Rick Warren did what he could, but mental illness claims another victim.

As many of you have likely read, Rick Warren’s son committed suicide.  This is the kind of thing I would never wish even upon my enemies.  A parent should never have to bury a child.  Hemant says pretty much what is on my mind (I strongly recommend reading his whole post):

We should be grateful that the Warrens did what all good parents should have done: They took their son to professionals. They gave him the prescribed medications. They did everything they could to help him. They didn’t just pray. They didn’t try an exorcism. They didn’t blame some decision made by their son. They didn’t say “Satan did it.” They didn’t dismiss the problem. Sure, they prayed, but they did so much more than that.

There is certainly praise to be had for the Warrens for how they handled it.

The primary difference I see, and I don’t think its inconsequential, is that Rick Warren asked his congregation to pray to the architect of mental illness to relieve us of it.

Atheists, on the other hand, seek the cure exclusively from human innovation, and would despise the god who contaminated our species with mental illness if he existed – and we would loathe him for taking another young person’s life.  Hurting so much you no longer want to live is hell, and no good person would wish it on anybody.  Atheists just hold god to the same standard.

Every person in Rick Warren’s congregation, including Rick Warren I’d wager, if given god’s power would wipe mental illness from the planet.  Humans, sadly, don’t have god’s power and so we tinker along, our sights forever set on destroying what god thought belonged as a facet to humanity.  But the moment a Christian realizes they would do something differently given god’s power, they have admitted his design is not perfect, and they have admitted that they could make better moral judgment calls.  They’ve asserted, in that instant, that they could conceive a better world.

And yet they keep praying.  That, I simply do not understand.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.