not always voluntary? This is the answer of the Higher Spirits: "The madman who kills himself does not know what he is doing". We understand that there is a mitigating when the being in mental imbalance takes its own life. Since the individual does not understand God as kindness, love and justice, we believe that the lack of belief in Him in the face of intimate conflicts, physical and / or emotional illnesses, prevents him from thinking during the setbacks of life.

We delve deeper into this reality and look at lists of requests for assisted suicide, which grow regardless of age, despite the prevalence of the majority of the elderly, which however are not terminally ill. There is a disbelief set in many minds regarding: who we are, where we came from, where we are going, and the purpose of being here.

The outstanding lists are from the states of Washington, Vermont, Montana, and New Mexico, which have changed their laws to allow assisted suicide. In Europe: Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg, and with legal variations: Germany and Canada. And Colombia in South America.

In our country regarded as the “Heart of the World, Fatherland of the Gospel,” both Euthanasia and assisted suicide are considered crimes; however, in 2006 the Federal Council of Medicine authorized a patient - after having heard a medical board - to discontinue the treatment of a terminal disease practiced as orthothanasia.

Understanding assisted suicide, euthanasia and orthothanasia - Assisted suicide (or medically assisted death) refers to assistance in suicide in which the person himself causes his death through a lethal drug provided by doctors in specialized clinics.

Euthanasia etymologically means "good death" (I = good / good; thanatos = death) or "death without great suffering." Euthanasia is practiced by doctors or others.

Orthothanasia in its etymology means death at the right time; it is the suspension of therapeutic effort, i.e., treatment or procedures that are prolonging the life of terminally ill patients, as well as the disconnection of appliances.

The term assisted suicide began to be defined as the “right to death” in the 1990s, advocated by organizations around the world following the outcome of the actions and prepositions of the pathologist Jack Kevorkian, known as “Dr. Death”, who strengthened this practice.

Formation of man - In The Book of Spirits, question 135, we have the explanation that man is formed by three essential parts: 1st - the body or material being, analogous to that of animals and animated by the same vital principle; 2nd - the soul: an embodied Spirit that has in its body its dwelling; 3rd - the intermediate principle, or perispirit, a semi-material substance that serves as the first envelope to the Spirit and connects the soul to the body.

Our body is a temporary, God-given gift for moral and intellectual progress and should be used in a thoughtful and loving way. The immortal Spirit continues its path, in or out of the body. In the process of reincarnation, there is all an energy that is released from the collaborators from Above, all a planning, an assistance that is in place to help us complete our internship, our opportunity for readjustment, with the Divine Laws.

David Goodall Case - Let's develop a little more the character of our study. A British professor and scientist David Goodall, based in Australia, traveled to Switzerland on May 2, 2018 to undergo an assisted suicide procedure on May 10, of the same year. Australia had denied him this appeal because the country's law did not allow it at that time, except for the state of Victoria, where assisted suicide from 2019 was legalized but restricted to terminally ill patients with the expectation of life of less than six months. This was not the case with David Goodall, who, despite the typical setbacks of old age, suffered from no terminal illness and claimed not to suffer depression. Goodall stated on the day of his death: "At my age, and even under my age, someone wants to be free to choose death and when death is the appropriate time".

Free Will - With regard to the right of choice and the application of the law of freedom, we note in The Book of Spirits, question 843: - Has man the free will of his acts? The Teaches of the Greater Life answered: “Because you have the freedom to think, you must also work. Without free will, man would be a machine”.

Possibly supported, even if unconsciously, by this thought, David Goodall lacked a fair understanding of what can be understood about free will, which slips into consequences and responsibilities on the one who practices it, as Leon Denis points out in his book The Problem of Being, of Destiny and of Pain, Chapter 22: “The question of free will is of major importance and has grave consequences for the whole social order, by its action and its repercussions on education, morality, justice, legislation, etc. It has determined two opposing currents of opinion - those who deny free will and those who admit it with restraint”.

