Carlin was beloved for questioning authority — the highest authority

Carlin was beloved for questioning authority — the highest authority

Let’s be upfront about this. George Carlin might have been a comedy god to his disciples and fans. But for nearly 50 years, he practically made a career out of not believing in God.

So don’t go all sappy and commit the sin of saying that one of the most influential and controversial American humorists of our time, who died from heart failure at 71 on Sunday, now has joined some celestial Friar’s Club in the sky, laughing at our foibles from on high with the brilliant likes of Richard Pryor and Henny Youngman.

As the notorious curmudgeon would so bluntly put it, “Bull (bleep)!”

Religious zealots to picket Carlin’s funeral – Comic is ‘cast into hell’

Far-right religious zealots are to picket George Carlin’s funeral in protest at his atheism and bad language. The Westboro Church, which is infamous for protesting at the funerals of American troops, has issued a press release headlined: ‘God Killed Potty-Mouth Comedian George Carlin And Cast Him Into Hell.’

Amid many biblical quotes, the fundamentalists said: ‘George Carlin – the filthy blasphemer – the obscene potty-mouth skeptic, agnostic, and profane atheist – who had nothing but disdain for God and the Bible all the days of his tragic life – is now, at this minute and for ever writhing and screaming in exquisite pain pleading for mercy from that God he flipped off while performing for HBO for lucre.’

‘Carlin made lots of money making fun of God; now he must deal with God – face to face – for ever.’

I don’t usually talk religion with people, but the topic comes up in interesting ways sometimes. I was talking to a friend about the tremendous loss to humanity that comes with George Carlin’s death. We’ve lost a great wit and generally funny guy and we’ll collectively miss out on his future insights. My friend remarked that it’s too bad he was atheist. I asked him why and how it impacts anything and he kind of of stumbled around trying to say that Carlin’s belief impacts his death. I think it threw him off that I said anything other than “yeah” like he expected a programmed response that matched his. Instead I replied that whatever reality there is I seriously doubt it would be impacted by the man’s beliefs.

Why are the religious so self-centered and self-important to think that what they believe really impacts what may or may not happen to us once we die? Let’s suppose there are gods and some sort of afterlife, no matter how improbable that may seem. Do you really think that what you think and believe about such things right here and now when you have no real clue or evidence concerning such things will have any bearing on your participation in that afterlife? Do you think all of eternity would be judged on your present ability to trust in the lies and fallacies of ancient humanity and the uninformed scribblings of our ancestors?

If religion is true then what if the text I write is the one true religion and the real answer? My writings have just as much right and likelihood to be an inspired text guided by the gods as any other text on some old scrolls. It’s not the age or medium that makes the written word divine, is it? What if the real gods are guiding me to tell everyone that we all have it wrong and we can’t possibly know or understand any of it until after we die and enter their realm?

Exactly, we just don’t know. We have no clue. All I know is George Carlin is dead and he will be missed by those of us that still live around here.

Boy who refused treatment on religious grounds dies

This is a senseless and needless death, Boy who refused treatment on religious grounds dies:

A few hours after a judge ruled that a 14-year-old Jehovah’s Witness sick with leukemia had the right to refuse a blood transfusion that might have helped him, the boy died, a newspaper reported.

“I don’t think Dennis is trying to commit suicide. This isn’t something Dennis just came upon, and he believes with the transfusion he would be unclean and unworthy.”

Doctors had given Dennis a 70 percent chance of surviving the next five years with the transfusions and other treatment, the judge added.

Doctors diagnosed the boy’s leukemia in early November. They began chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital, but stopped a week ago because his blood count was too low, the Skagit Valley Herald reported. The boy refused the transfusion on religious grounds.

However, his birth parents, Lindberg and Rachel Wherry, who do not have custody and flew from Boise, Idaho, to be at the hearing, believed their son should have had the transfusion and suggested he had been unduly influenced by his aunt, who is also a Jehovah’s Witness.

If gods and prayer were really the answer then we wouldn’t have needed to develop doctors and the medical sciences to help heal us. I do believe it is a blind faith in religions dreamed up by humans that killed this poor boy. My lack of belief in such things gives me a certain comfort that I believe outweighs any false comfort a person may get from prayer. I know my lack of belief gives me the freedom to do things like get a blood transfusion if I need it. I might be “unclean and worthy” in the eyes of those followers of that particular religion, but I’d be alive.

Suicide

Someone I knew committed suicide this past week. It is a tragic ending to any life and even more tragic being someone I actually knew, since I can imagine the impact this has on his wife and kids that remain. It is not something I could ever really understand why it was done and what it really means to take your own life. I just know that as an Agnostic I only know of this life and cannot imagine that anything is after it. Because of this belief, I don’t see how suicide could ever be considered a solution to any problem. You throw away any chance you have to continue your story for better or worse and have written the final sentence of your life when you do this.

So this brings up the question of what religions say about suicide and their belief in an afterlife and heaven. Do suicides go to heaven? Apparently nobody knows since I found many different answers to this very important question. I’m always told God is always very clear about what we should be doing, and yet I’m not surprised by the answers. I have yet to find a clear answer from religion for any question I pose to it. At ChristianAnswers.net I found this answer:

Augustine argued in the fifth century that suicide was a violation of the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Later, Thomas Aquinas, being catholic and believing that confession of sin must be made prior to departure from the world to the next, taught that suicide was the most fatal of all sins because the victim could not repent of it. The problem with his view is that it represents a gross misunderstanding of eternal security, which Scripture clearly teaches. We are saved by the grace of God, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9) and nothing can separate a Christian from the love of God (Romans 8:37-39).

