Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A truly tragic meltdown

Matthew Murray, the poor messed up kid who shot up his church in Colorado back in December, had a lot wrong with him. Beyond his ADHD, there were overwhelming feelings of rejection, and not belonging. With his brain chemistry so badly screwed up (he was taking medication, but it's impossible to tell if he was on it at the time of his rampage), it's hard to say what could have prevented him from doing what he did.

God didn't, of course, but that's because there isn't one, so you can't exactly be bitter about that. But not only didn't Christianity provide the path to peace and healing Murray needed, but it may well have exacerbated his situation. An angry letter from Matthew written to God has come to light. In it, Matthew rails against the hypocrisy he sees all around him in the Christian community.

"The more I read your stupid book, the more I pray, the more I reach out to Christians for help the more hurt and abused I get," he wrote.

"I've heard good things about what Jesus can do, yet everywhere I go in Christianity, all the Christians I see or meet are miserable, angry, selfish, hypocritical, proud, power hungry, abusive, uncaring, confused, lustful, greedy, unsure of their doctrine and mean-spirited ... Am I too lost to be saved? My soul cries for deliverance. I'm dieing (sp), praying, bleeding and screaming. Will I be denied???"

This stuff is just heartbreaking. And revealing in the way so much of his anger and bitterness is directed at the religious beliefs in which he'd been raised, setting an ideal for which he never believed he was good enough, while all around him, he saw people who had been accepted, loved and successful within the church (like Ted Haggard, whose sex scandal was especially appalling to him), revealed as hypocrites and liars.

I'm sure his family tried to help as his mental chaos overtook him, but his suffering was beyond them. It would have been so nice if there really was a God for guys like Matthew, who could hear a guy like Matthew's pleas and reach down from whatever otherworldly, higher realm it lives in and simply, magically take the pain away. But that God's just not there, for him, his victims, you, me or anyone. We're the ones who have to look after and care for one another. You don't heal the problems of someone like Matthew Murray by filling his head with ideas about heaven and hell and being a horrible sinner who must please a jealous God if he wishes to "be saved." Build up a person's life, help him realize that he has value and worth here and now. Because this is the only shot at life any of us gets. And it's tragic to see anyone's life go down in flames — especially when it takes others with it — the way Matthew's did.


  1. It's very disturbing, even more so when I hear some of my own thoughts in his voice.

    I'm not nearly as angry as him, but I was hurt badly by the church. I can't see why he made the decision he did.

    I kept thinking while I was reading his letters. Why didn't he discover science / atheism / skepticism? A tragedy could have been avoided here. He asked "What is the truth?" He could have discovered the answer. It's so sad.

    I'm also rather annoyed that they censored the letters.

  2. Just in case nobody who reads this entry is an Evanescence fan, "Am I too lost to be saved?", "My soul cries for deliverance" and "I'm dying, praying, bleeding and screaming. Will I be denied?" are lines from the song "Tourniquet".

    I wouldn't have bothered anyone with that little tidbit of seemingly irrelevant information were it not for the fact that the song is about a girl about to commit suicide, voicing the very same feelings the boy expresses in his letter.

    I'd recommend people go and listen to the song(unless you hate alternative rock, in which case, the lyrics will do just fine :P ). The similarities are rather bone-chilling, not that this case needs to be more frightening and tragic, of course.

    I didn't want my first post on the AE blog to be such a dumb one but what are ya gonna do?. There you have it, the most asinine post in the history of the blog. Although to be fair, if we count Rhology's posts, it's only like the 64th dumbest post. =D

    P.S.: I wish Ms. Harris and Mr. Wagner would appear more on either The Atheist Experience show or as guests on The Non-Prophets.

    Best wishes from Mexico, Juan José

  3. Adrael, the only thing dumb about your comment was in thinking it was a dumb comment. :-)

    Depressed teens naturally latch onto music as the last straws available for them to clutch. I suppose if Matthew had been a child of the 80's, he'd have been all over The Smiths.

  4. It's high time the pricks screwing up these poor gullible kids were made accountable.
    How are these kids supposed to feel when they believe every one else has god/jesus speaking directly to them and because they don't hear gods voice they feel as the letter points out rejected and useless .
    No one will say the boy did no wrong but the ones that should be blamed are singing halleluja at the scene of their crime no doubt rejoicing while their next victim silently stews and goes unnoticed until they can't take anymore.

  5. Adrael:

    Thanks for the kind comment. For AE, we have a rotation--so it's set up as a fair representation for all the host to appear equally.

    Like Martin, I also thought your post was helpful and not dumb. I was unaware the lines were lyrics. Thanks for the info.


    You make an interesting point. It is ironic that many of the people decrying this incident as tragic, are the same people responsible for helping to screw up the boy's head. That's also an interesting point.


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