Reinforcing this thought in The Book of Spirits, question 953, Allan Kardec asked:

953. When a person sees an inevitable and horrible end before him, is it guilty of shortening its sufferings for a few moments, voluntarily hastening his death”? The one - that does not wait for the term that God determined for its life - is always guilty. And who can be certain that, despite appearances, that term has arrived; that unexpected help doesn't come at the last moment?”

a) It is conceived that under ordinary circumstances suicide is condemnable; however, we are figuring out the case where death is inevitable and life is only shortened for a few moments. "It is always a lack of resignation and submission to the will of the Creator."

b) - What, then, are the consequences of such an act? “Proportionate atonement, as always, is to be applied to the severity of the fault, according to the circumstances.”

Freedom to act entails the responsibility of those who use it.

Law of Cause and Effect - What is David Goodall’s share of responsibility and of those who have the same opinion? What about the countries and states mentioned in this article that encourage suicide through their laws? We see that this course greatly influences people, as we noted in a passage in the Old Testament, Book 1 of Samuel, Chapter 31:4-6, concerning the struggle between Saul and the Philistines. Realizing his near death, he commanded his page to pierce him with the sword, which was not done; so Saul took the sword and killed himself and his example was followed by his three sons and his own page.

In the comment on question 941 of The Book of Spirits, Allan Kardec wrote:

“The carnal man, more bound to the corporeal life than to the spiritual life, has, on Earth, only material pleasures and enjoyments. His happiness is the fleeting satisfaction of all his desires. His soul, constantly worried and distressed by the vicissitudes of life, is preserved in anxiety and perpetual torture.

Death scares him because he doubts the future and because he has to leave all his affections and hopes in this world. The moral man - who has placed himself above the artificial needs created by the passions – still in this world experiences joys that the material man does not know.

The moderation of his desires gives the Spirit calmness and serenity. Blessed by the good he does, there are no disappointments for him and setbacks slide over his soul, with no painful impression left”.

The Consequences of Suicide - The consequences are diverse and depend on the circumstances, as the Teachers of the Greater Life state in The Book of Spirits, question 957:

“(...) There are no determined penalties and in all cases always correspond to the causes that produced it. There is, however, a consequence to which the suicide cannot escape; it is the disappointment. But luck is not the same for everyone; it depends on the circumstances. Some atone for the fault immediately, others at a new existence, which will be worse than the one whose course they interrupted”.

In the book Workers of Eternal Life, by Andre Luiz, a psychographics by Francisco Candido Xavier, Cavalcante, already dying, did not wish to disincarnate and, in a terminal state with his body in complete decay, was freed from his physical body by the doctor who had given him the “compassionate injection”, reverberating in disastrous consequences in the perispirit, which had suffered the fulminant load, making it difficult to awaken. Remember that Cavalcante did not deliberate suicide, he did not want death, he was about to disincarnate naturally, and thus he can be considered a victim of murder.

In Chapter 19 of the aforementioned work, Andre Luiz goes on to clarify the consequences on Cavalcante's perispiritical organization, narrating that the perispirit was affected as if it received an electric shock, remaining inert and ignoring the self. The guidance counselor Jerome, instructing Andre Luiz on the subject, said that "suicides often feel, for a long time, the distress of violently annihilated cells (...)".

Allan Kardec, in question 964 of “The Book of Spirits”, explains:

“All our actions are subject to the laws of God. There are none, however insignificant we may think that cannot be a violation of those laws. If we suffer the consequences of this violation, we alone must complain about ourselves, that in this way we make the cause of our happiness, or our future unhappiness. This truth becomes evident through the following allegory: “A father gave his son education and instruction, that is, the means to guide himself. He gave him a field to cultivate and said: Here is the rule that you must follow and all the instruments necessary to make this field fertile and ensure your existence. I gave you the instruction to understand this rule. If you follow it, your field will produce much and will give you support in old age. If you despise it, it will produce nothing and you will starve. Saying this, he let him operate freely”.

Is it not true that this field will produce on account of the care given to its crop and that all neglect will result in damage to the harvest? In old age, then, the child will be blessed or disgraced, as he or she has not followed the rule the father has laid out. God is even more forward looking for He warns us at all times that we are doing good or bad. He sends us the Spirits to inspire us, but we do not listen to them. There is one more difference: God always gives man, by granting him new existences, resources to redress his past mistakes, however for the son - of whom we have spoken – and which has misused his time, no resources remain”.

