“Welcome to the group, Ethan Picon,” said Will Toase of the Universal Pantheist Society’s Facebook group in June 2015. It was one of many pantheism related communities Picon joined in 2015. Still in his teens, Picon had well established views and a deeply curious mind, engaging in philosophical discussions with dozens of individuals online. He had established many relationships through these communities.
In the largest Pantheism Facebook group he discussed difficult philosophical topics such as panpsychism. He declared himself to be “anti-religion”:
“Pantheism as a definition says nothing about being pro-religion or anti-religion. I’m an Anti-theist but also a pantheist, organized religion stands against everything Pantheists stand for.”
“If God means a literal supernatural creator who answers prayers I would reject that and in that case I am an Atheist, as far as the Universe I think the only word that could give it it’s proper reverence would be “God” not because it is a being who is personal. But because when I look at the vastness of it, I feel the same feelings to the Universe as a theist would to their Supernatural Deities. Can any of you relate?”
Picon made hundreds of posts and comments in that and other similar groups.
WKRK reported that a 28 year old, Trisha Lynn Hartness, of Murphy, North Carolina struck and killed 19 year old Ethan Nathaniel Picon from behind with a Kia SUV while he was walking alongside the travel portion of a roadway near his home in North Carolina. She apparently fled the scene but later turned herself in.
News of this tragedy rocked the pantheism community. Among the many messages from his high school and hometown friends in North Carolina were also messages from many he met and befriended on Facebook:
“It’s always heartbreaking to see such an intelligent, vibrant mind leave this Earth. R.I.P Ethan Picon. You were an awesome friend, and an even better human being.” Josh Walker
“Some say you can’t be a “real” friend with someone you only know through FB. Honestly only about half the people who are FB friends I have met in person. Anyway, one of my favorite FB friends died last night. I found out this morning.. He was probably 19 or 20 years old but was much wiser than his age would indicate. I cried for 30 min straight and have been very sad all day! I say your FB friends are REAL friends! What do you think? RIP Ethan Picon 😥 I will miss you.” Michael Steven Haas
“I only knew him through fb too! He will be missed!” Amber Baumgarden
“I only knew him through Facebook but he was truly an amazing guy. So wise beyond his years. I’ve been so sad all day.” Tracie Danielle
“I am very sorry . I have formed some real friendships with three or four ppl in FB. I don’t know personally but we share many ideas and thoughts… They are friends I haven’t yet met personally .. But somehow I consider friends…” Adriana Pacheco
“I only knew him through FB for the past couple years but I am so sad and at a loss. It doesn’t even feel real. He was so smart and funny and insightful. I can’t believe he is gone.” Sara Catherine Brianne Asri
“I honestly cannot even believe this. We never actually met in person, but we did talk alot through message & comments. You were such an awesome person & really down to earth. The world lost a good soul. You will be greatly, greatly missed. Rest peacefully Ethan” Sydney Gayheart
“A wise young man I met on here through our mutual affinity of Pandeism was killed by a reckless driver yesterday while walking along the side of the road. Ethan Picon, though I barely knew you and wish we talked more, you were like the younger brother I never had. If there is any ultimate justice in this universe, you are at peace and once again one with The Supreme Being that encompasses us all. You were outspoken and controversial, yet compassionate and relateable. You reminded me of myself so much and the worst part is I never got to tell you. Perhaps in another 14 billion years the universe will painstakingly create you again, you old soul in the body of someone so relatively young. I will miss your posts and comments and I will miss you very much. My heart aches and my mind bends at the thought of what his loved ones are going through. I cry for their loss and your untimely end. Perhaps we shall see each other again my young friend, but I know we and everyone that knew you will be together in eternity. I know I am not alone in this world because of people like you. I will never forget you, Ethan.” Patrick McGinty
“Now and forever, in my heart you will always be. I love you so much brother.” Poffo Ortiz
“In Loving memory of my friend Ethan Picon. An amazing young man who perished untimely due to a hit and run.” Alan Bliss
“It’s a weird but still very sad feeling when you find out that a friend that you only know through Facebook has died. RIP Ethan Picon” Derek Poyner
Ethan left behind his parents, Matt and Tina Lundy, along with his younger brothers and sister Evan, Callie, and William Lundy. Their family is accepting donations to help cover funeral costs at: