Imagine you’ve just bought a new jacket and you love it. You love it so much you spend considerable portions of time devoted to telling people just how much you love it and how they should get one too, just like it.
Imagine now that you’re wearing this jacket and you walk into a pub to see someone wearing the exact same one, the wearer being a complete fucking wanker of some repute. You’d start to question yourself.
If we share the same taste in outerwear, you think, does that mean we share other qualities? 'Am I also', you ponder, 'an execrable prick'?
This is how Ricky Gervais makes me feel about atheism.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting that Ricky Gervais is quite possibly the single greatest British comic mind of his generation. He created The Office, a perfect sitcom - one that’s instantly relatable and a certified classic. A piece of art. A piece of modern pop-culture history.
That all, of course, has gone to shit as Gervais’ over-exposure to his own genius has seemingly irritated any semblance of talent he once had, like a comedy Chernobyl.
Now Gervais spends all day hanging out with career racist Richard Dawkins, probably throwing darts at sputum-stained pillow with baby Jesus’ face on it. He’s now a professional pedant and pusher of his own arrogant agenda: that there is no God - nope, none - and you’re all ignorant cunts for thinking that there is, was or ever could be anything approaching a higher being. That and the fact that 'mongs' (his words, not mine) are hilarious.
Gervais feels extremely strongly about both of these things.
Imagine devoting your life to bragging about the fact you don’t believe in something.
I was like that once.
Despite being from a vaguely Christian and Jewish background and having been brought up in a vaguely Church of England school, I was at first skeptical and then adamant that there wasn’t a god and that when we die that’s it.
The main thrust of my argument for atheism was “Uh, you guys - where’s the proof? Where’s the science behind all this hypothesising?”
A particularly original argument it was not and that’s because it’s pretty hard to argue against.
I was steadfast that this was a watertight case until I started following Ricky Gervais on Twitter.
Perhaps nobody, save for the medium of print journalism, has suffered as badly as Gervais from the advent of social media - and the comic’s constant stream of belligerent bullying and condescending anti-faith agenda made me question my spiritual allegiance.
Why would I want to be part of a club like this? Especially part of a club where at the end of it, you get nothing.
I started to see the other side’s allure.
I’m still agnostic at best and still think that organised faith is too easily manipulated and can be very dangerous but sure, I get the appeal. It seems nice, all that heaven and stuff. Way better than down here, with grumpy bastards fighting over who believes in stuff less.
There are bad Christians, bad Muslims and bad members of all faiths and sure, the bad ones tend to be REALLY bad. That’s something we can all get behind - but Gervais has also shown that there are bad atheists too. Terrible ones, in fact.
Atheists who bully and belittle and ridicule and have crafted a die-hard following of people who won’t let anyone say a bad word about their leaders let alone disagree with their views.
Sounds like fanatical atheism is going the right way about summoning up a backlash. Imagine being such an awful wanker that you’ve made people believe in God.