Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What George Carlin's death should make us think about

George Carlin was a profane man. That is not unusual. I am sure that if all of our thoughts and careless words were made known there would be no end to our shame. However, it is no secret that George Carlin was an atheist who openly mocked God, especially the God revealed in the Bible. What this means is that, unless he repented and turned to Christ before he died, George Carlin has entered into an eternity of darkness and banishment from God's mercy. It is an eternity where God's unmitigated and justified wrath is poured out upon the unrepentant. It is called Hell; a subject that most evangelicals would prefer to avoid. However, if Hell is not a real place then Jesus is a liar. If Hell is not the eternal destiny for all those who die in their sins then Jesus is a liar.

Some of you may have already read about the Pew Research report released today. It was disturbing to read that 61% of Southern Baptists surveyed agreed with the statement, "Many religions can lead to eternal life." Too many of us who name the name of Jesus simply do not like what He taught about the eternal destiny of those who do not believe upon Him. We prefer a sentimental God who is nice rather than holy; a God who really doesn't mean what He says. We have cheapened God's grace because we have denied His wrath.

Many evangelicals deny the reality of Hell for anyone except perhaps Hitler and Stalin in an effort to protect God from seeming cruel or unfair. However, when we say that all religions ultimately lead to eternal life, what we are truly saying is that God is a liar. We should not be slow to affirm that which God, throughout His Word, so clearly affirms. We should not be afraid to warn our fellow sinners about that which Jesus warned His first hearers.

It is not cruel or arrogant to say that unless George Carlin repented and believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ he is in hell today. It is not helpful, nor is it honest to say we simply don't know about Carlin's destiny. Why must we obscure what God has made plain? The book has already been written on George Carlin. "It is appointed unto man once to die and then face the judgment." But for our neighbors and friends who, by God's grace are still with us, let us take a lesson from Carlin's death. God has made it clear that our eternal destiny is not about our sincerity in our chosen belief system. It is about the doing, dying, and rising of Christ. All those who believe upon Him will be saved. "Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:18).

11 comments:

bossfan88 said...

Well sir, I can see that you are most definitely not a compassionate man, which I suppose is your right, but how could you possibly believe that a man such as Mr.Carlin, who was, by all accounts, a decent and kind person to all those who knew him, would burn for all eternity for the simple reason that while he really tried to believe in God, but by thinking long and hard about the topic, could not do so? You would have us all believe that we should disregard the superior brain that you say God gave us and just fall to our knees and grovel to an empty sky to avoid eternal damnation and appease a petty, vindictive, merciless celestial dictator. It is most certainly cruel and arrogant for you to believe what you believe, and if the God that you believe in does truly exist (I'm an atheist as well as an anti-theist, so I doubt this considerably) I would reject and be repulsed by Him. I will throw in with the likes of George Carlin over you any day of the week, and TWICE on Sunday.

Todd Pruitt said...

bossfan88

I'm glad you found your way to this blog. The message of God's wrath upon the unbeliever is not a pleasant one for most. However, it is a foolish thing to sit in judgment of God. I plead with you to bow your knee to your Creator. He is a gracious God who forgives all who turn to Him in faith.

God is holy and just and must punish sin. As sinners, we have a hard time understanding that. But God also promises to save all of those who believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ whose death on the cross paid the price for the sins of all those who believe.

In His kindness, God has given you another day of life. I pray that you will not turn away from his gracious offer to save you just as he saved a sinner like me.

The guilt of your sin can be washed away in a moment. Where sin abounds, God's grace abounds all the more. Jesus died and rose again victoriously to ensure the salvation of all those who believe. I pray that God will grant you the faith to receive His extraordinary gift.

Pete Morris said...

The sentimental god of America is leading many to hell. Thinking that God is unable to serve up justice leads that 'grandma' thinking; "my god cannot do such a thing... oh my!" God is not like the George Burns. God is just and He will not be mocked. The only way to 'get off' the sentence for evil is to be bought - to have another who is perfect take your deserved punishment.

bossfan88 said...

