George Carlin (1937-2008) can be rightfully designated the inventor of Frisbeeterianism, an extremely philosophical and profound doctrine supporting the idea that when people die their soul instead of ascending into heavens simply gets stuck up forever on the roofs of houses, just like a frisbee! At other times he would worship the sun or pray to his real-life pal Joe Pesci because he was a good actor and seemed like a guy who could get things done!
Not only he was raised by his family in the Roman Catholic faith, but the educational institutions he attended, Cardinal Hayes High School – from which he was ejected and Bishop Dubois High School – which he dropped out, were also Catholic. A normal child of this age would probably end up a deeply religious man. But not Carlin, he was determined to make a personal revolution. Ironically, he was asked to speak in a fund-raising dinner by the same priest who expelled him. His speech contained the following phrase: ”You always knew trouble awaited when the priests started calling you ”mister”.” Overall maybe the greatest American stand-up comedian actually never received a basic formal education. Nevertheless, this prevented him neither from observing nor thinking.
Carlin perceived the existence of a system regulated by few and part of which is religion.
He believed that those who master religion exploit people’s weakness and dread in order to gain power or money. Indeed, how convenient seemed to him the story of a supreme yet unseen entity living somewhere (in the universe?), with our well-being as its only anxiety! Of course, this so-called god every now and then would show his generosity by sending human messengers, or ”anointed” ones.
All kinds of clerics, cardinals, priests, preachers, popes, bishops and prophets throughout history have had a common denominator: they were dogmatically defined as those supposed to disclose and implement god’s divine plan at any cost. To Carlin, the stories of Jesus Christ or Muhammad appeared as merely fraudulent fairy tales, tools for human manipulation. He could have said: ”Hey come on man, it is freaking obvious what’s going on here! Even the translation of ”Islam” itself is ”submission”, for Pesci’s sake!”
Carlin’s Three attributes
Fortunately for the community, Carlin had three attributes, the first being bravery. Saying in public things like ”When it comes to bull feces, big-time major league bull feces you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion.” requires courage. Another feature he possessed was intolerance. No way would he put up with the situation. He had to share his truth with the world: ”I gotta tell you, folks, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize something is freaked up. Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best god can do, I am not impressed.”
Finally, the thing that elevated his career and gave him unique quality was his rare sense of humor, which can be characterized as multidimensional. He would frequently paint it black: ”Jesus was a crossdresser”. Apparently the world ”taboo” didn’t exist in his vocabulary Sometimes he used sarcasm: ”I’ve begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons.
First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It’s there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There’s no mystery, no one asks for money, I don’t have to dress up, and there’s no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to God are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate.” Often he would hide the most amazing truths within paraphrased sentences: ”We created god in our own image and likeness!” or create extraordinary mixtures of hidden truth and intelligent, amusing exaggeration: ”The only good thing ever to come out of religion was the music.” But some of his stuff was simply ingenious: ”Here’s another question I’ve been pondering – what is all this shoot about angels? Have you heard this? Three out of four people believe in Angels. Are you freaking stupid? Has everybody lost their minds? Do you know what I think it is? I think it’s a massive, collective, psychotic chemical flashback for all the drugs smoked, swallowed, shot, and absorbed rectally by all Americans from 1960 to 1990. Thirty years of street drugs will get you some freaking angels my friend!”
Occasionally an atheist person tends to express his feelings in a misanthropic fashion: ”I look at it this way… For centuries now, man has done everything he can to destroy, defile, and interfere with nature: clear-cutting forests, strip-mining mountains, poisoning the atmosphere, over-fishing the oceans, polluting the rivers and lakes, destroying wetlands and aquifers… so when nature strikes back, and smacks him on the head and kicks him in the nuts, I enjoy that. I have absolutely no sympathy for human beings whatsoever. None. And no matter what kind of problem humans are facing, whether it’s natural or man-made, I always hope it gets worse.” Here is a possible explanation: Atheists don’t rely on miraculous saviors or believe in the gardens of Eden. They consider the earth to be their paradise and the only home they’ll ever meet. So the human race, who’ s been wounding and disrespecting nature for years, is reasonably faced with hostility and contempt by many atheists. But Carlin didn’t let his anger prevail; instead, he would transform it into laughter. This was an excellent way to draw attention and then alert people.
Concluding, I think Carlin himself was a fanatic. A fanatic opponent of religious, political, racial, life-style and financial fanatism. A man who trusted his instincts and stood up for his beliefs. An undoubtedly restive spirit that will be missed.