Carolla Gets Religion

2 Jan

Carolla is a self-proclaimed atheist. He has no religious beliefs. I believe he is wrong. I believe Carolla actually is religious.

Carolla is a deeply moral person. This is clear from his opinions. Carolla’s morality is not based on any religion. He subscribes to what I call “psyche-based morality”, and it’s described in my book “Embrace The Infinite”.

A person who subscribes to psyche-based morality believes, as Carolla does, that what determines our sense of right and wrong is based on the physical workings of our brains. Something is morally “right” if it feels right. Carolla claims that “reasonable” people (whatever that means) know right from wrong, and there’s no need for religion to sort these things out.

I admire Carolla for being a moral person. There are many people who do not even care about right and wrong. (Some of these non-caring people are evil, some are not.)

Since Carolla cares, I believe he actually is religious. He just may not know it yet.

Allow me to pose this hypothetical: suppose I had crafted a drug that increased your sensations of pleasure and made you hungry for power. After taking this drug, you will be wildly ambitious to claim more power, and you will feel exhilarated as your power increases. You will also feel greatly more pleasure in your life, from things such as sex and food. There is one major downside: you will become evil (by your current definition) and think nothing of stepping on other people, even to the point of killing them.

I agree that such a drug does not yet exist. But if it did, Carolla should have no qualms about taking it. His qualms about taking this drug are based on his current psyche, and the evil creature he will become. But the drug will remove those qualms. Once his morals are changed, a life of extreme pleasure and exhilaration awaits.

Carolla, now I ask you: would you take this drug? If there is something inside you that objects, that believes that morality goes beyond your feelings of the moment, that believes there is a right and wrong that somehow transcends time, then you will forego the drug and all the benefits it delivers.

And I’ll say: Carolla, you just got religion!

Added after initial publication: In following up to the comments, I was led to a commenter’s page and made the following connection: both Adam Carolla and Jesus Christ were carpenters! Can I then assume that Adam Carolla is the new Jesus? He’s even more religious than I thought!


14 Responses to “Carolla Gets Religion”

  1. Atomic Mutant January 2, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    “there is a right and wrong that somehow transcends time”

    Why do you need to assume that? Even it the rest was true, then it would be simply enough that his feelings NOW don’t want him to be like that. You are making choices based on what person you are and not based on what person you might become.

    • Anthony Mannucci January 3, 2014 at 6:08 am #

      Thanks for your comment. His moral belief system has no rational basis. One might call it a faith, which brings him very close to religion. The difference between Carolla’s choice and a religious choice is merely in the details of the nature of God. Carolla believes in an all-encompassing external, objective reality governed by physical law and discovered by science. He believes, with zero evidence, although this belief is reasonable, that what governs the physical universe is some sort of permanent, immutable and all-encompassing set of rules that implies the sun will rise tomorrow as it has risen yesterday. There is no evidence for what nature will do tomorrow, since we have no data. So, we live according to our beliefs.

  2. Ignostic Atheist January 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    So what you’re saying is that, in order for him to qualify as an atheist to you, he would have to be willing to become what you think atheism is, which is hedonistic psychopathy.

    Has it occurred to you that maybe you haven’t got a clue what atheism is? Or maybe, just maybe, you have a few very small prejudices.

    • Anthony Mannucci January 3, 2014 at 6:22 am #

      Thanks for your comment. I have nothing against atheism. I am not prejudiced, as in “pre-judging”. I am judging based on what Carolla says.

      Perhaps the only true atheists are psychopaths. Once you start laying out a moral code, you are veering off into the realm of belief and faith. I see this as very similar to religion.

      Many people identify themselves as atheists to distinguish their beliefs from traditional religions. On further analysis, it comes down to different belief systems. Athesists reject the principle of “miracles”, and they reject the bible as the word of God. If I believe in God, but reject the bible as the word of God, am I an atheist? If I have faith, but my faith is not what Catholics or Muslims believe, am I an atheist? Is a Catholic an atheist because he does not share Muslim beliefs?

      Carolla has strong opinions about how people should live, and how societies should be. Sounds like a religion, although it is not backed up by a belief in miracles.