I am sorry Mr.Pruitt, but aside from thinking and reasoning about the existence of God, as well as pointing out the evils that religion has been and is responsible for (which, not matter what you believe, is impossible to deny) I do not see what evil Mr. Carlin committed that would make any reasonable person think that he must burn for all eternity. Sadly, I can see why a fundamentalist like you seem to be feel would feel that way and it is a great danger to secularist's and rationalists in the world that there are people like you who preach this non-sensical hatred and filth.

Todd Pruitt said...

bossfan

I understand why you believe the warnings of God's wrath to be non-sensical hatred and filth. The Bible assures us that God's truth is incomprehensible to those who do not believe. The message of the cross itself is "a fragrance of death to those who are perishing." However, to those who are being saved, the message of the cross of Christ is the wisdom and power of God.

Again, bossfan, I plead with you to stop blaspheming God. He is patient but, in the end, He will not be mocked. It is not too late for you. Turn away from your sins while there is still time and turn to the only One who can forgive you - Jesus Christ. He will wash away your sin and by virtue of His own merit will bring you into right standing before our Holy God.


By the way, would you like to compare the evils done by athiests in the 20th century alone? I'll give you the Crusades but I'll raise you Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Hitler (a pagan unbeliever).

bossfan88 said...

No, I would not like to compare them because, while it is true that there have been many people who have been motivated to do both good and wicked things because of their faith, there have similarly been people who have done good and wicked things who have no faith. The Inquisition does not prove or disprove the existence of God, but neither do the atrocities committed by Joseph Stalin. The real question is does having belief in something for which there is no proof, which is the very definition of faith, make you more likely do to something you would not otherwise do? Also, I do respect many of the teachings of the supposed Jesus of Nazareth, but the idea of vicarious redemption by means of human sacrifice is highly illogical and immoral. Neither your sins nor mine can be forgiven by the punishment of another person. It undermines the very notion of personal accountability, the foundation that all ethics and morality must be based on. And I can assure Mr. Morris that on my deathbed I will not be trying to throw my responsibilities on another person. And I think a just and fair God would approve.

Todd Pruitt said...

Bossfan,

Again, I understand your revulsion to the doctrine of atonement. The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. But to us who, by God's extraordinary grace, are being saved it is the most beautiful news in the universe. If God graciously turns your heart to repentance and faith then you too will know the wonder of a Savior who died for sinners.

You seem to be confident that you are good enough to stand before a just God. That's a pretty risky assumption. The fact is, left to himself, man will always think he can be his own savior. All religions other than Christianity provide a way for man to save himself. The moral genious of God, however made a way for sinful men and women to be forgiven and made just by the sacrifice of God's dearly loved Son. That's foolishness to those who think they can stand justified before God on their own merits. But for those of us who are sinners, Christ's vicarious atonement is the sweetest news we have ever heard.

God is not far off. Seek Him while He may be found.

bossfan88 said...

If I am by some slight chance wrong, and am placed before the God you believe in and he asked me why I did not believe, I think I would find myself quoting Bertrand Russell "God, you gave us insufficient evidence." I thank you for your concern for my soul, but I do not need to be threatened with hellfire to be a moral person. I would say that any supernatural creator who would burn someone for eternity for the "sin" of finding the idea of his existence at best questionable, and at worst, impossible, would be a barbaric and wicked one. Thankfully, there is no evidence of this entity, so the burden of proof to proove his existence is fully on you sir and lots of luck to you.

Harley A. said...

Bossfan, couple of things for you to consider.

Your statement in your first post about grovelling to an empty sky is telling. My friend, go to a dark unlit area tonight and look into the sky and tell me with a straight face it is empty. You have bought in to the zeitgeist of naturalism that, offhand and without a shred of evidence, presupposes the most magical and ethereal of BELIEFS - that all you see came about ex nihilo - very magical. Yet you cannot see how absolutely irrational (you'd probably call yourself a rationalist) that is.

Now, to your supposed morality. I'm sure you have a code of ethics and values. Most people do - Christians and non-Christians alike. Your system would castigate Todd as spewing hatred against Carlin. I find it interesting, though, that your system has no problem with Carlin spewing hatred against Christians, Christianity, the church, Christ Himself, God, etc... Very selective and arbitrary to be sure. The real question is, though, where do you get your morality - what basis could you possibly have for any morality? I can tell what your basis is - it is yourself - as it is with most. In fact, without God in the picture, moral relativism is about the only choice you're left with. But, illogic always follows without God, as He is the author of it. As God has said, you judge yourself when you judge others because by judging others you admit knowledge of His laws, however flawed that knowledge might be.

