Opinions by Curmudgeon are his alone (excepting homilies). They are not the views of his parish or denomination.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Worldview Causes Suicide
Richard, Rush, Robin
Worldviews can cause suicide. It's worldview that drives 12 year old kids, young women, and young men to strap on bombs and blow themselves up. There are infidels and believers, falsehood and truth, oppressors and the oppressed. So they kill themselves and, they hope, others to strike a blow against evil. These people are not depressed. They are martyrs. Their worldview makes them do it. Some have tried to attribute Robin Williams' death to worldview.
Richard Knodel, minister and worldview teacher, to whom I referred in my
previous Blog, points to Willams' philosophical worldview as the source of his suicide. His offered hisanalysis on Facebook:
I've not heard anyone address the issue of Robin William's arrogant unbelief. Using the remarkable gifts God gave him, Williams lived a life of open secularism before God. In almost every way possible, Robin flaunted his autonomy! What need had he of God??? He was Renaissance Man! Whether in GOOD WILL HUNTING or DEAD POET's SOCIETY, Williams played the secular priest who manages -- via secularism -- to heal dysfunction or medieval obtuseness. Williams' life peddled a gospel (he believed in its/his superiority!!!), and he wasn't shy about his feelings of superiority. But all that bravado was turned on its head in his suicide! He had no saving gospel, and all his arrogance manifested itself in the ultimate contradiction -- suicide. Secularists today only want to talk about William's gifts. They cannot begin to admit anything honest about the dreadful revelation of philosophical bankruptsy his suicide made. Bottom line: It's never heroic to spurn Christ. We NEED HIM DESPERATELY! Robin William's death spoke volumes about his spiritual stupidity, and awful, empty, human vanity. Such is the dirty underbelly of man's impudence in the face of Christ!
The next morning, Mr. Knodel expressed some sympathy for Robin Williams, but then doubled down on the worldview issue.
It upsets me terribly that our society has a virtual epidemic of suicides with their requisite eulogies -- and then "life returns to normal" with nothing learned! We are SO PROUD today of our secularist autonomy! When will men admit IT'S NOT WORKING??? The terrible pile of bodies is proof!!!
Robin Williams died of secularism, human autonomy, philosophical bankruptcy.
Coming from another corner of the worldview world Rush Limbaugh tells us that the cause of Robin Williams' suicide was a political worldview. Now, before I get some comments from any dittoheads who read this, yes I know that Rush says that he was not blaming Robin Williams' suicide on his political liberalism but was rather analyzing the political worldview of the media as they reported Willams' death. I have read the transcripts of what Rush said August 12 and of his defense of himself on August 13. While there may be a way for those eager to be convinced to take Rush's comments on the 12th as applying only to the media's grid, I think any ordinary listener would have found it impossible to hear Rush drawing a distinction between the media's interpretative grid on the one hand and the connection between Robin Williams' politics and his suicide on the other. When I read the transcript it seems to me that Rush criticizes the media for its reporting Williams' death in a postive way, for glorifying it, and for portraying it as heroic that might lead others to emulate him (of which, btw, I have not found an instance). But, I will leave it to you to decide whether or not Limbaugh was saying that Robin Williams' political worldview contributed to his death:
So our last caller from Des Plaines, Illinois, wanted to know, "What is the politics in the coverage of the suicide of Robin Williams?" Well, I believe there is some. But I don't think that the politics is driving it. I think there was, on the part of media and Hollywood, genuine affection for the guy that is driving it, but there is politics. If you notice the coverage is focused on how much he had, but it wasn't enough. "He had everything, everything that you would think would make you happy. But it didn't." Now, what is the left's worldview in general? What is it? If you had to attach not a philosophy but an attitude to a leftist worldview, it's one of pessimism and darkness, sadness. They're never happy, are they? They're always angry about something. No matter what they get, they're always angry.
They are animated in large part by the false promises of America, because the promises of America are not for everyone, as we see each and every day. I mean, right here there's a story on the Fox News website. Do you know, it says right here, that the real reasons that Robin Williams killed himself are he was embarrassed at having to take television roles after a sterling movie career.
He had to take movie roles that were beneath him, sequels and so forth, and he finally had to do television just to get a paycheck because he was in so much financial distress. He'd had some divorces that ripped up his net worth, and he had a big ranch in Napa that he couldn't afford any longer and had to put up for sale, and a house in Tiburon that he couldn't afford anymore. This is all what's in the Fox News story.
He had it all, but he had nothing. He made everybody else laugh but was miserable inside. I mean, it fits a certain picture, or a certain image that the left has. Talk about low expectations and general unhappiness and so forth. Right here it says that one the contributing factors to Robin Williams deciding to kill himself was "survivor's guilt." It's in the headline.
I read that and I thought, "Survivor's guilt? What? What survivor's guilt? What?" So I read it, and it turns out that three of his closest friends, the story says -- Christopher Reeve, John Belushi, and Andy Kaufman... The source, unnamed in the story, said that Robin Williams felt guilty that he was still alive while his three friends had died young and much earlier than he had.
He could never get over the guilt that they died and he didn't.
A pessimistic liberal worldview can lead you to take your own life.
It is worth noting that pessimism is not unique to secularism or liberalism. Both theological and political conservatism contain strands of pessimism. With regard to theological conservatism, even if you are proponent of the "Christian worldview project" (taking every thought captive, applying the redemptive Lordship of Christ to everything) unless you are like Mr. Knodel a postmillenialist (and in his case a theonomist, too), it's hard to be anything but a short term pessimist. Evil is strong. Man is a sinner. There's not going to be a heaven on earth in this present age. Nothing short of the Second Coming will subdue evil, perfect (redeemed) man, and put an end to human suffering and death. Christian theology teaches both long term optimism (what God in Christ will do when the age to come breaks into the present one) and short term pessimism (what man in Christ can do in the meantime). There are plenty of Christian optimists, but I am doubtful that Christianity makes them so. Think Peale. Think Schuller. Think Osteen. In the political realm, whether with Christian undergirding or not, conservatism believes that man is not perfectible. Not religion, not education, not societal structures, not medicine, not psychotherapy, not government can perfect man. In fact they can be more the problem than not. You can try to maximize man's freedom and restrain his evil. You can try to limit government's powers to interfere in individual lives and societal structures), while strengthening its limited roles (punishing crime, defending against enemies). But you are not going to perfect people or society by means of conservative principles, because it cannot be done. Yes, there are sunny conservatives like Reagan. But there is also Whitaker Chambers. Worldviews do not cause suicide. Depression does. Robin Williams did not take his life because his secularism and liberalism took away his will to live. He took his life because of pervasive, persistent, relentless depression. There came for Williams perhaps "a moment of clarity" when what does not make sense to the non-depressed made eminent sense to him. He did not reason, "Secularism and liberalism tell me there is no reason to go on." He experienced depression such as people who get down the dumps or even those who have had depression that was profound but non-recurring do not know. Others, however, not a few Christians among them, do know.
Worldview not depression leads to a few suicides among Islamic extremists. However, in our world rational suicide is committed by those whose worldview makes them try to use it to explain everything including depression and suicide. They can't live with anbiguity, questions, uncertainty, things unexplained. But, there are mysteries that will not be resolved till God is all in all. Depression appears to be one one of them.