Updated on August 22, 2013
George Carlin On Religion – A Response
I often comment on popular culture with an eye towards Christian issues. That is exactly the case with today’s post. The following quote has been making the rounds on social media lately and I felt the need to share my thoughts.
Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!
But He loves you. – George Carlin
George Carlin was a comedian who had a knack for cutting through the BS. He died in 2008 and left a legacy, as many comics do, of pushing the limits of decency. But this is not an attack on him. He lived life and made choices like we all do.
Let’s start with his initial premise – that religion has convinced people that there is an invisible being. In some ways I agree with this statement. Religion, as properly defined, is all the man made nonsense that has been cooked up through the centuries in a vain attempt to impress some deity. Without a doubt, this is fatally flawed. And you don’t have to go too far back to see man creating all sorts of odd cults, denominations and belief systems, including the very absurd idea that man is himself a god.
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Psalm 19:1 <NLT>
There is a reason that people have continually looked for something greater than themselves. To put it simply, there is something greater. One cannot rationally examine creation and not see the handiwork of a master designer. From the smallest organism to the heavenly bodies, everything has been designed to work perfectly within their prescribed place. And you want educated people to accept that this was all just some big cosmic accident? That would take a whole lot of faith.
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. Genesis 1:26 <NLT>
Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7 <NLT>
God is love. Love creates. From the very beginning, God’s plan was to have children for fellowship and to love. He created them in His image. God is Spirit and Life, so He created eternal spirits, gave them a body and gave them the ability to choose whether or not they would love Him. If you force someone to love you, it will never be sincere. God wanted His new creation to love Him because they wanted to love Him.
In the Garden of Eden, the Glory of God surrounded Adam and Eve. They lived in perfect fellowship with their Heavenly Father and Creator. They had daily access to all the wisdom in the universe and all their needs were abundantly met. Had sin not entered the picture, they would have lived forever in this perfect relationship and accomplished impossible things.
Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with God, pure and righteous before Him. God is perfect in every way. But with perfection comes judgment. That is why when they sinned, God had to treat them differently in order to protect them. Sin cannot live in God’s presence.
From that first sin, all humanity was cut off spiritually from God’s love. It doesn’t matter how good you think you might be, you are still far from perfection – but it is not your fault. That is what makes God so wonderful. He knows that there is nothing you can do to change your spiritual nature – it is simply who you are. That is why He sent Jesus to pay the price for all humanity. Your acceptance of Jesus as your Savior, allows you to be spiritually reborn and reconnected to God’s most wonderful presence and love. You become part of the eternal family with all the benefits inherited immediately.
With the Glory of God gone, Adam and Eve were left naked and ashamed. Fear gripped them because they were without the wisdom of God and were for the first time totally reliant on their senses. They had been alive spiritually, but when God’s life departed, they were now spiritually dead, easily influenced by Satan who had taken ownership of the earth after their disobedience.
God did not curse the earth. The earth became cursed because of sin. God never stopped loving them. On the contrary, He led them out of the Garden because there was a chance they could have lived forever in a spiritually dead state. God had put in place a plan to reconnect with his children and defeat Satan once and for all. But it would take some time to bring all the pieces together at the perfect time. Remember, God gave man dominion over the earth. After the fall, this did not change. So God, who will never break a promise or His Word, had to work through fallen man to orchestrate the perfect redemption plan.
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” Romans 7:7 <NIV>
One of the first steps was to teach man what sin was. Through Moses, God provided the 10 Commandments, as well as other rules and practices designed to set them apart from the fallen world and give them a glimpse of His Salvation plan. The sacrifice of animals would cover their sins, but the sacrifice of Jesus would remove them completely.
The 10 Commandments were meant to teach people what sin was and lead them to understand their need for a Savior. In Christ, we have freedom and one simple law to obey – love the Lord with all your heart and love others as you love yourself. When you love you do not lie, cheat, steal, destroy or kill. As a new creation in Christ, you leave Satan’s dominion behind and enter God’s Kingdom.
Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. Psalm 143:2 <NIV>
Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? Job 4:17 <NIV>
How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? Job 25:4 <NIV>
Is it any surprise that almost every primitive culture has some form of sacrificial rites to appease a deity? What would lead so many different groups to seek some form of redemption? What would make people from all over the earth sense the need for someone or something to be sacrificed to atone for their sin?
Man, if he is honest with himself, knows there is something missing inside. Just like a fish out of water, man is lifeless without the presence of God bringing life to his spirit. He cannot really live until Love (God) comes into his life.
But how is this possible? What will bring this completeness to man? How can sinful, spiritually dead man be made righteous?
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Romans 10:8-10 <NIV>
The sacrifices under the Old Covenant were a start, but they merely covered the sin. They did not remove the sinful nature. Man needed a spiritual rebirth. For this to happen, someone had to pay the price for sin so man could be set free from punishment that was due. Not just a physical death was needed, or else any person would do, but a sinless, perfect person was needed that could die both physically, and experience the spiritual punishment for everyone.
This is the beauty of Christianity. God sent Himself, Jesus, to take on the punishment for all mankind. He would die spiritually and then physically, so that man could through faith in Jesus, be reborn spiritually. This was the only legal way for God to restore man to his rightful place as a child of God.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 <NLT>
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 <NLT>
Hell is the city jail, where those that do not know Jesus will be held until the final judgement. And the Lake of Fire is the eternal prison for those that have refused the free gift of Salvation. Both were made for Satan and his rebellious angels and neither were intended for man. Heaven and Earth were made for man. But when man spiritually died, he became worthy of eternal separation from God.
No man has to go to Hell. He has a choice. He can choose Jesus and Eternal Life, or refuse the free gift of Salvation and spend eternity in a horrible place of misery. God will protect his right of choice and defend that right all the way to Hell.
The good news is that God gave you a choice. Nobody has to go to Hell unless they choose to go. Salvation is as simple as believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Only a God that is LOVE, would make this so simple that nobody can accuse Him of being unjust.
Choose Jesus and LIVE!!