OPINION | Ken Pittman: Second Celebrity Suicide in a Week is Concerning
Fashion icon Kate Spade and extreme cuisine adventurer Anthony Bourdain of Parts Unknown both committed suicide this week. Both had millions of fans and were presumed to be wealthy, somewhat young (Spade 55, Bourdain 61), and their suicides were shocking to their fans and families alike. Both decided to hang themselves.
Suicide has raced to the 10th-highest cause of death in the United States of America.
I have lost people close to me to suicide. Many who I love have lost loved ones to it as well. I suspect that most of us today have been effected one way or another by this desperate last act people decide to take.
As more and more Americans are prescribed anti-depressants, why is suicide so prevalent in death today? In a society where every and any one can demand and expect tolerance and empathy for what they choose to be or however they identify themselves, what could be the root cause for so many to choose death?
There are more and more soft landing pads for economic failure than ever before. It is almost impossible to starve to death in America, or be homeless, without some form of governmental or charitable help.
So what is it?
As fewer every year identify themselves as religious, I wonder if that is a factor. Is the rise of suicide and decline of the religious correlated? Could it be that the secular progressives just don't offer the kind of security and comfort in the brain or in the very soul of human beings that is found with those who believe that there is actually meaning and purpose for their existence?
Such great effort goes into convincing people that there is no God. Some of the most educated and brightest minds spend their lives as college professors, authors, and lecturers, denouncing religion or a belief system that teaches intelligent design.
For those of us who hear God, who feel his guidance and seek his counsel and comfort, it is already hard enough to maintain faith without the badgering and ridiculing coming from the atheists.
Atheism is growing in America. Parents are not leading their children to church or synagogue, as has been the case for centuries. One of the perils of western society is falling under the belief that science knows everything we need to know. Most in the scientific community are outside of the belief of an omnipresent creator who sees and knows all.
I actually feel bad for those who don't feel and hear the presence of God. I sympathize for those who believe that we are all here by a random accident, hurtling around the universe due to nothing more than a word we decided to call chance.
I am a Roman Catholic. I'm not saying you have to be, or even believe you should be. I think that faith is a journey every man and woman must make for themselves. My ancestry is almost all Irish. My family has been Roman Catholics since the fourth century, at least.
I will not be the one to break that lineage. I also find Christianity answers all of my intellectual questions about the meaning of life, and how we are supposed to live.
"I am the good shepherd. I know mine and mine know me." - John 10:28
If Christ said that, it must mean that there are those who are not his. I think if you're the kind of person who disagrees with Jesus on matters of how to treat one another, you ridicule those who you know adhere to his philosophy or directions, you might not like the end of your own chapter. If this sounds like you...well, good luck with all of that!
In reading the Scriptures, I noted that Christ said that people who wish to go to Heaven and enjoy eternal life, would need to go through him alone. They would need to believe in him.
Some are born on this Earth and are never introduced to Christ by parent, book or stranger. Many others were born prior to the birth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I used to wonder how they could possibly get to Heaven, but now I have seen the world and have read enough to believe I might understand.
If you feed the poor, if you were kind to people and wanted to help humanity wherever and when ever you lived, then you do believe in Christ. You do agree with what he taught. And if Christians are right, you will face him after your death and know who he really is: the Word of God. A Muslim in Northwest Afghanistan who tends to the sick and poor is doing God's will. A Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist or whatever, can find eternal bliss by living the way Christ taught.
They are not in contradiction. Now, I believe that Christ told us that the church his apostle Peter would start later would last, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as the shepherd in his stead until he returns, but that's me. Other's outside of the faith can certainly live a life that is pleasing to God. We've witnessed it.
C.S. Lewis is a favorite author of mine, an Oxford University scholar and former defender of atheism. He attempted to write a book to once and for all "prove" that there is no God. By the time he was halfway done with his research, he'd bent a knee and became a devout Christian. He never publicly chose a denomination. He is best known for authoring the Narnia Chronicles and also for helping his dear friend J.R.R. Tolkein write The Hobbit and The Lord Of the Rings.
