Rick Warren’s Son Has Committed Suicide

After years of struggling with clinical depression, Rick Warren’s 27 year old son Matthew has committed suicide. Rick Warren released a statement:

“Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts. Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life.”

Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life,” said in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening with their son before Matthew Warren returned home to take his life in “a momentary wave of despair.”

Terrible news. My heart goes out to the family. My mind turns to how we can help those we love who cope with mental illness. If you don’t already read JT, Miri, or Greta, they are each great resources on the subject from within atheist perspectives. 

I am also reminded of Bede, my close friend who suffers from clinical depression and has decided to bravely confront his illness publicly. Bede is also both a monk and gay. He graciously and courageously agreed to be interviewed about his experience for my Camels With Hammers Show last fall. At the 56:50 mark of the video below, Bede begins to talk about his mental illness and its most dangerous effect on him.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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