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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is a film critic for The New York Post and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review. Find an alphabetical listing of The New York Post's recent film reviews here.

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  • « Jay Leno: Right or Left? | Home | Roundup of Polanski Defenses »

    Ricky Gervais Takes on Christianity

    By Kyle | September 28, 2009

    If you saw Ricky Gervais’s delightful romantic comedy “Ghost Town” last year and were looking forward to his new comedy, “The Invention of Lying,” be warned. The movie is a full-on attack on religion in general and Christianity in particular. It might be the most blatantly, one-sidedly atheist movie ever released by a major studio, in this case Warner Bros.

    Gervais delights in what a faith-based society would call blasphemy, setting up an imaginary world in which no one ever lies. Except his character, who spreads what Gervais obviously sees as the biggest lie of all: Belief in God.

    Gervais’s character is the first man ever to think of lying. In order to comfort the dying, he randomly hits on the idea of telling them that they will go to a better place and enjoy an afterlife. Citizens who automatically believe what they’re told (since no one, even advertisers, has ever told an untruth) start to spread the word, and soon Gervais is doing a gruesomely unfunny parody of Moses and the Ten Commandments. Except his rules are ten lies written on pizza boxes.

    Gervais sighs and winces as he spins his absurd made-up stories to the ignorant peoples of the world: There is a “Man in the Sky,” he says, who is looking down at all of us and is responsible for everything that happens. Yes, he explains to one woman, he gave your mom cancer — but he’s also responsible for curing her. The people aren’t happy that “The Man in the Sky” is behind all human suffering. “F— The Man in the Sky!” cries one citizen, and the crowd begins to get angry. A magazine cover exclaims, “Man in the Sky Kills 40,000 in Tsunami!” But Gervais’s character insists that whatever damage the Man in the Sky causes, he eventually makes up for it all in the end by providing a beautiful mansion for everyone after they die, at least for those who don’t commit three or more immoral acts, and by making it so that everyone can reunite with their loved ones in the next life. Later in the movie, Gervais will be outfitted like Jesus. The movie doesn’t have a joke to offer at this point; it just thinks it’s funny to show Gervais in long hair and a bedsheet. At the end, in a church, a minister is seen wearing a cross, so apparently somehow the Gervais character also came up with the Crucifixion story.

    Gervais is an atheist, which is fine, but his mean-spiritedness (even before the atheism theme enters the movie, it’s sour and misanthropic) and the film’s reduction of all religion to an episode of crowd hysteria are not going to be warmly received. Except maybe by critics.

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    Topics: Comedy, Movies, Politics, Religion |

    55 Responses to “Ricky Gervais Takes on Christianity”

    1. Christian Toto Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 12:17 am

      Critics are already digging this one … not a tough one to call, eh?

      Gervais, to me, is a very off putting fellow on screen. I want to like him on the big screen, but it just doesn’t click for me.

      I think this film will suffer a quick defeat at the b.o.

      it will need all the controversy it can muster re: the religious assault.

    2. eb Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 1:01 am

      Atheism is a lot more accepted and popular in Britain in other western countries than it is in the US, so I think it should be born in mind that Gervais is looking at things from a different cultural perspective.

      He addressed the religion issue on his blog with this:

      A couple more web sites have picked up on a few Christians (not all - most Christians have a sense of humour) saying that The Invention of Lying is blasphemous.

      Here are my seven deadly sins of jumping to conclusions:

      1. No one has seen the film.

      2. Even if the film suggests there is no God, it is a fictional world. One of my favourite films is ‘It’s a wonderful life’ and at no time am I offended by the suggestion in this wonderful work of fiction that there is a God.

      3. If the film was not set in a fictional world and suggested there is no God then that’s fine too, as it is anyone’s right not to believe in God.

      4. By suggesting there is no God you are not singling out Christianity.

      5. Not believing in God cannot be blasphemous. Blasphemy is acknowledging a God to insult or offend etc.

      6. Even if it was blasphemous, which it isn’t, then that’s OK too due to a little god I like called “freedom of speech.” That said, I am not trying to offend anyone. That would be a waste of such a privilege.

