To my devoutly religious friends who might be easily offended, look away.
I loved Ricky Gervais long before reading this. His brand of comedy is one of my favorites. British comedy in general is something I have always had a special fondness for. Since I was a kid watching reruns of Are You Being Served? or Keeping Up Appearances on PBS, that deadpan delivery of the British dry wit amuses me almost as much as a good fart joke. Not to say I love all of Ricky’s work. Let’s just admit, he has made some movies that were hard to watch even when they aired on TV and you didn’t really have to pay attention. But his sitcoms, totally hilarious!
After reading the below article he wrote, all I could think was “THIS!! A MILLION TIMES THIS!” I usually avoid discussion of religion as a rule of thumb with anyone except the closest of friends. I think people are free to believe what they want, and it is highly unlikely anything I say will convince them otherwise, so really what’s the point? “Oh, your a Baptist/Methodist/Catholic/Jew/Muslim/Jehovah’s’ Witness/Toaist/Buddhist/Hindu, interesting… So, how about that weather?”
Not to say I don’t like religion or religious people. I actually enjoy studying the different facets of the belief systems and practices of the numerous different religious groups in the world, but my interest is from a purely educational standpoint. That being said, there certainly are aspects and practices I disagree with, but I think it is of more benefit to know the details of these so I can be certain in my opinions, rather than just ignoring them since obviously that is not going to make them go away.
My other struggle with Religious discussion is that I am generally not particularly eloquent in my explanation of exactly why I *don’t* believe in God. Ricky has assisted me greatly by explaining several of the major factors that influence my thinking. Now I just need to commit this awesome explanation to memory, so next time someone brings up religious beliefs and my lack there of, I can intelligently and tactfully fend off those uncomfortable questions.
(If at all possible, try and read this to yourself in a British accent. It really does enhance the experience.)
Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite. (continue reading…)