Friday, August 26, 2011

Ricky Gervais To Believers: "No one has the right to never be offended".

On the cover the September _New Humanist_ magazine,  Ricky Gervais, the comedian behind the religion-mocking movie _The Invention of Lying_ is pressing on with his skeptical message, and perhaps showing off some weight loss as well.  This time his focus, as the graphic illustrates, is the persecution of atheists and the curious notion, common in believers, that they are somehow entitled to never be offended, particularly on matters of religion.  As usual, many religious people labor under a curious double standard, where they feel entirely entitled to criticize the religions of others who think differently than they do, but feel that a special exemption is in order to protect themselves from the same treatment by others.

Most people had probably never heard of Gervais before the Golden Globes where his satire was apparently a little to close for comfort for some celebrities. For those who followed Gervais's career for longer this should have been so surprise.  One only needs to look at some of his bits _Talking about the Book of Genesis_, available on youtube, to see that Gervais has never shied away from controversy.

Unfortunately, it is unlike that Gervais will have much of an impact with his recent effort.  _New Humanist_ is not a particularly well read magazine, and even his movie _The Invention of Lying_ only attracted moderate viewership.  I think Gervais is certainly onto the right approach using humor and satire to mock the sacred cows of religion.  However, I think he under-estimates the capacity of the ignorant to ignore him entirely.  That is the time-honored strategy employed by much of organized religion, especially when they are unequipped with sufficient wit to answer him barb for barb.

Thank you Ricky, for all your (Sisyphean?) efforts, though one fears that you're still carrying the water of atheists with a very leaky bucket.

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