Top George Carlin Quotes on Religion

How the comedian felt about God

Neilson Barnard / Stringer / Getty Images

George Carlin was an outspoken comic, known for his brash sense of humor, foul language and controversial views on politics, religion and other sensitive subjects. He was born May 12, 1937, in New York City into an Irish Catholic family, but he rejected the faith. His parents split up when he was an infant because his father was reportedly an alcoholic. 

He attended a Roman Catholic high school, which he eventually left.

He also showed an early flair for drama during summers at Camp Notre Dame in New Hampshire. He joined the U.S. Air Force but was court marshaled multiple times and faced additional punishments. However, Carlin worked in radio during his stint in the military, and that would pave the way for his career in comedy, where he never shied away from provocative subjects, such as religion.

With the quotes that follow, get a better understanding of why Carlin rejected Catholicism for atheism.    

What Religion Is

We created god in our own image and likeness! 

Religion convinced the world that there's an invisible man in the sky who watches everything you do. And there's 10 things he doesn't want you to do or else you'll to to a burning place with a lake of fire until the end of eternity. But he loves you! ...And he needs money! He's all powerful, but he can't handle money! [George Carlin, from album "You Are All Diseased" (it can also be found in the book "Napalm and Silly Putty".]

Religion is sort of like a lift in your shoes. If it makes you feel better, fine. Just don't ask me to wear your shoes. 

Education and Faith

I credit that eight years of grammar school with nourishing me in a direction where I could trust myself and trust my instincts. They gave me the tools to reject my faith. They taught me to question and think for myself and to believe in my instincts to such an extent that I just said, 'This is a wonderful fairy tale they have going here, but it's not for me.' [George Carlin in the New York Times - 20 August 1995, pg. 17. He attended Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, but left during his sophomore year in 1952 and never went back to school. Before that he attended a Catholic grammar school, Corpus Christi, which he called an experimental school.]

Instead of school busing and prayer in schools, which are both controversial, why not a joint solution? Prayer in buses. Just drive these kids around all day and let them pray their f----n' empty little heads off. [George Carlin, Brain Droppings]

Church and State

This is a little prayer dedicated to the separation of church and state. I guess if they are going to force those kids to pray in schools they might as well have a nice prayer like this: Our Father who art in heaven, and to the republic for which it stands, thy kingdom come, one nation indivisible as in heaven, give us this day as we forgive those who so proudly we hail. Crown thy good into temptation but deliver us from the twilight's last gleaming. Amen and Awomen. [George Carlin, on "Saturday Night Live"]

I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death. 

Religious Jokes

I have as much authority as the pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.[George Carlin, Brain Droppings]

Jesus was a cross dresser [George Carlin, Brain Droppings]

I finally accepted Jesus. not as my personal savior, but as a man I intend to borrow money from. [George Carlin, Brain Droppings]

I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood. [George Carlin, from the album "A Place For My Stuff"]

A man came up to me on the street and said I used to be messed up out of my mind on drugs but now I'm messed up out of my mind on Jeeesus Chriiist. 

The only good thing ever to come out of religion was the music. [George Carlin, Brain Droppings]
 

Rejecting Faith

I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God - I really tried. I really really tried. I tried to believe that there is a god who created each one of us in his own image and likeness, loves us very much and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize...something is F--KED 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. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a supreme being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently run universe, this guy would have been out on his all-powerful-ass a long time ago. [George Carlin, from "You Are All Diseased".]


On Prayer

Trillions and trillions of prayers every day asking and begging and pleading for favors. 'Do this' 'Gimme that' 'I want a new car' 'I want a better job'. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday. And I say fine, pray for anything you want. Pray for anything. But...what about the divine plan? Remember that? The divine plan. Long time ago God made a divine plan. Gave it a lot of thought. Decided it was a good plan. Put it into practice. And for billion and billions of years the divine plan has been doing just fine. Now you come along and pray for something. Well, suppose the thing you want isn't in God's divine plan. What do you want him to do? Change his plan? Just for you? Doesn't it seem a little arrogant? It's a divine plan. What's the use of being God if every run-down schmuck with a two dollar prayer book can come along and fuck up your plan? And here's something else, another problem you might have; suppose your prayers aren't answered. What do you say? 'Well it's God's will. God's will be done.' Fine, but if it is God's will and he's going to do whatever he wants to anyway; why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me. Couldn't you just skip the praying part and get right to his will? [George Carlin, from "You Are All Diseased".]

You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Joe Pesci. Two reasons; first of all, I think he's a good actor. Okay. To me, that counts. Second; he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. Doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with. For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog. Joe Pesci straightened that cock-sucker out with one visit. [George Carlin, from "You Are All Diseased".]

 

I noticed that of all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers that I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answer at about the same 50 percent rate. Half the time I get what I want. Half the time I don't. Same as god 50/50. Same as the four leaf clover, the horse shoe, the rabbit's foot, and the wishing well. Same as the mojo man. Same as the voodoo lady who tells your fortune by squeezing the goat's testicles. It's all the same; 50/50. So just pick your superstitions, sit back, make a wish and enjoy yourself. And for those of you that look to the Bible for it's literary qualities and moral lessons; I got a couple other stories I might like to recommend for you. You might enjoy The Three Little Pigs. That's a good one. It has a nice happy ending. Then there's Little Red Riding Hood. Although it does have that one x-rated part where the Big-Bad-Wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn't care for, by the way. And finally, I've always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I liked best: ...and all the king's horses, and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again. That's because there is no Humpty Dumpty, and there is no God. None. Not one. Never was. No god. [George Carlin, from "You Are All Diseased".]