A Christian reader by the name of Kevin left a lengthy response to George Carlin’s Take on Religion. Since Kevin was kind enough to take the time to chime in, I thought it best to move his comment to the main page for all to discuss. It’s a long one so grab a cup of your favorite drink and give it a read!
I am a Christian. I’ve read 26 postings on this website and I’ve found only 2 to be somewhat supportive of Christian beliefs (although I donâ€™t agree with their responses). Instead of attacking your beliefs and starting some kind of word war back and forth that does no good for anyone, I would rather provide some basic education on what the bible REALLY says and let you decide what to believe for yourself. Before we begin I want you to know that Iâ€™m a normal guy off the street. Iâ€™m not a preacher or some weirdo that stands on a street corner telling people their going to burn in hell. Iâ€™m just someone who was once like you (didnâ€™t have much belief in religion) but decided to research Christianity so I could make a well informed decision whether I did or didnâ€™t want believe in God. It just so turns out that I chose to believe. If after reading this you decide to explore Christianity further… GREAT! If you have further questions for meâ€¦ GREATâ€¦ just ask! If you decide to remain an atheist, it’s your life and your decision to make. I just want to make sure you are educated when you make this decision.
George Carlin lists three main reasons why he doesn’t believe in God in this skit. They are: 1) why isnâ€™t God visible, 2) if God loves us so much, why does He punish those who don’t follow His rules by sending them to hell, and 3) if God is so good why is there so much war, violence, death, etc. in the world? Since all of you are saying he hit it right on the head, I would like to explore each of these statements. Let’s start from the bottom and work to the top.
“If God is so good why is there so much war, violence, death, etc. in the world?” In the first book of the bible â€œGenesisâ€ we are informed that God created heaven and earth in six days and then rested on the seventh. During these six days He also created man (Adam and Eve). We are also informed that man did initially live in a perfect place where there was no war, violence, death, etc (the Garden of Eden). God only had one rule for man while living in this place, which was not to eat from “the tree of life”. However, Satan (referred to as the serpent in the scripture) encouraged man to disobey God (which he continues to do even today), so they chose to go ahead and eat an apple from the tree. God was so disappointed with the fact that He created us and gave us this perfect place to live and we broke his one and only rule, that He banished all of mankind from this perfect place forever. Hence the condition of the world today. So in reality, it was our own disobedience to our Creator that allowed the war, violence, death, etc. to come into the world. Now, this may bring-up more questions. Some may wonder why God made this rule. Why not just let people enjoy life without rules? The answer is to establish God as our authority figure. Only those of authority can set rules. He wants us to acknowledge Him as our Creator and Father. Following His rules allows us to acknowledge this through our actions. Others may wonder why Satan was allowed to be in this perfect place. The answer to this is to give us freedom of choice. If God created us to be perfect robots, how personal of a relationship do you think we would have with Him? So, instead of creating us in that way, he allows us to be tempted and to choose Him. If we choose God and decide to place our faith in Him even after facing temptation, our relationship with Him becomes VERY personal. We start to actually live for Him instead of living for our own pleasures.
Okay, the next issue we need to deal with is, â€œIf God loves us so much, why does He punish those who don’t follow His rules by sending them to hell?â€ The bible does in fact tell us that God HATES sin so much that the punishment for sin is eternity in hell. So, if this is true (which it is) doesnâ€™t that mean we are all going to hell? After all, we are all sinners. I am. You are. Everyone who has ever walked this earth or will ever walk this earth has or will sinâ€¦ except for oneâ€¦ Jesus Christ. This is the good news! All throughout the bible we are informed that Jesus lived an absolute perfect live (i.e. he never sinned â€“ not even once). The reason He could do this was because He came from God. Jesus is a divine being that was not created by man, but rather a part of God who simply walked the earth. Maybe the best description is the spirit/soul of Godâ€™s Son who lived inside of a human body. He is the only One who has or will ever live on earth that didnâ€™t deserve to be punished for sin. However, during His perfect life of teaching Godâ€™s word and showing us how to live He was unrightfully sentenced to death and killed (crucified on the cross). When this happened God took all of the hate He had for sin and took it out on Jesus. So, Jesus willingly stood on that cross and took the punishment we deserve just so Godâ€™s anger for sin could be quenched once and for all. Stop and think about thisâ€¦ Jesus laid down his life after doing nothing wrong because He loves us so much that He doesnâ€™t want to see us go to hell. And God actually spent his wrath on His one and only son who did everything right, just so sinners like you and I could be forgiven. So, shouldnâ€™t our question be, â€œHow could God love us so much that He punished His one and only Son who lived a perfect life just so sinners like us could be forgiven?â€ This often leads to a secondary question, which is, â€œDo I need to do anything to be forgiven?â€ The bible tells us that everyone can be forgiven for their sins, no matter how bad they are. There are three actions that must be taken in order to receive this forgiveness. They are: 1) have faith that Jesus Christ was Godâ€™s son who lived a perfect live and died for our sins, 2) formally claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior by being baptized (also known as â€œbeing savedâ€ â€“ this is for a reason), and 3) â€œrepentâ€ by changing your life and trying to obey Godâ€™s commands the best you can (when you fall short â€“ which we all will – just ask Him to forgive you and He will as long as you donâ€™t take advantage of His grace by intentionally sinning over and over).
â€œWhy isnâ€™t God visible?â€ This was the first question asked. The bible tells us that nobody has ever seen what God truly looks like. However, before the birth of Jesus he did actually appear many times to humans in various forms (e.g. light, clouds, etc) and He spoke to them as well. Soâ€¦ why doesnâ€™t He appear anymore? The answer is three fold. All answers relate to those already given. The first answer is that He has already told us everything we need to know. Not only did He speak to us many times before Jesus, but he most importantly spoke to us through Jesus. Jesus spent his life showing and teaching us what God wants. So what purpose would He have to hang around after telling us everything we need to know? To repeat himself? This leads us to our second answer, which is that He wants you to genuinely trust Him. Why should He have to repeat himself over and over? The only reasons we want to hear something repeated is if we didnâ€™t understand it the first time or if we need reassurance. He wants us to read the bible for better understanding and to trust the words He and His Son have spoken to us. The last answer might be a tough one for some of you to graspâ€¦ its to help us establish a closer relationship with Him. This probably sounds backwards to most of you, but I assure you its not. I can testify as being a Christian myself that when you place your faith in the Lord, you are baptized, and you start to live your life for Him, you can actually feel His presence/guidance in your life as though He is a part of you. Itâ€™s an absolutely amazing felling! Itâ€™s an inner peace that words canâ€™t describe. If you canâ€™t relate to this just ask yourself, â€œWould you have a closer relationship with a God that actually becomes part of you, or with a God that is an independent being?
Well, these are the biblical answers to the questions that George Carlin and most of you struggle with. The tough part of believing in God is that it deals with â€œfaithâ€ or emotion/heart and not â€œscienceâ€ or thinking/brain. Those of you who are very intelligent and rely on your brain than your heart to get you through life will likely struggle more than others. I would encourage all of you to seriously consider what I have written and to even visit a local Christian church to talk to a minister. They would be happy to spend one on one time with you answering any questions you have. The one thing I canâ€™t stress enough is for you to take your time and make a good sound decision on thisâ€¦ after all we are talking about eternity. If you have questions for me, please feel free to reply. However, I would like to ask on both of our behalves that we keep it cordial and not get into a â€œwar of the wordsâ€ because that does no good for any of us. God bless.