      • Atomic Mutant January 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

        What you see (or write) is only evidence that your definition of “religion” is pretty much, sorry to be so blunt, bullshit. And of course, quite honestly, your horribly oversimplified use of the word “belief” is… funny. If you think, the belief that a god cares about what pants you wear is somehow equal to the belief that the sun will still be tomorrow, then there is no way a sane person could have any meaningful discussion with you.

        And, to answer your question: No, if you want, you can belief in angels, fairies, invisible unicorns – etc. and still be an atheist – as long as you don’t believe in one or more god(s). And atheist does not believe in any god(s), but that doesn’t imply that an atheist can not believe in other paranormal stuff, if he wanted. Some, especially “new” atheists are skeptics and don’t believe in things like that, but of course it’s not part of the definition of atheism.

      • Anthony Mannucci January 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

        I never said the sun thing and the pants thing are equal. Of course they are not equal.

        What definition of religion suits you? Would a definition that passes muster for getting a tax break be sufficient?

        I am surprised that you accept belief in unicorns, but not belief in god. For most atheists, the belief in things like unicorns is the stumbling block. Believing in god if you believe in unicorns seems like a small step. Somehow, it is the “god” part of the supernatural that bothers you, not the supernatural itself.

        If you are willing to accept arbitrary supernatural entities, I don’t see how you can be so sure that god is not one of them. Perhaps you know something that I don’t.

      • Atomic Mutant January 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

        Your definition of “accepting” is somewhat strange…

        a) Do I think that everyone has the right to belief in unicorns (or gods)? Yes, absolutely.

        b) Do I think that the belief in unicorns (or gods) is justified? No.

        c) Do I think that it’s at least a little bit ridiculous to believe in unicorns (or gods) without any evidence? Yes.

        d) Do I think that you can belief in unicorns and still be an atheist? Of course. A-THEISM. It’s about not believing in GOD(s), end of story. It’s not about not believing in unicorns. Otherwise it would be A-Unicornism. It’s also not A-Fairy-ism – but, technically, some are pretty godly, so that’s maybe a grey area. Of course, I still think it’s silly and probably will not take such an atheist seriously, but being an atheist doesn’t automatically make you smart or right about anything. You can be an atheist and still believe that homeopathy heals cancer and that the stars will tell you your lucky numbers and that Wahalla-Dingdong from Planet Omicron Percei 8 is channeling you messages through your cat. In short, you can be atheist and be batshit crazy. Nothing in the definition of atheism forces you to be clever – or even sane.

        Personally, I am not only(!) an atheist (nobody is, technically, as everyone is more than that), and chose not to believe in unicorns. But that’s not because I am an atheist. I do not believe in unicorns because I’m a skeptic. I am probably also an atheist because of that.

        Anyway, the first thing for a definition of religion would be to be meaningfull. If you press everything that cannot be proven 100% (nothing can, technically), than football is also one (because you have to believe that it somehow is important to get a round piece of leather between two posts). That simply makes religion as a word meaningless.
        Much more intelligent people than me have tried to find good definitions for religion and so I will not try to. Read it up. But please, search for something better than “anything that has to do with belief and you have to belief something, so, religion is everything”.

      • Anthony Mannucci January 4, 2014 at 6:20 am #

        I am not suggesting that belief = religion. I agree that we all have to believe something, but that’s not the same as religion.
        Getting back to Carolla, I am specifically suggesting that his moral code is tantamount to a religion. It is belief in “right” and “wrong” that gets us to religion, not belief in unicorns or football. As an atheist, Carolla believes that right and wrong does not emanate from a god-like concept, but from his feelings, which originate in his brain. I am suggesting that he may or may not be aware that his belief in right and wrong might well transcend feeling. Perhaps it is an abstract principle that he, for lack of a better word, worships. Perhaps Carolla worships a principle, but not a god. Maybe god is a principle. Have you heard it said “god is love”? Does love have a white beard and sit on a throne?

      • Ignostic Atheist January 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

        It’s kind of the definition of atheism: “without god belief”. It’s not “without belief in ridiculous ideas”. For example, many Buddhists are atheists, maintaining belief in rebirth, supernatural beings and whatnot.

  3. John Doe July 2, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    You don’t need religion to have morals. People can be good without religion.


  1. The Moral Code | Embrace The Infinite! - January 2, 2014

    […] Adam Carolla”, where I riff on the podcast of comedian Adam Carolla. That blog post is found here. What do you […]

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