Is Robin Williams in Hell?

Here’s a re-post of one of my earliest blogs, dedicated to actor-comedian Robin Williams, who died on this date four years ago.


Robin Williams’ death brought on the expected flood of tributes, but also a smaller wave of hellfire pronouncements by judgmentalists—because Robin lived a sometimes sinful life and died at his own hands. These warnings were countered by gentler folk who chose to focus on Robin’s many acts of kindness. But who’s right? Neither.

Because eternity isn’t about goodness or badness.*

It’s about relationships, according to the Bible (although actions can reveal what’s in a person’s heart). King David was called “a man after God’s own heart” despite the fact that he was an adulterer and a murderer. The Apostle Peter disowned Jesus on the night of His arrest, but was later called to lead His church. According to Jesus, the unforgivable sin is not suicide, but “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” refusing God’s life-giving Presence. But if bad behavior is not a guaranteed ticket to hell, neither is good behavior a ticket to heaven: “Many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not [do good works] in your name?’ And I will reply, ‘I never knew you.’” (Matthew 7:22-23)  Reflecting on this, I recall an epiphany from my youth:

I was eight or nine, and had reached the end of a gleefully misbehaving day. My cronies and I had been lobbing olives at cars (our neighborhood was built on the site of an old olive grove), which would erupt in purple explosions against windshields, causing reactionary curses and wild careens. It was all good—well, alright, evil—fun until Mom spotted us! She’d come to the door to proclaim the dinner banns. There must have been some guilt in my pre-manly breast, for when she called me home, whispering “Wait till your father finds out about this,” I thought, “Why didn’t she call Rory instead?” Rory was the only kid who’d refused to throw olives. And then, lo, a marvelous truth fell upon me, “She didn’t call him in because she’s not his mom, she’s my mom!” And nothing, even the fact that I did really bad stuff, could change that!

Interestingly, this realization didn’t result in a torrent of licentious behavior. In fact, it had the opposite effect. Sure, I did other bad stuff, but I never threw olives at cars again. Once I’d realized living with Mom and Dad was a gift, it made me want to do better. Of course, there would be hell to pay when Dad got home.

But not hell to go to. 

Because heaven and hell are about who we know, not what we do. (John 17:3)

Robin’s death hit me hard. He had an immeasurable impact on my career as a writer and a humorist. I also have a similar psychopathology and a kindred tendency toward ADDled monologuing. But what I always found most compelling about Robin was the humanity beneath his persona, the desire to make a connection with his audience, to be real and, yes, to be loved.

Did he long for that kind of connection with God? There are indications he did: he was a professing Episcopalian and a fan of C.S. Lewis, old+cottage+1-1whose books contain profound explorations of faith (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was reportedly Robin’s favorite book). I hope so. I’ll even settle for an 11th hour “Thief on the Cross” conversion–I so want to spend time with him when we’re all…

Finally called Home.

* This post avoids the questions of what, where, or even if, heaven and hell are. We’ll explore that another time.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Is Robin Williams in Hell?

  1. schoen55 says:

    Thank you for applying the words of the bible without interpretation,distortion or judgement on any and all of us sinners. Blessings,

    Liked by 3 people

  2. John Eli says:

    I have to agree with schoen55. Loved this post Mitch. 👍👊💥

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this article Mitch… We can have no idea if anyone has that ‘last moment, thief on the cross’ conversion. I heard (maybe it was from you) about a man who witnessed to John Lennon two weeks before he was killed, and John’s response was that he was going to look into it. I hope he did and hope to see him in heaven too…along with many others that people ‘assume’ will not be there. God only knows! The thief had no idea how much God would use his conversion and imminent death to comfort so many!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a sincere and honest interpretation of life and death, Mitch. I loved it.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. If a person dies of cancer nobody judges. Why then are we quick to judge someone who dies as a result of mental illness? I think it’s because we are afraid that it could have easily been any of us. In some twisted way those who judge are doing so to distance themselves from the same fate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kindra M. Austin says:

    I watched a documentary on Robin Williams just the other night. I like to believe he was welcomed into the light with love.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just for the day at a resort in Palm Desert with our Idaho kids..the end of their time in So Cal… They have been here for over a week. Our Menifee kids are here too. Super fun times, but alas we must let them go again. it’s been 3 years since they moved, quite an adjustment…but no argument w/the Lord. It is too obvious that it is His plan for them. Thanks for asking! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. carhicks says:

    I love this post Mitch. Knowing many people with various degrees of Mental Health issues I always wonder if one of them may decide it is time to leave the earth. God’s plan for all his children is his plan and we should not be the judge of those who are hurting. Thanks for sharing this Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kakymc says:

    “Because heaven and hell are about who we know, not what we do.” Well said. Thanks for writing and reposting!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. TEP336 says:

