… a shocking number [of responses to the Warrens] are taking the moment of media attention to lash out at Warren on their digital tom-toms. The attacks are aimed both at him personally and at his Christian message.
Some unbelievers want to assure Rick and Kay Warren, his wife and Matthew’s bereaved mother, that there’s no heaven where they’ll meet their son again.
“Either there is no God, or God doesn’t listen to Rick Warren, despite all the money Rick has made off of selling false hope to desperate people,” one poster from Cincinnati wrote in to USA Today.
Cruel and truly disgusting people.
People who are the great, unwashed masses – who need the salvation Christ brings and which Rev. Warren has been pointing to for his whole career. Mean, ugly, cruel and evil persons – in short, each of us before Christ.
I disagree that these are the great, unwashed masses. They are the revisionist and liberal activists with whom we are all so very familiar.
There’s a big big big difference between being a simple political liberal [and thus disagreeing with Warren’s positions] and being a liberal political activist. The latter are filled with hatred, the former couldn’t care less and are essentially indifferent.
The average American would no more trample on Rick Warren’s son’s grave than run over a baby. But the average liberal political activist supports killing babies anyway, deeming even the Born Alive act to be out of bounds.
So this is entirely normal for the latter, which aren’t great, unwashed masses at all.
Do they need Christ? Sure! But they’re beyond reach of human intervention or common human decency.
We have similar ugly, distasteful outbursts here in the UK in response to the death of Margaret Thatcher. Often from people too young to have ever known her. That and the cruel words to the Warrens mentioned here are a sign to me of the decline of civility in our culture. Perhaps there were always people with neanderthal views, but editors and others would have made sure that these were not publicised. The uncensored mass media brings the power of instant comment to everybody, for good, and for ill.
While I agree with the four comments above, I’d like to point to the positive witness enshrined in how this article ends, with that marvelous tweet made by Rick Warren. Namely, that we continually pray “[i]Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,[/i],” because while God’s will is always done in heaven, it’s “rarely” done on earth. All too true.
Or as Rick Warren has also wisely and aptly pointed out, in the preamble to the Great Commission, the risen Lord makes the rather astounding assertion, “[i]All authority in heaven AND ON EARTH is given to me, go therefore…[/i]” It’s not hard for us to believe that Jesus Christ has all authority in the heavenly realm, that’s a given. What’s a challenge is for us to trust that he also is enthroned at the Father’s right hand and is already, in a hidden way, exercising that same almighty authority ON EARTH.
FWIW, the tragedy of suicide striking one of the most prominent Christian families in America reminds me forcefully of a similar tragedy that was featured here on T19 not too long ago. Last year, Fr. Al Kimel was highlighted on this blog, preaching at his son’s funeral. And in that even sadder case of suicide, Fr. Kimel’s son was an unbeliever, whereas the Warren’s son was an active member of Saddleback.
There’s no indication in this article that most (or even a significant number) of negative comments are coming from “liberal political activists.” Not at all. Certainly not the ones saying that Rick Warren’s son went to hell.
For myself, I found something noticably distinctive in the wording of the announcement that was released by the family. It’s as if they were already anticipating certain comments or questions and were pro-actively countering them.
The problem here is that Christianity offers itself as the religion of hope against despair, meaning against meaninglessness, life against death. So what act could more profoundly represent a rejection of all Christian values than suicide? And, in fact, that has been the position of the Catholic Church for the last 2,000 years, which is why suicides were not permitted burial in consecrated ground. This position has been mitigated in recent years with the assertion of the proposition that, almost by definition, no one would kill themselves if they were of sound mind, so therefore a person who commits suicide cannot be accountable for the act. While there is certainly truth in this, it has gotten to be like annulment — a legitimate concept stretched farther than it was ever meant to go. So no one now would dare say that a person who committed suicide was in hell, or even that they had commited a sin. Instead, they are all victims.
It seems to me that the announcement of the suicide of Rick Warren’s son made extraordinary efforts to erase any difference between suicide and natural death. The announcement treated it exactly as if he had died of cancer. You could change a few words and you wouldn’t know the difference. He was “fine” when his parents saw him just a few hours earlier and then he was gone. He had been suffering for years. In a way, it was really a miracle he made it as long as he did. It’s as if he had an incurable illness against which he put up a courageous struggle but in the end it claimed him. And this may be completely true. But the announcement made an extremely noticable point about it.
Now, it’s certainly not the responsibilty of Rick Warren or his church to use the occasion of his son’s death to discourse on the Christian view of suicide. But it is as if they were carefully positioning the death precisely to preclude any such discussion, or even any such thoughts.
It is not impossible to imagine why the average non-Christian might ask the question “if Christianity is the saving religion you say it is — and if your son was a good Christian — why didn’t it save him?” I don’t think an educated Christian would ask such a thing but I think the possibility of such a question being raised was clearly in the mind of whoever wrote the announcement.
RE: “Thereâ€™s no indication in this article that most (or even a significant number) of negative comments are coming from â€œliberal political activists.â€
Agreed. Fortunately I don’t have to base my assertion on the article itself.
And so, I’m back to my original assertion — the authors of the vitriolic comments are not the great, unwashed masses at all.
Others certainly may believe so, however — it makes no odds to me.
But since we’re commenting on the article, the article is the basis for our comments. If you have personal knowledge that the people making vitriolic and/or judgmental and/or just plain nasty comments on the subject are actually “revisionist and liberal activists with whom we are all so very familiar” it would seem relevant to state the basis for that. Otherwise I might just as well say “the people making all the vitriolic comments are Muslims. But I’m not going to tell you how I know that.”