Or perhaps purgatory. Or maybe even Heaven itself. For though the argument above is perfectly valid, it is not necessarily sound. Missing from it is the premise that it is God, and God alone, who judges. Since God knows all, and we know but little, there could be any number of reasons God chose to show Bourdain mercy. Let us pray He did.
On the other hand, if we insert the premise of God’s potential mercy, we still are forced to concluded this: based on what we know, it is likely Anthony Bourdain is in Hell.
Now this is an unpleasant thought. Indeed, there is none more unpleasant. It is an awful, sickening thing to contemplate. The mind reels, and does its best to refuse to grasp the point. Why? Because we all know it could our own fate we have in mind. Which is well. It is why St Paul advised “with fear and trembling work out your salvation.”
Such thoughts were probably on the mind of David Leavitt, who tweeted “If you’re religious, then you believe there’s a special place in hell or purgatory for people like Anthony Bourdain who take their own lives.”
This, unfortunately, and with the same qualification about God’s mercy, is also true. Suicide in many cases, as the Catholic Encyclopedia writes, “constitutes a grave injustice towards Him.” Since the act is final, there is no chance to beg forgiveness.
Leavitt was careful not to claim to know definitively Bourdain is in Hell. But, again, it is not unlikely.
To say that people did not like hearing this is like saying Vlad the Impaler was displeased with Transylvania’s Saxons.
Many took the attitude that it was Leavitt, or Christians in general, who put Bourdain in Hell. This accounts for Patheos’s Matthew Stone’s article “Christians Claim Atheist Anthony Bourdain Is Burning In Hell.”
Stone calls himself a “secular humanist”, which like Bourdain, signals an unwillingness to seek redemption. He said “There is no heaven, and there is no hell. Death is final, and that is tragedy enough. There is no afterlife.”
They said What?
Stone took exception to Leavitt’s tweet, and to tweets made by other Christians. Including some by the notorious Westboro Baptist Church.
That group is not known for their subtlety or in their accuracy in relating scripture. But in this case they said:
After lapping up the goods of this world—with no observable evidence that he sought and served God—Anthony Bourdain most likely faces a sorrowful and hopeless eternity in Hell. Oh, don’t follow him!!! #ServeGodAndLive #WhyWillYouDie
There is nothing wrong in that. And nothing in poor taste, either. And there is nothing wrong with clicking here and revealing the dramatic conclusion!
Pray for the soul of Anthony Bourdain, pray for mine (I could use it), and pray for yours, too.