The video had been watched around 4.8 million times, there were around 60 000 text comments (climbing steadily) and across the page above the video title was a red bar containing the words “invalid arguments”. Don’t know how the bar got there or whether it was referring to the comments, the video or both.
It’s clear that Carlin has struck a chord in the way he relates his views on religion in this segment.
As with many, Carlin’s cynicism and comedic energy is rooted in his keen awareness of life’s tragedies. And as with many, he sees religion as one of the world’s problems. In this 10 minute video (peppered with profanities) he gives some of his reasons why he rejects main stream ‘religion’ and adopts sun worship as a healthy alternative.
Aside from it’s humorous delivery, I suspect the popularity of Carlin’s piece and the discussion it continues to generate lies in the way he touches on some popular objections to ‘religion’ – what seems to be a general mix of ‘Christian’ ideas – and attempts to undermine any credible basis for religious belief in short order.
The YouTube comedy channel isn’t the best place for serious investigation of the phenomenon of religion, but it can be a place to start.
He presents a short but stinging polemic on the doctrine of hell within the religious world-view. It’s a problem I often ponder and intend to write some more on here – along with other issues raised by this video.
A couple of things got me thinking to start though. If Carlin is pointing at an ‘orthodox Christian’ view of hell, he seems flawed in his basic understanding, or perhaps that’s just the danger of over simplifying an idea to make a point. In any case, a more comprehensive view can be established from a quick visit to Wikipedia and other resources available on the web.
The question is, how many of the 60k + punters leaving their views on the video will be inclined to look further on this and other questions he raises?
You generally don’t find good metaphysics on the back of a Corn Flakes packet and human nature suggests that many don’t want to risk the comfort of healthy ignorance by delving any further.
One of the more vexing aspects of the human condition is the way in which many only seem interested in having their prejudices reinforced. And that just seems like boring behaviour in a world with so much information at hand and so much to explore.
You have to admire the honesty of the man and it’s an entertaining piece. But it’s not exactly an invitation to step back and examine the realities with critical faculties engaged. And they are important realities. Sometimes it;s easier to laugh, jump on the band wagon and by default become another unthinking product of the culture with delusions of freedom.
Because sometimes freedom is choosing to pursue enlightenment at any cost.
More on this to come.
- Still haven’t worked out for sure if this notice is really referring to the video. Having googled it, there are other videos similarly labelled and it seems YouTube does engage in censorship and similar (see e.g. http://www.rss88.com/l/3353.html), so it may well be a comment on the video contents. That’s interesting. [↩]
- The notion that Youtube is not a place of serious reflection was captured rather nicely in an overcompensating strip: “Youtube killed the naïve notion that most people ain’t slobberin’, illiterate, psychotic racists.” [↩]