Lewis once wrote that we all have within us the sense of right behavior and character. There is a sense of “oughtness” that presses upon us. He said, “human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.”
Lewis called this law of right behavior the Moral Law. We live in a moral universe—in addition to the physical facts (“this chair is brown”, “Gold is atomic number 79”), there are moral facts (“lying is wrong”, “bravery is a virtue”). We find in the universe “a real law, which none of us made, but which we find pressing on us.” But if there is an objective Moral Law, and none of us made it, there must be something else that produced the Moral Law, a Moral Law-giver, hence God.
I highly recommend the book Mere Christianity, as it has almost provided me with as much reinforcement of my Christian faith as the Bible itself, but in the areas of modern questioning.
I also strongly advise that you try to bring your child to the understanding that we do have purpose, that there is meaning beyond our senses and that, yes, we are valued as a treasure to the God who does see and know everything. Yeah, he allows terrible things to happen to good and bad people alike. Some of us die from sinister diseases, a sudden violent end or just pass away at very inopportune times. It is the hardest part of life to deal with. Part of the faith is blind trust, no denying it.
"Show me there's a reason for your wanting me to die. You're far too keen on where and how but not so hot on why..." Jesus, in the song "Gethsemane" in Jesus Christ Superstar, talking to God before he is led away to his trial and crucifixion.
But blind faith is also true of the belief in atheism. One would have to buy into the idea that dust just happened out of nowhere. It then created laws for itself, like gravity and friction. That every atom in this universe could fit in the head of a pin and just burst into what is known as the universe.
You'd have to think that over time, the planet Earth just randomly selected a process that would lead to life based on the elements made available through the combination of energy from the sun and matter on the planet, or perhaps from a collision between Earth and a passing a comet or asteroid. In the five billion years of the planet's existence, it would still defy astronomical odds of a random creation.
According to Bible Codes Today:
The science of probability has not been favorable to evolutionary theory, even with the theory's loose time restraints. Dr. James Coppedge, of the Center for Probability Research in Biology in California, made some amazing calculations. Dr. Coppedge
"applied all the laws of probability studies to the possibility of a single cell coming into existence by chance. He considered, in the same way, a single protein molecule, and even a single gene. His discoveries are revolutionary. He computed a world in which the entire crust of the earth - all the oceans, all the atoms, and the whole crust was available. He then had these amino acids bind at a rate one and one-half trillion times faster than they do in nature. In computing the possibilities, he found that to provide a single protein molecule by chance combination would take 10, to the 262nd power, years." (That is, the number 1 followed by 262 zeros.) "To get a single cell - the single smallest living cell known to mankind - which is called the mycoplasma hominis H39, would take 10, to the 119,841st power, years. That means that if you took thin pieces of paper and wrote 1 and then wrote zeros after (it), you would fill up the entire known universe with paper before you could ever even write that number. That is how many years it would take to make one living cell, smaller than any human cell!"
According to Emile Borel, a French scientist, and expert in the area of probability, an event on the cosmic level with a probability of less than 1 out of 10, to the 50th power, will not happen. The probability of producing one human cell by chance is 10, to the 119,000 power.
Again, those figures above offer the odds atheism and her scientists want you to believe were defied for random, Godless life to have happened. Now that is what I call a leap of faith.
None of us wants one more suicide. Secular progressives cannot seem to help much here. It is not a lack of pills or forced acceptance causing these choices. It is an internal spiritual bankruptcy of hopelessness that is nothing more than an illusion.
Help your children realize that God (or whatever you wish to call the universe's landlord) knows how many hairs are on their head and knew their names before the foundation of the world was ever made. That there is a perfect order and a meaning to it all. Even while you try to find your own faith, help them to find theirs. You don't want the pain of knowing your child threw away the gift of life, finding it too painful to hold on to.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.