George Carlin is dead, and it seems as if evangelical Protestant-dom can’t get enough of trashing him for his foul language and his atheist views. It seems as if our capacity to engage with others outside of our worldview is limited to: “He is not a good role model.” “He is damned and is now in Hell; what else is there to say about him?” “He got it all wrong on the only thing that matters; we don’t need to have anything to do with anything else that he might have to say.” It is as if all of existence and all of humanity are divided into two categories: those who are with us, and those who are of the world–who need to be condemned and exposed as bad role models.
This is unfortunate. When the sum total of all that you can say about another human being is “He’s not a Christian, therefore he’s damned and on the way to Hell”, that comes awfully close to the way in which certain power groups dehumanize those whom they wish to oppress. There are numerous examples of this from history. Medieval Christians to Jews: “Their people crucified Jesus.” White Americans to African-Americans: “They’re the descendants of people who were cursed in the Bible and that’s why their skin is dark.” You can look at history yourself and find other examples of this. If we as evangelicals continue to go down this road, it opens us up to some terrible possibilities.
By the way, here is a CNN writeup of what other comedians had to say about George Carlin.
And here is his “Stuff” routine, which is one of his most popular. For those of you who have never heard of George Carlin, here is a good place to start: