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)!”
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.