Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Almost exactly a year ago, I posted my second entry on this blog, which I entitled “Jan vs Jesus.” I wrote about a vigorous but polite debate I had had with an atheist named Jan (pronounced Yan) a few weeks before, who had been introduced to me by my uncle. As I mentioned in that entry (which I encourage you to read), Jan was a formidable intellect and someone who was very familiar with all the ins and outs of the debate regarding the existence of God. He was a nice man, though a deeply troubled one from what little I could tell. As it turns out, I had no idea.
Last Tuesday, Jan killed himself in his back yard. My uncle had just seen him the day before, and nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be afflicting Jan. But clearly, something was. It’s always tawdry to speculate motive in situations like this, so I won’t pretend to. Christians, too, commit suicide. Any way you cut it, it’s a tragedy. I’m only sorry I didn’t actually get to know Jan a little better. I had the opportunity about a month ago, but I let the opportunity pass out of sheer selfishness. It would have been mildly uncomfortable and, frankly, I’m pretty busy. Neither, of course, a good reason not to reach out to someone. I’d like to think that my calling him wouldn’t have made a difference. But of course, I’ll never know. Perhaps it might have. I’ll have to live with that one.
One thing I do know about Jan was that he was a bulldog when it came to the issue. He would not let go of the bone of atheism and hung on to it tenaciously. He even bought a bible, not in order to learn from it, but in order to “know thy enemy” better. He wanted more ammunition. Whether he ever actually read the book I don’t know, but it makes his suicide even more tragic than it already is because he had what I believe to be the great book of hope in his possession, and it either failed to speak to him, or he failed to open its pages except to tarnish it.
Either way, I was shocked by the news, and my heart goes out to his family and friends. I mourn his loss, and I can only pray that God in his righteous judgment and never-ending mercy will invite Jan into his presence when that time comes for all of us to meet our Maker.
He was a troubled soul in this life. May he rest in peace in the next.