      7. I am an atheist, but this is not atheist propaganda. When creating an imaginary world you have to make certain decisions. We decided also that there would be no surrealist art, no racism, no flattery, no fiction, no metaphor, and no supernatural. However, we decided that apart from that one “lying gene”, humans evolved with everything else as we have it today. Joy, hope, ambition, ruthlessness, greed, lust, anger, jealousy, sadness, and grief. It’s just a film. If any of the themes in it offend you or bore you, or just don’t make sense to you, you should put everything right when you make a film.

      I really hope everyone enjoys the film and keeps an open mind. I believe in peace on Earth, and good will to all men. I do as I would be done by, and believe that forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues. I just don’t believe I will be rewarded for it in heaven. That’s all.

      Cheers.

    3. K Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 1:14 am

      Many thanks for the warning.

      The trailer was running with “The September Issue” this week. There was no indication what it’s “message” was, as the premise could have been manipulated either way.

    4. SwissGuy Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 2:53 am

      “At the end, in a church, a minister is seen wearing a cross, so apparently somehow the Gervais character also came up with the Crucifixion story.”

      did you ever notice that the cross was here before jesus? maybe you should do some research into that. you could be surprised that the cross actually stands for something else ;)

      but watch it! knowledge comes at a price. by the time you heared of the ‘creation’ of the bible you might want to get out of any organized religion and find your own way to christ.

    5. Gareth Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 5:16 am

      As your own leader says, “There’s little point in writing if you can’t annoy somebody.” Kingsley Amis

      Score one for Ricky Gervais.

    6. humanpersonjr Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 7:56 am

      I am an atheist. I regret all pain that atheist-worldview-based art brings to religious folk.

      I am glad I underwent the necessary pain to rid myself of my religion, which was mainstream Christianity. For me, the most unpleasant truth is more beautiful than the most comforting lie.

      James Randi and Hitchens are right: False beliefs are not harmless. Without exception, they bring disasters upon the believer. Still, I truly do regret the hurt feelings and/or anger people will suffer because of this film.

    7. Ben Armato Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 8:39 am

      I’ll second the thanks for the warning.

      I don’t go to the movies anymore (my own personal boycott of the trash they are putting out) but I’ll make sure my kids aren’t in this line.

    8. Robert P Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 9:38 am

      It’s kind of refreshing to hear an intelligent social commentator like yourself who doesn’t rush to call every religious person a moron at every opportunity.

      (and unfortunately, it seems if you call yourself “religious” you are branded as a nut-job screaming on a soap box and speaking in tongues on a street corner)

      It’s a shame to hear the film is sour and mean-spirited though. I like Gervais. I was a fan of The Office (both British & US versions) and like you, I thought Ghost Town was surprisingly good.

    9. Dave R Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 10:00 am

      Thanks for the heads-up. That is a complete 180-degree turn from the cute, inventive film I thought I saw in the trailers. My wife and I will definitely take your review into consideration before wading into this water.

    10. kishke Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 10:31 am

      Too bad. I was hoping for another pleasant surprise from Gervais. I think I’ll skip this one.

    11. Kate Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 11:54 am

      Thanks for the heads up. I’m a huge fan of The Office and Extras but always found Ricky’s jabs at Christianity extremely off-putting. A whole movie based on the premise that God is a lie would be intolerable.

    12. Brandon Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

      While I’m not exactly a regular church goer (okay at all) I likewise think I’ll skip this one and get the warning out to my friends as well. I don’t feel like being preached at by anyone…even an athiest. It’s ashamed to because this looked like it really had potential.

      Thanks for the heads up Kyle.

    13. Floyd R. Turbo Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

      Evidence #45,892 that many of today’s atheists are not really skeptics, but rather fundamentalists who secure in their knowledge and faith (since they have no proof of the non-existence) that there is no God feel the need to attack those who differ from them.

      It’s also disheartening that a usually smart comedian would rely on 8-year old logic to purvey his “satire”.