Finally, we don't have to prove God anymore than I have to prove I am sitting here typing this - He has done a fine job already. That tired attack is pure sophistry. And, you do know He exists - your problem, whether you want to admit it or not, is a moral one - not an intellectual one.

We hate neither you nor Carlin. In fact, we are saddened that you choose to continue in rebellion. But, you certainly have the right to do so - for a while, anyway...

bossfan88 said...

The point that you have risen, how did existence and all that is in it come about, is a truly fascinating one. It is a question that Physicist's continue to struggle with. This may be because, as Richard Dawkins says, they have yet to find their Darwin. Science has explained far more about the universe and about reality than religion has and undoubtebly will continue to do so. Now, as for your point about morality. Again, a very interesting subject. You presumably base your morality on Christian teachings, as have many people for roughly 2,000 years. There is one problem. According to the best evidence modern science can offer, humans have been on the planet for as little as 100,000 years, and at most 250,000 years. Where did we get our morality from before Jesus? The answer is human solidarity. Look at the Bible. Jesus tells a parable about the Good Samaritan, who helps the beaten and injured traveler on the road, takes him to an inn and pays his bill's. This man had never met or heard of Jesus, so it is obviosus he is not a Christian, so where did he get his morality from? (Incidentally, do you remember what the priest and the Levite did in the parable, or more accurately, they did not do?) Or look at the Jews wandering the desert for all those years in the Old Testament. Do you really think they wandered around thinking that murder, theft, adultery, and perjury were all permissable before, only to have God tell them at Mt. Sinai they were sins? Of course not, because any group of people who thought that would not have made it to Mt. Sinai in the first place. As for your certainty that God exists, I would not be so foolish to doubt you. I would also not have been so foolish to have doubted the ancient Greeks who believed in Zeus, the ancient Egyptians who believed in the sun god Ra, or anyone else who believed in the gods of their time. On what basis do you believe that it is the Judeo-Christian God who is real and it is Zeus who is mythology? Humans have been making gods and idols since we evolved. We knew nothing of philosophy, so we created mythology, nothing of astronomy, only astrology. We thought that storms, and plagues, and earthquakes were portents. If we had had this scientific knowledge from the beginning, religion never would have taken root, and it is very fortunate that the zeitgeist is moving away from the supernatural and towards the beautiful and fully satisfying natural.

Harley A. said...

Bossfan -

Our discussion is expanding beyond the scope of a blog, to be sure ! I'd love to address all the points, but I don't think it would help and again too involved for a blog. I can't argue you into faith - that is God's sovereign prerogative. Seek Him - He is not far away...

Back to the morality issue. You call the "natural" beautiful and fully satisfying - in other words (I think you'd say) - good. My point is that in your world, nothing is good nor is it bad - it just is. Your good is your human solidarity - basically a Hobbsian social contract. (Though I haven't the foggiest idea where you've witnessed human solidarity). You don't have a morality per se - you have a pragmatism - a utilitarian construct that tries to reconcile all of our individual "rights" as best it can. Noble in a certain sense but fundamentally flawed in that it doesn't deal with reality. And, it typically defines "good" as something like maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain for the greatest common denominator or something along those lines... It's a nice try but it's feet are grounded solidly in thin air.

The Bible does, of course, teach that the knowledge of good and evil - right and wrong - are innate in our minds - though we all rebel against them. We also have the knowledge of the creator God though we have supressed it and usurped the throne for ourselves. That is precisely why, without the sacrifice the God gave you in Christ, you've no hope to reconcile yourself to Him. You know Him but do not worship Him nor thank Him for the good "nature" He has placed you in.

Also, don't look to religious leaders to find God - that's exactly what Christ was saying - look to Him. Men are sinful and sinful men find just as much enjoyment in being religious despots as they do political ones. Unfortunately, Christ gets blamed for a lot of today's Christianity that is in no way Christian.

Take care and I do hope you'll seek Him at some point.