Tag Archive for 'christmas'

A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist

A friend shared this essay with me on Facebook, and I found it pretty interesting.

As a biographical account of how he became an atheist, it sums up some of the most common arguments for disbelief.

A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist

(…)

I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is.

I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.

I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a laborer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing on the cross.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God -– what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-­?fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-­?fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But anyway, there I was happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said in a tone that I knew meant, “Shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

(continues…)

Keep reading on The Wall Street Journal »

Better thank your lucky stars!

I’m going to start by saying I’m not a big fan of astrology, or in Sheldon Cooper’s words: “the mass cultural delusion that the sun’s apparent position relevant to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth somehow affects your personality.”

I don’t really think my dad believes in astrology, but there he is every week sending me whatever the astrologist from the Village Voice says about my sign. He justifies this weekly ritual by saying that even though he doesn’t really believe in it, the way this guy predicts your future through astrology is somewhat ‘cool’… And I have to agree.

So enough introduction, this is the astrological prediction for my future according to my sign:

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] According to John Gardner, there are two kinds of stories in literature: 1) You go on a journey; and 2) A stranger arrives in your world. According to my analysis of your destiny in 2009, you will reap rich rewards by including both plotlines in your life story. So let the brainstorming begin: What’s the best journey you could choose for yourself—a journey that will educate, challenge, and delight you? And what can you do to attract the best kinds of strangers into your world—strangers who will educate, challenge, and delight you?

Now I know that this year I will have to go and finally meet with all the people I met through the years via Internet… A long journey awaits for me. And for the strangers part… I guess I’ll have to finally get off my ass and join the circus, I bet I’m going to find so many strangers there or maybe… Maybe just strange people.

Oh! It’s Christmas Eve so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and ‘one of those hangovers‘, like my friend Lindsay Lohan would say.

Now that last sentence gave me an idea…

Continue reading ‘Better thank your lucky stars!’