    14. kyle Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

      @eb, thanks for that. I will respond in kind:
      1) A lot of people have seen the film, including me. It showed at the Toronto Film Festival.
      2) The film suggests anyone who believes in God is a moron.
      3) No one disputes that Gervais has a right to make this film. Audiences have a right to ignore it. And they will.
      4) Gervais singles out Christianity when he parodies the Ten Commandments speech using Pizza Hut boxes as his “tablets.” (True, Moses predated Christianity but is nevertheless a Biblical figure. Jews are certainly entitled to be offended by this as well.) And again when he is dressed like Jesus. And again when the minister played by John Hodgman at the end wears a cross.
      5) Fair point, although irrelevant. As I said in my posting, to a belief-centered society the film would be considered blasphemy.
      6) Again, no one argues that the film should be censored. It will, however, be widely unseen. I hope Gervais does not equate “people did not see my movie because they believed it would offend them” to “people censored my opinions.” The free market has an effect similar to censorship — i.e., if Gervais keeps making flops, studios aren’t going to keep giving him money to make his films. Since I like Gervais, I find this a shame. But he created the problem himself by making a film designed to be deliberately offensive to believers.
      7) In the second half, atheism takes over as the main theme of the film and it’s disingenuous of Gervais to suggest otherwise.

    15. Floyd R. Turbo Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

      eb… granted it’s not blasphemous — it’s bigoted instead. Seeing that this movie, like everything he’s done except The Office (brilliant!), not be sen by many it’s probably as we say here in the U.S. “preaching to the choir.”

      Humanperson… if you want a real debate click my link above and we can have a civilized debate on the danger of belief…

      Atheists crack me up as you sit ensconced in the safety created within the framework of Judeo-Christian worldview. As soon as Hitchens wrote a book in Cuba entitled The State is Not Great there would be a bullet through his scotch-addled brain. I love Hitchens and he is usually brilliant. His atheist-evangelism is juvenile — he’s the godless Billy Sunday.

      You have atheistic utopias around — why not go live there. There are very few dangerous believers in North Korea, Cuba, or Vietnam.

    16. Vorpal Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

      If the filmmaker is not singling out Christianity, and there is no particular religion in mind for his target, then he should portray the dude in the bedsheet as Mohammed. I am sure that Muslims world-wide will celebrate his freedom of speech. Coward.

    17. Big Leo Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

      I think I’ll be missing this one. If I want my ideas and person insulted, I can get it from my mother in law free– and the popcorn is better at home.

    18. Christopher Johnson Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

      I don’t see why atheists always seem to feel themselves so persecuted. I mean, they only murdered more people in one century than any religion did in twenty.

    19. Libertarian Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

      Kyle said “Gervais singles out Christianity when he parodies the Ten Commandments speech using Pizza Hut boxes as his “tablets.”” Are you serious? Do you know who Moses was? Do you understand that the Old Testament is not exclusive to Christians? I’ll give you a hint. The original language of the first books of the OT, AKA the books of Moses, were written in Hebrew.

    20. Alan Davis Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      The premise is promising, but the execution is nonsense. There’s a huge difference between telling the truth and knowing the truth. If you tell the truth in your eyes, you can still be wrong, unless you know all of reality. So in such a world, lying would get you little. People could believe you but would still demand to see evidence of “The Man In The Sky”, since believing this fact if it is false has a huge impact on life.

      In this world where people do lie, it’s little different. If someone told you would not believe it unless you had some evidence (or at least a sense) that this being exists. Given that 95% of the people have a sense (or evidence) that there is more to life than this material world, the 5% that do not have this sense must find some way of justifying why they are right and everyone else, now and in the past, are ignorant gullible idiots — even people in their own ranks such as Anthony Flew who started out as the strong influential proponent of the 5% and is now a strong proponent of the 95%.

    21. kyle Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

      @Libertarian, you make a good point as Moses obviously came along before Christ. Nevertheless, as a Biblical figure Moses is held in high esteem by Christians. If it would make you happy, you may mentally substitute the idea of Gervais insulting Judeo-Christianity instead of just Christianity.

    22. Nico Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

      Ok, gotta paraphrase here but uttered by one of the characters on South Park sometime back when they addressed the whole atheism issue: “Ok, I get that they don’t believe in God and all, but why do they have to be such dicks?”