Apparently it can be argued either way. I can definitely see why some religions would want you to think you spend the rest of eternity in hell for committing suicide. The alternative is that you get to leave this short moment of your existence early and get to spend the rest of eternity in heaven where everything is blissful and any loved ones that have died are there now. Plus, the loved ones you leave behind will catch up with you eventually. Basically it sounds like a great plan to me. Why would you want to mess around any longer here on Earth if you can reach the prize of heaven that much sooner?

Suicide is a catch-22 that makes the idea of heaven and hell that much more ridiculous for me. I believe death is the end because that is all I know as fact. Religion sells us on the notion that death isn’t the end and entices us with an improvable everlasting life in a utopian heaven. Apparently all believers go to heaven when they die so dying shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Some people make rules for getting into heaven and some make just a simple rule such as accepting Jesus as your savior. However, if you follow the later rule and commit suicide then apparently you have your free pass to heaven as long as you still accepted Jesus. In which case, what would be the problem with accepting Jesus and then dying as quickly as possible to get your reward of everlasting peace in heaven? Even the sin of suicide would be forgiven, right?

I believe the most compelling answer to a question of committing suicide is that you can’t afford to throw away the only life you have. No longer existing is not a good answer to any problem.

Ismail Ax

Sources told the Tribune that the words “ISMAIL AX” were also found written in red ink on the inside of one of Cho’s arms.

The reference may be to the Islamic account of the Biblical sacrifice of Abraham, where God commands the patriarch to sacrifice his own son. Abraham begins to comply, but God intervenes at the last moment to save the boy.

In the Jewish and Christian traditions, the son is Isaac, father of the Jewish people; in Islam, it is his brother, Ismail (Ishmael in Hebrew).

Abraham uses a knife in most versions of the story, but some accounts have him wielding an ax.

A more obscure reference may be to a passage in the Koran referring to Abraham’s destruction of pagan idols; in some accounts, he uses an ax to do so.

Virginia Tech Killer Revealed

Some crazy words scrawled on an obviously disturbed person’s arm will cause all sorts of questions of religious meaning for the worst shooting spree in history. When this first happened I did see the usual question of ?why did God let this happen?? President Bush said in his speech, ?those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate? and ?they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.? As usual, when something good happens people thank God and when something bad happens it is all just chance unrelated to God?s plan and it was somehow out of God?s control. Everyone just asks for God?s help through the aftermath and the healing and doesn?t hold God accountable for allowing such a terrible thing.

The simple answer for how God could allow this to happen is because there are no gods watching over us to protect us. There is no god to let Cho Seung-Hui put the gun to his own head first before he decided to go on his senseless rampage. If I were a god I would have let him commit suicide before he spilled all of that innocent blood. If I were an even nicer god I would have cured whatever mental ills he had so he could have continued his life without such troubles.

It is not a particular belief or lack of belief on Cho?s part that caused him to do this. People are already starting to speculate on the blogs that he might have been a Muslim because of the Ismail Ax words and somehow it is that simple fact that explains why he murdered all of those people. No matter your religion or your belief it is you that is the person that acts and it is you that must be accountable for these actions. Cho Seung-Hui was just one disturbed human and we can all share in our thanks that he has died.

If he had not died, then the justice he would have felt would have been dealt to him by his fellow humans and our society. I would have hoped we would have put him to death for what he had done. This is definitely one area where the religious and their principles of forgiveness would most likely be put on hold. I rarely see an absolute moral viewpoint hold among the religious and even ?thou shalt not kill? doesn?t stay absolute when a person like this comes along. Good riddance to you, Cho Seung-Hui.

A Story Ends Too Soon

An in-law of mine that I hardly knew died in his early 20s from cancer the day before Valentine’s Day. It is a sad thing, but I do not feel myself filled with the same kind of dread I had when I was struggling to cope with such realities as a Christian. I do not have the same kind of grief and fear I see on the faces of believers as they shout “why” to a god that does not answer. I know there is no “why” to the end of this life other than the cancer. There was nothing personal about it and there was no uncaring god that let this happen that could have intervened. I had never met a believer that was truly happy that someone moved on to a “better place” and said with conviction that they will see them again. Everyone always seemed to acknowledge deep inside that the person is gone from them forever.

Since I have realized how much I do not know about the universe and now see death as the natural end of a story, I think I can be more objective about what that really means. Our lives unfold as unique stories just like a book. Some stories are long and interesting. Sadly, some stories are much shorter with the hints of what could have come if the final page wasn’t already written. As sad as “The End” is to see and experience, it is an unchangeable characteristic of these books of life just as the opening chapter always begins with our birth. I don’t think I’m cold to have the thought that it is best that the book, the life and its story, exists exactly as it did rather than trying to hope for any other thing after the end has already been written.

I feel grief and fear for those that are dying instead of those that have passed away. Once you are gone I would rather dwell on what was instead of what is no more. So if I do not cry when your story ends it is because I used it all up in your final chapter as I could feel the book thinning and the final page on its way. The funeral is too late for tears and is the time to reflect on a story well-told and on the book to be filed away on the shelf of memory.