George Carlin was a man well-known for his comedic acts, which were considered ‘inappropriate’ or ‘distasteful’ for his time. He is known as a trend-setter, a comedian that broke the ice with his language and topics to allow a whole slew of ‘offensive’ comedians to take the stage. He is also well-known for his views of atheism and religion.
Among Carlin’s many popular skits is one with the topic of prayer. The problem with prayer, according to Carlin, is that people think they can bend God’s will through speaking to him. People do pray about serious things—but they also pray that their favorite football team will make the playoffs or that the person we see on the bus every morning will ask them out, even if they have never even spoken to them before.
Carlin also admits praying—but not to God like most people. Here is a quote from his skit:
“You know who I pray to? 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 f—around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.”
Baseball bat-carrying Pesci did get things done, at about the same rate as God. Carlin meant for this to be satire—but it does raise some question. How should people pray and when it does work out, is there some mystical force at play? Why does prayer work?