    23. Jana Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

      I, like another respondant here, thought the movie looked intriguing from the trailer. Guess I won’t be seeing it after all. Not that I boycott films that have religious (or non-religious) messages that I disagree with, but it just sounds like watching this would make me uncomfortable.

      I’m not surprised they left this seemingly important plot point out of the trailer.

      Love Gervais, but I’ll skip this.

    24. kishke Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

      Not believing in God cannot be blasphemous. Blasphemy is acknowledging a God to insult or offend

      Nonsense. If God exists and demands that one believe, then the denial of His existence is blasphemy on its face.

    25. JohnFNWayne Says:
      September 30th, 2009 at 1:00 am

      Not to get involved in the Holy War, but using agnosticism as a crutch for a bad comedy won’t win Gervais any fans in the states. Let him “Dixie Chick” it up with the tape across his face, but the fact is people don’t like to be insulted.

      As far as blasphemy goes, try speaking ill of Marx west of The Valley.

    26. Floyd R. Turbo Says:
      September 30th, 2009 at 8:30 am

      This also sounds like an atheist’s version of bad 1970s Christian flicks (except the budget and production values are higher — which is quadrupling down on stupid) where they would have these awkward ham-handed speeches about Jesus. As a devout believer they were cringe-worthy for their “Bible-thumper” quality and not the way those things usually happen. Seems Gervais doesn’t really seem interested in saving me from religion — just mocking me.

    27. meredithk Says:
      September 30th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      I can’t wait to see his spoof of islam.

    28. humanpersonjr Says:
      September 30th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

      Floyd, your religous beliefs are making you nasty. There’s really no call for the attitude you’re putting forward.

      You wrote, “Atheists crack me up as you sit ensconced in the safety created within the framework of Judeo-Christian worldview. As soon as Hitchens wrote a book in Cuba entitled The State is Not Great there would be a bullet through his scotch-addled brain…

      You have atheistic utopias around — why not go live there. There are very few dangerous believers in North Korea, Cuba, or Vietnam.”

      The safety I enjoy didn’t arise from the Judeo-Christian worldview. It’s only a matter of lucky timing that I wasn’t born in the days when Christians killed people who held my views.

      Communism is just another religion, which, like Christianity, will kill those who disbelieve. No surprise there.

      As for moving to another country, no thanks. I like it here, since this country was founded on intellectual freedom, which arose from the Age of Reason, when man began to unshackle himself from religion.

    29. Floyd R. Turbo Says:
      September 30th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

      humanperson…

      “The safety I enjoy didn’t arise from the Judeo-Christian worldview. It’s only a matter of lucky timing that I wasn’t born in the days when Christians killed people who held my views.”

      I suggest to you a book called “Death By Government” by R.J. Rummel a professor at the Univ. of Hawai’i. In it he chronicles the 263 Million deaths caused by government in the 20th c. (excluding war dead and casualties). 77 MM from Mao and over 30MM from Stalin, 2MM from Pol Pot and a few hundred thousand from Castro. Atheists have killed scads more people than Christians in the 1900 years prior combined.

      The Judeo-Christian concepts (I suggest here you actually read Deuteronomy) of Due Process, Equal Protection, individualism, liberty, etc. does protect you — especially the Post-Reformation Protestantism (and resulting Catholic reforms) since modernity in 1500. Notice reform doesn’t mean “perfect”.

      This country was first founded on religious freedom (including freedom of conscience) — a concept you can in large part thank the Baptists for (w/out whom Madison never would’ve gotten the First Amendment out of Virginia). Google John Leland, Isaac Backus and Roger Williams and Rhode Island for the story on that.

      I just wrote an article and gave a talk on it so you better research it thoroughly before you challenge that one. Read Roger Williams’ “Bloudy (sic) Tenent of Persecution” for that one and of course his friends Thomas Hooker and John Milton were instrumental in liberty there as well.