There are several examples of the consequences of suicide that Kardec reports in Heaven and Hell, Part 2, Chapter V.

The followers of this choice are usually people who are magnetized by materialistic ideas. The Spiritist Doctrine, in turn, is like a light that clarifies doubts, as we read in Chapter V, item 16, of The Gospel According to Spiritism: “The believer knows that existence extends indefinitely beyond the grave, but under very different conditions; such as patience and resignation that very naturally alienate him from thinking of suicide; whence, in short, moral courage”.

Conclusion - The human being runs away from suffering at all costs, materialism keeps him away from future belief, but only this would revolutionize his modus operandi, because then he would understand the transience of difficulties, the immortality of being and divine justice, and perseverance and courage would grow within him to overcome the setbacks of the earthly walk, knowing how to be a child of God in the process of moral and intellectual growth subordinated to the Laws of Cause and Effect.

Leon Denis, in Chapter XXII of the book The Problem of Being, Destiny and Pain, wrote:

How can we reconcile our free will with divine foreknowledge? Given God's foreknowledge of all things, can human freedom truly be stated? Apparently a complex and arduous question that made rivers of ink run and the solution of which is, however, the simplest. But man does not like simple things; he prefers the dark, the complicated, and accepts the truth only after he has exhausted all forms of error”.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free".

This maxim expressed by Jesus to the Jews, expressed in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8 verse 32, shows that we need to understand his Gospel and, above all, to practice it, which will lead us to be considered disciples of the Master.

The truth is Love, God's inexhaustible source for us. When we do not seek to understand, even imperfectly, this love, we lower our foreheads to material interests, distancing ourselves from Him.

Truth is not unique to one doctrine, one philosophy, one religion, or even science, for Christ offers us this Love, which we do not yet understand, to which He invites us when He claims that it is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that we can come to God only through Him (John 14: 6).

It is in this encounter with God that we will have answers to our concerns and then value life with resilience and a reflected joy.


Bibliographic reference:

Kardec, Allan. The Book of Spirits. Salvador Gentile’s translation. 175th edition. Araras, Sao Paulo. IDE publisher. 2007. Pages 368,90,325,371,375,372.

Kardec, Allan. The Gospel According to SpiritismTranslation by Matheus Rodrigues de Camargo. 1st edition. 40th reprinted. Capivari Sao Paulo. EME Publisher. 2000. Page 67.

Kardec, Allan. Heaven and Hell. (or Divine Justice) According to Spiritism. Salvador Gentile’s translation. 51st edition. Araras. Sao Paulo. IDE publisher. 2008. Chapter V.

Luiz, Andre (Spirit). Workers of Eternal Life. [psychographics by] Francisco Candido Xavier. 29th edition. Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian Spiritist Federation. 2004. Pages 361,364

BRAZIL. Scientist David Goodall dies at 104 after committing assisted suicide in Switzerland, available at: Folha UOL Accessed on 10 Sept. 2018.

PAIVA, Victor. How assisted suicide works and what impact it has on the countries where it was adopted, available at: <Hypeness> Accessed on 17 Sep. 2018.

GOLDIM, Jose Roberto. Assisted Suicide, available at: <UFRGS> Accessed 12 Sep. 2018.

CAJAZEIRAS, Francisco. Assisted Suicide: Medical Act or Homicide? Available in; <Folha Espirita>, Accessed on 17 September. 2018.

ALMEIDA, Patricia Donati de. What are the differences between euthanasia, assisted death, orthothanasia and palliative sedation? Available at: <Jusbrasil> Accessed on 17 Sep. 2018.



This article was included in the contest “The Doctrine Explains”, held in 2018, promoted in the class of the Spiritist Speakers Course of the Federal District, in the Spiritist Federation of the Federal District (FEDF). The authors are Spiritist writers based in Brasília (DF).

Eleni Frangatos - eleni.moreira@uol.com.br



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 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita