I recently saw a letter on Facebook written by the late George Carlin. He wrote the letter soon after the passing of his own wife just months earlier. They died in the same year (2008), and many have been encouraged by this letter. My point is not to ridicule George Carlin or his wife. My goal is to point out the inconsistency of his worldview, and the emptiness of his letter.
Facebook Post by Allen B. Konis
George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more but learn less. We plan more but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.
What breaks my heart is not the lovely letter George wrote about his wife. The words in this letter, for me at least, have much meaning and could bring even the hardest person to an emotional state. What really concerns me is knowing that this man, who spent his life mocking, patronizing, and hating his creator, has already met Him and has only his good deeds to offer a perfect and righteous God. The letter to his wife is one of these things, and all the money he made in as a comedian, much of which was spent mocking the Father and the Son is another. The world will claim that these acts prove that George was, in fact, a pretty good person. But the Bible speaks much of this sort of behavior. We are not left in the dark concerning our personal works outside of union with Christ.
In Isaiah 64:6 the Prophet declares,
“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
Likewise in Romans 3:10-12 Paul confessed,
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
And Paul again in Romans 8,
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
These passages do not show that God is unpleased when a sinner He has called to Himself (John 6:44), made new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and shared the righteousness of Christ with (Romans 4:22) produces good fruit out of their love for Him. Much of scripture speaks of God being very pleased by a born-again believer who by His grace bears fruit (Col. 1:10), present themselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), preaches the Word in truth (1 Thess. 2:4), etc. The problem here is that George was not united to Christ, and therefore was not clothed in the righteousness of Christ (unless there was a rapid change of his heart I am unaware of before his passing). This means that he will stand before a righteous God with nothing but his personal works to show.
The reality of this is that George stands no chance here. Nobody does. It’s just not good enough. We must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ! While family, friends, and loved ones are important, nothing is more important than to stop relying on your own righteousness and to start receiving Christ’s righteousness by repenting of our sins and believing in Him. This letter actually makes no sense at all, from an Atheistic perspective. Because with no God, there is no true meaning of love. With no God, there is no real reason to actually give anyone any of our time at all. I am not saying that an atheist can’t love someone or give them their time. What I am saying is that from an atheistic perspective, this sort of thinking that the letter contains is inconsistent with the worldview they claim to live.
George uses words like “love,” “good,” “bad,” and “treasure in your heart.” He uses terms like “morality,” and the word “kill,” as if it’s a “bad” thing. Words have meaning, but words also have power if spoken by an almighty God. The inconsistency here is that George rejected God, which results in a letter giving us nothing but an opinion that carries no weight and does not save. He uses words that he assumes actually mean something. But in reality, they only mean what George wants them to mean.
George in some ways is like me. He acted like people matter, that loved ones are important, and that we should take care of them and give them our time. I agree with all of these things! For me though this letter proves far too much. It contains what I feel is a knowledge of God. Not a saving knowledge, but an awareness that scripture says is written on our hearts (Romans 1; 2:15). I say we are alike in some ways because George lived his life like a Christian. This letter has Christian all over it! I don’t say he lived like a Christian by obeying God (he clearly disobeyed Him), but by assuming all of that he states in the letter actually even matters. The major difference between George and I is that he did this all while rejecting his creator. George ends the letter with his view on what life is really all about. Instead of living our life to glorify God in all that we do (1 Peter 4:11; 1 Corinthians 10:31), George says, “those moments that take our breath away,” is what life is truly measured by. These words when read by a Christian should cause us much concern.
Well, so what? George did not even believe in God so why does any of this even matter? It matters because as a Christian we should see right through things such as this. When a hater of God is borrowing our Christian faith by stating that all of these things actually matter, have meaning, and are very important things for us to do, we should realize immediately the true emptiness behind this talk. Rather than pass it around to others, we should call out this kind of talk for what it truly is. George had no hope of ever seeing his wife again. If George wanted to remain consistent with his worldview he should have stated that life has no meaning at all and that we are all here by accident, and therefore should live our lives however we want to. The person giving their time to loved ones would be no different than the person who chose not to. The person content with their financial standing and material possessions would be no different than the person who is taking advantage of family members, friends, and loved ones to live beyond their means, and at the expense of those very people. The point here is not to bring to light the fact that George hated God. We all know that already. Its to show that when someone rejects God, their words become ambiguous, and their thoughts foolish.
I weep mostly for George because he was exactly what Romans 1 says he is, an unrighteous person (we all are), suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
The scriptures say that what results from this perspective is foolishness, much like the inconsistency in this letter.