    I’ll be honest, I’ve been avoiding the topic of suicide on my blog because that’s a massive wound. One of my younger sisters took her own life at the age of 19, just two days before Christmas, 2001. While I do eventually intend to deal with this weighty topic, it will be in my own time, on my own terms, and I will be thorough. I want to give it the attention it deserves, and I want to do it justice. Thank you for this post, Mitch, it brings a ray of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. roninjax says:

    Good insight Mitch. It’s true that there has to be a relationship with Christ. I try to remind myself to refrain from judging the spiritual condition of others. As we know, only God knows for sure those around us who are sealed for His Kingdom. I’m thankful I have an advocate with the Father to help with my everyday sins even though I know my eternal destiny in the presence of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rhonda says:

    But you didn’t answer the question, Mitch. Is Robin in hell? I say this tongue in cheek. I’m personally not convinced that heaven and hell exist. At least not the versions many of us were taught to believe growing up in the church.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Has it really been four years? It seems like yesterday. I hope he knew Christ. I really do. Thanks for this honest and Biblical look at faith and the afterlife, Mitch. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • TEP336 says:

      The one and only time I ever heard Robin directly mention his faith was during one of his standups. He stated that he was Episcopalian, which he described as “Catholic-lite”. 😂 I don’t guess any of us will know whether or not he had a relationship with Jesus until we’re all standing before Him.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. B. says:

    I just liked so much his way… childlike and innocent…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. There is so much that Robin Williams did that was perceived as innocent. Yet, like others, we find that he was not as we were to perceive. It intrigues me to find that what was accepted by many is now the same that is being admonished when observed from others. We may want to remember what we accept from one should be acceptable by others. Notwithstanding the man was a truly unique talent to be cherished. Good post Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    I just lost a creative cousin who had those low points of depression. She was a believer, but got really low and committed suicide. Lots of questions about what happened. This piece is a reminder that there is grace and forgiveness, spiritual warfare, too.

    You and I work with similiar creative personalties. It is good to remember to encourage those we work with to draw closer to the Lord. If we are to be around to share the Gospel in these End Times, we need more of Jesus from the inside.

    Brother, I pray the Lord blesses the work of your hands and you get the encouragement you need on those low times. I need those prayers, too.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 2 people

  17. pvcann says:

    None of us know, excellent post Mitch. I’m reminded that Jesus claimed he did not come to judge the world, but rather to bring forgiveness through love in action, I’m ever hopeful that there is a depth to that that we do not- cannot understand, and we’re not meant to, just to hope and trust, especially for others.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. sushilove51 says:

    Hello Mitch,

    I’m a new reader happy to have found your site. Ending this article with the possibility that Robin Williams could have had a connection with God encouraged me to be more hopeful. Thanks.


  19. I hope Robin is in heaven! What fun we could have! I loved his observational based humor because he was so aware of what was going on around him. If only more people could be aware as he was. When I saw him in Patch Adams, I think I was looking at the real Robin Williams, especially with those kids with cancer. I like your take on earning your way into heaven…that it’s an impossible task. We only go to heaven by the grace of God, and we have to have a good relationship with God to receive His grace. Thank you for this post. I enjoy your perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Carlos Fernandez says:

    I’m sorry to burst your bubble but he is in hell. I had a revelation concerning him. Suicide is unforgivable because you can’t repent after you done it. There have been many attempted suicides where people asked GOD to forgive them right before they do it and fail at doing it because they asked GODs forgiveness. In my revelation, Robin came to me begging me to talk to the Llrd, saying he was being tormented and couldn’t take it anymore. I talked to the Lord and the Lord said Robin had no regard for him. Made fun of him publicly, Etc. I went back to robin and the tears in his eyes were so unbearable to watch. Having said that, You can’t be angry with GOD for sending someone to hell just cause you think they are good. No one is good but GOD alone. No, not one. To be forgiven you have to repent and turn away from your sin and believe that the Lord Jesus will save you from your sin since he died on the cross for you. Not many say Lord Lord will enter the kingdom and that’s what most of you forget. If we all thought our loved ones were saved that scripture would be a lie. Some of you will not believe me and quite frankly I don’t care. I k is it’s true. GOD be with you all.


  21. Stephen says:

    I think your judgment is short sighted. His mind was ravaged by a desiase far worse than Parkinson..It robbed him of his ability to have good judgment. He showed much mercy to a multitude of people around the world. We are all sinners, but Jesus said Love and mercy can cover a multitude of sins….

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Mitch, though I am reading and commenting on a two-year-old post, I thank you for this well written, truthful presentation of the gospel. We are all sinners destined for hell that we deserve. Likewise, we all have the opportunity for Heaven through the grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart” (1 Sam 16:7, NAS).

    As a survivor of multiple family member suicides, I appreciate your sensitivity and grace in directing people to what the Bible says. God alone knows what is truly in the heart of man. God bless you for writing and sharing this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. We who do not suffer from mental anguish should not cast judgement on those who do. The bible passages you cite clarify the points you make. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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