Posted by: martinworster | December 9, 2011

132. THANK YOU GOD FOR MAKING ME AN ATHEIST

I see that Ricky Gervais has been asked back to host the Golden Globes for the second year running, despite the controversies of last year. I think this is great. His style of in your face piss taking is just what this country needs. Plus, I have to say his closing line to last year’s show – ‘I’d like to thank god for making me an atheist‘ – has to be one of the best comic lines to have ever have been delivered in the US.

Ricky’s always been outspoken about his atheism. In the US where the religious right currently holds the moral majority in most matters of public life, atheism is much less accepted or talked about. I’d wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s taboo – it’s just less common and hence less spoken of in the public forum.

So for me, as an atheist living in the US I find his chutzpah and honesty very invigorating and it makes me feel less isolated knowing that others think as I do. Apart from being a perfect epigram it’s also – obviously – taking the mickey out of the penchant for artists (musicians, actors, even sports stars) when accepting awards here to thank God at the end. They thank their family, friends, managers, fans and then at the end – and most importantly – they thank the Lord who obviously made it all happen for them via his benevolent munificence. Abracadabra.

I always found this slightly irritating. Even if there was an omniscient creator upstairs who controlled everything – every event, situation, feeling, war, famine, mishap, EVERYTHING THAT EVER HAPPENED OR WILL HAPPEN EVEN ALL YOUR THOUGHTS – with an ability to simultaneously process billions and billions of things and thoughts every milli-second from every believer on the planet. And every non-believer come to think of it. Shit. Do you think he would have the time or inclination to make sure he made it happen for Taylor Swift in the Best Newcomer category at the Country And Music Awards?

Yes, he might be – both benevolently and malevolently – spreading AIDs to sinners, wreaking havoc via tsunamis, making sure this year’s harvest is a good one, saving lives in earthquakes and stopping illnesses in the faithful. But he’s still got time to make it happen for Kanye West in the Best Video Category at the MTV Awards?

It’s ridiculous if you think it through? It wouldn’t be so bad if this thanking God act was an automatic turn of phrase, an instinctive reaction like saying ‘Oh Jesus‘ when you hear bad news or stub your toe. But no, these people genuinely believe that God personally took the time out to made it happen for them. Man. I don’t know. I hate to ridicule and maybe come across as disrespectful but, surely, if you think it through?

I’d like to thank God for making me an atheist. I’d also like to thank God for inviting Ricky back for another round this year.

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