    30. humanpersonjr Says:
      September 30th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

      Floyd, do you disagree with the concept of religious freedom? Do you think atheists should seek happiness in another country? Sounds like someone’s got a case of the Mondays. Your religion is making you miserable again. It’s tiring, I know, trying to apologize for the untrue and the indefensible.

      Regardless of who made it possible for me to enjoy life today. I’ve got no plans to, out of gratitude, subscribe to a big load o’ BS. I can’t say whether there’s a God. I can say with a reasonable certainty that the big three monotheistic religions, as well as other demi-religions like Communism, are outright lies. They’re all based on wishful thinking and a frantic, yet doomed desire to change the very nature of humans.

    31. John Says:
      October 2nd, 2009 at 6:33 pm

      When I see atheist filmmakers have the gonads to make a big film singling out Islam for such ridicule, then I’ll be impressed. Until then this is just the same ol’ same ol’.

      #22 if I remember my South Park correctly most of us are doomed anyways because we ain’t Mormons…

    32. JudeanPeoplesFront Says:
      October 2nd, 2009 at 6:53 pm

      “# Nico Says:
      September 29th, 2009 at 4:57 pm … “Ok, I get that they don’t believe in God and all, but why do they have to be such dicks?””

      Yep - I don’t think I’ll watch this due to the mean-spiritedness and probably over-the-top smug-ass-hole-ism.

      Why has no atheist learned that proper mocking of religion may never reach the apotheosis (lol) of “The Life of Brian” precisely because the Monty Python guys were FUNNY?

      This movie sounds like a nagging from a humorless scold. No thanks.

    33. jonsy Says:
      October 2nd, 2009 at 7:11 pm

      If there is no God then there is only a human standard for truth and therefore lying is impossible as truth is simply what each individual believes truth is. Is this statement a lie or the truth, hmmmmmm, I will have to get back to you on that.

    34. JH Says:
      October 2nd, 2009 at 7:24 pm

      Again picking the easy target, go after the other religions, this is played out now. Attacking Christianity Jumped the shark.

    35. jb Says:
      October 2nd, 2009 at 7:47 pm

      I hate wading into these silly discussions between radical evangelical Christians and so-called atheists. Most times neither side knows what they mean, but they mean it passionately!

      Evangelical Christianity does not represent the Faith of the ages–it is merely Calvinism dressed in modern clothes. Of course, to the honest man–it would take a few years of study to know what I mean by that. Modern atheism is mostly 1970’s redux of the “we don’t believe in gummint because of the war in Vietnam.” Both lack serious intellectual substance. Seriously.

      Both sides likewise, and ironically, have a like belief in free will. Not in the Orthodox sense, or that of C.S. Lewis, but more that of a petulant child who stamps his foot and makes demands.

      Okay by me, I guess. While I have found “genuine” atheists to be worthy of several hours of conversation, most “atheists” are hedonists in disguise, just defending their lack of standards. To whomever reads this–you decide.

      And while I have known many genuine people of faith–and I mean a faith no atheist could shake at all, I have known as many folks to whom Jesus is a talisman, and God just the Big Guy in the Sky.

      Having actually studied both sides, and understanding what “apologetics” means, I can easily say:

      A pox on both your houses. Go learn something before you spout off like you know something. “Cause . . .

      You do not.

    36. Gazinya Says:
      October 2nd, 2009 at 8:23 pm

      Camilia Paglia is a self avowed athiest. She also says that she would defend to the death the right of a people to have their Christian God. She says that she is aware and grateful for the social and legal structure that is contained in The Bible. She agrees with the solutions to conflict that the heros or the main characters, if you prefer, that are highlighted in the Bible. She says she has seen what can happen when a people live or are oppressed by ‘if it feels good do it’ theology.

      I think where the conversation goes awry is when the word ‘religion’ conjurs up the image of a God that must be responsible for that ‘religion’ The Catholic Church is an example of a great political force but it is still just a group of people who gather and accept a form of worship. There may be damage done to others but that does not mean that the God is behind it.

      There is no religion that is preferred by Jesus or the Father. Neither is a respector of persons. But there is a way to the Father and that is only through Jesus. May you find Him now.

