Anthony Bourdain In Hell?

Anthony Bourdain In Hell?

Hell exists. The unrepentant go there. By all accounts, and from the man’s own pen, Anthony Bourdain was unrepentant. Therefore, Anthony Bourdain is in Hell.

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.”

Tweet Storm

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.


  1. The foregoing is a recitation of various religious beliefs, and so it would be pointless to object to it. Of course many people believe this way. The only thing that is truly mistaken is the claim:

    “nothing in poor taste”

    People mired in poor taste are unable to know it. Donald Trump (for example) is now, and always has been, in places like New York where he was a prominent presence, the poster boy for poor taste: the clothes, the bizarre combover, the Italian bordello interior design, the vocabulary, and more. But he doubtless feels confident that he exudes an air of refinement and sophistication.

    Likewise, Dr. Briggs would be unable to perceive how everything he has written above is in colossal bad taste. The fact that these are true expressions of faith has no bearing upon this.

  2. And Lee has no idea in how poor taste it is to mock Christian values in a world formed by them.

  3. Sheri

    Would have read it, but since Lee is here to tell us all why it’s a lie, didn’t bother.

  4. brian (bulaoren)

    As I have often said (to intimates); Life is God’s gift to matter. There is a lot of matter out there in the universe, most of it seems to be lifeless.
    Perhaps pain is as great a gift as pleasure; The mere fact that we can feel anything should indicate an immortal motivator. For my part, I am grateful to have the gift of life, Crappy as it may sometimes seem.
    Anthony Bourdain always seemed to be a charming fellow, As he seemed to lead a charmed life. Why did he top himself? Should he pay for that prank with an eternity in hell?… Well, I do think he did a very ungrateful thing, and I do think that all of his fans, and of course God, owe him a big kick in the ass.

  5. I’d never heard of Mr. Bourdain until he died (as so often seems to happen), but I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s quote recommending “heaven for climate, hell for company”.

  6. John B()

    According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the number of fatalities from car crashes in 2009 was 33,883 — down from 37,423 in 2008. In 2009, there were 36,909 suicides in the U.S., according to the CDC (one MIGHT suspect that even traffic fatalities could conceivably be suicide).

  7. brian (bulaoren)

    In the 1983 film; “THE MEANING OF LIFE” The Monty Pythonists sang a song about every life being precious. They sang it in jest. Do traffic fatality statistics undermine the worthyness of our own lives? Decide for yourself…or just pull the plug on your own. After all, we’re all headed that way sooner or later. Your worm’s your only emperor for diet.

  8. Ken

    RE: “Pray for the soul of Anthony Bourdain, pray for mine (I could use it), and pray for yours, too.”

    WHY???? Do any of you think about what that implies about god?

    If such prayers work this indicates that god is a politician — swayed by the tides of the opinions of the masses. How is that in any way consistent with an omnipotent, almighty, all-knowing deity applying some objective moral standard???

    As many have noticed, leadership often is like the kid running in front of the parade and pretending they’re the leader; often enough, those in power have to cater to the moods of their populace to stay in power (especially if the populace of interest is their military).

    One of the folks that observed the utility of a leader giving in to, and going along with, mob mentality was Machiavelli, which he described in objective detail in his book, The Prince. In 1559, about 25 years after its publication, the Church banned it. After all, the notion that an all-knowing, almighty, eternal, omnipotent deity is swayed by the prayers of the masses — a god that applies a Machiavellian tactic — is wholly inconsistent with an all-knowing, almighty, eternal, omnipotent deity. (not to mention, that the Church, in endorsing the “divine right of kings” was effectively endorsing the tactics used by those kings…which Machiavelli had the temerity to reveal in detail)

    Christianity, to its credit, did/does strive to offset amoral power ploys with a much more noble set of values for human interaction. So much so that early religious leaders couldn’t help but notice the contradictions between how god is portrayed in the OT vs NT. Marcion, for example, concluded the OT god couldn’t have been the same supreme god described in the NT but some inferior interloper (“Demiurge”). Back then (Marcion reached his conclusions in the 2nd century) people truly thought about such things.

    Today, we observe people don’t think about such things. Heck, its not even clear they actually read the Bible so much as exploit cherry-picked philosphy/ies for personal, often petty, gain. This from people who seem to genuinely claim to believe the Bible. So be it (i.e., accept they “believe”), what do they really believe? Observe their actions:

    We observe them working very hard to selectively extract only those portions they care to exploit for personal gain. “Satan can quote scripture” was the warning before the acts described in the newest scripture were even fully acted out! Selfish Pride is a dominant theme people pursue via corrupting the scripture via incompletely selective/distorted application of the values they claim to believe.

    Why, consider today’s “Holier-Than-Thou” mini treatise on why someone is probably in Hell — no doubt the author’s pride at being so much more better is fueled by observing that someone else is going to Hell and they are not! Drivel enabled by ignoring/violating the admonition relayed by none other than god-incarnate, who issued the decree: “Judge not” The degree is “judge not”, reasons are given, but the basic admonition–nay, Commandment–is do not judge others.

    That is interesting, because the author of today’s essay, demonstrating rank hypocrisy and the deadly sin of pride (at another’s expense), is, according to Dante, is setting himself up for a reservation in the lowest part of Hell — that part reserved for ‘hypocrites and unbelievers.’ If Dante is right about that…and he might only be half right — about hypocrites — because god-incarnate also said that it was better to be “ice cold” in faith an “luke warm” as the latter would be ‘vomited.’

    Bourdain may well be far better off, ice cold as he was, than a luke-warmer/Jesus-vomitee who is selectively using portions of the Bible-believed, to fuel their personal sense of superiority (Pride) by passing judgement [in direct violation of the decree issued by the god-incarnate they say they believe] on someone they never knew.

  9. PK

    I don’t see how the linked articles make him unrepentant. Crass and rude, but not unrepentant. He also may not have really killed himself. Given all the uncertainty about where has gone and what really happened, this is in less than good taste.

  10. Shecky R

    If Bourdain ends up in Hell, at least he can enjoy cooking for Ronald Reagan, Antonin Scalia, and soon enough Donald Trump.

  11. Gary

    @ Lee
    De gustibus non est disputandum. Because it’s relative to one’s own perspective.

    Do not ignore the beneficial effect of prayer on the pray-er, regardless of its persuasive powers on God.

  12. Ye Olde Statistcian

    People need to look up “pray” and “eternity” as used in this context.

    The thought is not that Bourdain is a bad fellow; but that suicide is not only a grave wrong, but one that can never be regretted. Stipulated, when not instaneous, there is time to think, ‘oh, gee. I wish I hadn’t done that.’ So there may be a sliver of hope. Those who have survived jumping from the roof report thinking, “Wait, I changed my mind!” on their way down.

  13. Mactoul

    Anna Karenina died a repentant suicide. A fraction of an instant after she threw herself on railway tracks, she repented of her decision to commit suicide but only God knew of her repentance.

    ” based on what we know, it is likely Anthony Bourdain is in Hell.”
    What we do know that the probabilistic language about actual people in hell is mistaken. You can talk like Dante who uses actual people as images of unrepentant sin. Allegory is fine but to talk literally about actual people presumes a knowledge that we do not and can not have. It is presumptuous, to say the least of it.

  14. Mactoul

    I wish to clarify my remarks. To my mind, it is morally and intellectually better to say
    “Bourdain is in hell” rather than add a pseudo-scientific varnish by the fatal qualification
    “likely” to it.
    The unqualified statement might be allegorically interpreted; qualified statement can’t be.

  15. acricketchirps

    Mactoul! Never heard of a spoiler alert?!

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