    37. Ilpalazzo Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 12:20 am

      I love Gervais, but I am a little bothered by the subject of this new film, especially if it’s so heavy handed and not as subtle as his previous BBC work. On a side note, what’s so bad about being misanthropic? I’m a misanthrope. I don’t trust and while I’m fascinated in human behavior, most of it isn’t very positive. So why discriminate against misanthropes and misanthropic viewpoints?

    38. Mrs. V Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 10:00 am

      Somehow I don’t see Gervais as a major cultural influence here in the States. Most people don’t recognize the name, and “Ghost Town” didn’t take in a very large audience. (I saw it, but the theater was empty.)

    39. Floyd R. Turbo Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 3:13 pm

      jb I’m not a radical and there’s not really anything wrong with believing in a few fundamentals — every one has core beliefs. Not believing in anything is itself a core belief.

      “Not wading in” is called being afraid to swim. Fear is not necessarily a virtue. I don’t claim to have all the answers.

      Humanperson… I love atheists… they add to the mix. I’m glad your here sharing in the freedoms Judeo-Christian worldview leavened with Greco-Roman ideas has helped us have here.

      If you don’t like the religious aspects of your liberty I suggest you try the current atheistic utopias that are still around or read up on former ones. I highly suggest Rummel’s “Death By Government” — well researched and documented — religion — as Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson both recognized has a at least an ameliorative affect and encourages good citizenship and individualism (Christianity — especially Protestant forms are highly individualistic despite the caricatures of Hitchens, et al.)

      Read Roger Williams and Elder John Leland (Baptist minister from Virginia who saved James Madison’s bacon) — they argued for freedom for all — in matters of conscience — unlike many of today’s “brights” — the intolerant elite (so-called). I wager I’d let you say a lot more in public than you’d allow me to say.

    40. Floyd R. Turbo Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 3:15 pm

      the suggestion to “try other places” is not an invitation to leave, but an encouragement to appreciate what we have here. I can be fully Christian here like nowhere else (so far). You can be fully atheist here — against the majority — like nowhere else. That is to be celebrated.

    41. Chris M. Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      Floyd, religious belief may well have “ameliorative effects” in certain circumstances. In fact, that’s one of the points that this movie explores rather explicitly. However, nothing about such effects makes a belief system *true*.

      Human interactions are complicated things, laden with emotion. When it comes to claims about how the universe works, though, I’ll stick to the principle that an awkward truth is a better thing than a comforting lie.

    42. Floyd R. Turbo Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 7:13 pm

      I never said “ameliorative” equals true. What difference is it to you then if I use the opiate of the masses and my kind give more to charity, overwhelmingly serve in the armed forces. etc. Enjoy the liberty… Being grateful doesn’t require conversion or faith. Just common sense and manners. A cursory look around shows all religions to not be the same… The West’ especially the U.S.A. has benefitted greatly.

    43. Morris Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 11:39 pm

      well the movie totally and completely bombed.

      1) This to me shows that the majority of Americans are not going to sit and be insulted for two and a half hours. Atheists are still a minority around the world.

      2) I find it ironic that this movie proves C.S. Lewis’ point. “those who don’t believe in God will believe anything”. This movie presents us with a fictional universe where everyone tells the truth except for the main character. He starts spouting lies about the nature of the universe and all of the godless truth tellers just buy into what he is selling.

      “Jefferson both recognized has a at least an ameliorative affect and encourages good citizenship and individualism ”

      YEP. John Adams; “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

      And from a Rabbi; “Morality without God is just an opinion”

      And it’s true, and backed up by the last century.

      EVERY National Socialist/Marxist/Communist/Fascist utopia was built on the founding principle of godlessness.

      Every single one of those “utopias” felt it in their best interest to breed out the socially unfit, and to kill off those that were unwilling to conform to their new religion.

      As the former Sociologist Michael Crichton noted; “Man is wired for religion”. If you don’t believe in God, your mind/soul will replace it with something else.

      If you don’t combine Reason/Faith as one logical cohesive unit, you will come up with the wrong conclusions.

    44. Morris Says:
      October 3rd, 2009 at 11:49 pm

      “5% that do not have this sense must find some way of justifying why they are right and everyone else”

      This is exactly what I’ve noticed about atheists as well. They constantly have to reaffirm their belief in nothing.

    45. Mr P Says:
      October 4th, 2009 at 12:40 am

      I encourage people to see the film before commenting on it. I just saw it and overall liked it. I’m non-religious, so I’m obviously inclined to agree with the critique of religion part of it, but outside of that, there are some interesting observations about our tendency to not be entirely honest and to make “lies of omission” throughout our daily lives.

      Also, I’d like to address the point made that atheists are just fundamentalists because they unconditionally accept God’s non-existence. There are some problems with this notion. Mainly, the burden of proof is on the person who makes the positive claim, not the negative. Christians (nor anyone) can disprove that Thor and Zeus exist, but I doubt they consider that a good reason to think those gods exist. Skeptics simply add Jehova to the list of gods of which there are no compelling reasons to believe in.

      Another analogy would be to arbitrarily accuse someone of being a pedophile, offer no evidence whatsoever, and then say to the accused, “Well, prove to us you don’t have pedophile-like thoughts in your head!”

    46. Morris Says:
      October 4th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      “Mainly, the burden of proof is on the person who makes the positive claim, not the negative.”

      Why? From a standpoint in the center, both are making claims that can’t be proven.

      We can’t see the wind, yet we have ways we can prove it’s existence. We can see the positive attributes left by the wind, thus can use those to prove it’s existence.

      If you argued from a negative stance, you would say that the tree is shaking from the rotation of the earth and the force of wind can’t exist because it can’t be seen.

      “Christians (nor anyone) can disprove that Thor and Zeus exist”

      Unlike the Judeo-Christian God these were clearly made by an attempt of Man to explain the ineffable feeling of God within Man’s soul.

      How do we disprove these descriptions of God? Because these _descriptions_ of God are VERY descriptive. Zeus lived on Mount Olympus, and we can go to the top of Mount Olympus and see that there is no God there.

      That is WHY God commanded the Jews to not make physical forms to represent him.

      Man needs religion. It’s programmed into us. Atheists lie to themselves every day and deny their souls.

      How do I know?

      Every (and I mean EVERY) Atheist who converts to some for of Deism or Religious belief admits that they felt like they were REPRESSING a part of themselves.

      http://www.michaelcrichton.net/speech-environmentalismaseligion.html

      Read this, Crichton is exactly right on human sociology and religion.

    47. Daveyboy Says:
      October 10th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

      I thought the movie was funny. That’s it.

      The character believes he’s lying, so why all the theology, friends? Maybe there IS a God inside the story, but Ricky’s character still THINKS it’s a lie.

      The other characters aren’t stupid; they believe whatever they’re told because NO ONE LIES in that FICTIONAL world(except Ricky, of course).

      I’d expect Christians to write stuff like “In this fictional world, they don’t know the truth about God, but one guy lies about God in a way that benefits himself and his mum”

      Some people like comedy. Some like Dawkins or the Bible instead.

    48. JohnGalt Says:
      October 11th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

      It’s about time we atheists took a more proactive approach in countering the lunacy of religion. This movie strips down that lunacy to it’s bare essence.

      People for the most part, really *do* believe a “man in the sky” is responsible for everything that happens to them. Hence, the constant prayers for parking places, a new job, a raise, a girlfriend, and on and on.

      The movie is very tame in its parody and is quite funny.

      Christians are coming to realize their place of privilege is going to disappear and your beliefs challenged, questioned and rejected.

      Christianity is such a load of nonsense, it’s LONG overdue.

      Many thanks to R. Gervais for making this film!

    49. yankeefan Says:
      October 12th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

      This from a guy who calls himself John Galt, and, one surmises, embraces the lunacy of “Atlas Shrugged.”

      I do, however, think Christians should lose their place of privilege, because the religion was never meant as a ticket to a privileged position in the first place.

    50. Matt Says:
      October 15th, 2009 at 3:28 am

      I feel I should also warn of another basic attack on Christianity and hopefully you can avoid it too…

      It’s called Science. It is of no use to anyone, and it opposes the Bible at every turn.

      I wasn’t offended when Bruce Almighty opposed MY religious beliefs.

    51. MattL Says:
      January 5th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

      I’ve just stumbled upon this article after watching the film and I can’t quite believe some of the comments.

      It’s a film. And a funny one at that. Yes, it probably does take a cheap-shot at religion in general, but seriously, why worry about it?!

      I happen to believe in a greater power, but I also understand why it’s rapidly becoming unpopular (I live in the UK, by the way). You’ve only gotta look at the TV and down your streets - the ‘odd’ people are the ones exclaiming they can suddenly walk or the sole man who stands in the street shouting that ‘you must believe’ - and you’re average Joe, or worse for the religious case, child, sees this as ridiculous - and who can blame them?!

      If you’re going to believe in something, fine - but at the end of the day nobody on either side can prove anything, so let people be and just enjoy life (which I think is the moral of the film actually).

      If there is a God and he doesn’t allow
      people into heaven because they didn’t believe in him, having been brought up in the logical and modern world we live in now, then he’s a total dick anyway.

    52. Dave C Says:
      January 23rd, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      I had no idea this movie had at it’s core the suggestion that religion could be lies made up to comfort people, but that with that comfort also comes inevitable logical inconsistencies. Had I known, I’d have watched it sooner.

      It’s a great movie way past due.

    53. Chris Says:
      March 16th, 2010 at 10:23 am

      Saw it on DVD, the minister is not wearing a cross, it is a man holding 2 pizza boxes in the shape of a cross.

    54. Sol Says:
      March 16th, 2010 at 11:25 am

      I guess I’d consider myself an agnostic - I have a “feeling” there’s more to existence than this physical reality, there almost has to be, but I certainly don’t know that, and I know it’s quite possible there is nothing. That being said, I am anti-RELIGION, and think that all of the religions I know enough about to comment on are ridiculous, childish fairy tales. So that’s the background of where I’m coming from…

      I saw this movie a few weeks ago and I thought it was good to see a film that didn’t pander to the religious for a change - that told it like us sane people see it. What I’ve seen many reviewers miss, and Kyle is no exception, is that it is clearly a criticism of atheism as well. I sure as hell didn’t see Ricky’s pre-lying/religion world as being particularly utopian - to the contrary it was quite stale and emotionless - not a sense of humour or wonder to be found. If you didn’t see Jennifer Garner’s frequent reference to looking for a “genetic match” (rather than love) as poking fun at strict Darwinian thinking, you’re clearly ignoring the fact that there are two sides to this coin.

      Just another example of how people are conditioned to see things from one partisan perspective, as opposed to recognizing that there is plurality in just about every aspect of life.

    55. Matt Says:
      June 21st, 2010 at 7:37 pm

      I just recently saw this movie (last night). I consider myself a religious person, I am a Christian and I actually thought the movie made some excellent points about the way many people both religous and non-religious do view religion.

      When Gervais talks to his friends towards the end of the movie about whether or not they are any happier since The Man in the Sky they respond pretty apathetically. They just figure that life still doesn’t really matter any more than it already did because no matter what as long as they don’t screw up three times they’ll get eternal happiness.

      The truth is, whatever Gervais’s own thoughts on the matter, the movie does point out that for many people that is exactly what God is. He’s a get of sucky life free card. I’ll just do the best I know how to, will avoid taking God and what he says seriously, you know like suffering on behalf of the poor, or being willing to actually surrender your own life for the sake of others, and oh by the way that is actually the true path to happiness according to Christ, and whatever else. Instead we just say that we believe x y and z and then just move on without ever really trying to see that God transcends all of our petty concerns even while still caring about us, a supreme paradox that I still wrestle with.

      Anyway before I keep ranting, somewhere up there I lost my train of thought, I just wanted to point out that if you really look at the movie there can be a lot more to see then Ricky Gervais making fun of Moses.

      Cheers to all and God bless. The Invention of Lying was a great movie.

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