Ricky Gervais Takes on Christianity

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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blog.beliefnet.com/idolchatter/2009/09/three-new-movies-examine-attem.html

Ricky is a very funny man and he is not alone at the practice of making fun of religion esp Christianity.Many of todays actors are making fun of religion because its an easy target esp Christianity. Curb Your Enthusiasm makes fun of Catholicism all the time.Gervais is at the top of the list however his films are seen by so few people I dont think you have much to worry about.

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Even the USCCB movie reviewers rate it “O” for morally offensive. That’s pretty damning considering it’s PG-13 rating.

My mom and sister were planning to see this movie this afternoon. I just called them after seeing the USCCB rating and told them they may want to think twice. I think “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is a better alternative. :slight_smile:

That review is a little inaccurate. SPOILERS, obviously.
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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.*

WRONG. He tells his dying mother the story about mansions and the “man in the sky.” The doctor in the hospital room overhears him, and there’s a crowd gathered outside his house the next day. It’s very similar that “It happens” line in Forest Gump where people gathered to hear what Forest Gump had to say. Same thing. Did anybody accuse Forest Gump of being blasphemous? Not exactly.

And it wasn’t “random” at all. His only purpose in telling this “lie” was to ease his mother’s pain on her deathbed.
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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. *

And, in that very same scene - after Ricky Gervais hears they’re getting upset - he tells them, “He’s always the one who makes all the good things happen in your life-!” And, some of those same people in the crowd ask, “You mean, he caused for me to get that inheritance,” and “He caused for me to be saved from that boating accident,” and other good things?" So, he was literally telling the crowd that God makes the good things happen.

Later in the movie, Gervais will be outfitted like Jesus.

Ok, now this one really confuses me because it is clearly false. No, he wasn’t “outfitted like Jesus.”** Did these people see the same movie I did?** He was more than a little unhappy that the Jennifer Garner character planned to marry the Rob Lowe character, so he (Ricky Gervais) stayed home and did nothing: when a man stays home and does nothing and doesn’t bathe or shave, that man grows a beard. (It’s what happens when you don’t shave.) And, furthermore, when he answered the door “outfitted like Jesus,” the only person to see him that way was the Jennifer Garner character - who had come to the house to invite him to her wedding. Nobody else, except for his roommate, even saw him like that, and when he (the roommate) did, he gave him a razor to shave so they could go to the wedding.

I’m not saying it’s a great movie. But, I felt someone should set the record straight because this isn’t exactly Monty Python’s Life of Brian. If these “critics” don’t like a movie, that’s their prerogative: but it’s a terrible disservice to clearly misrepresent the plot as what has been done with this movie. Nobody has pointed that it’s a “pro-marriage”/“pro-family” movie wherein he literally comments at one point, “No sex outside of marriage” (that’s a near-verbatim quote), and he passes on immoral activity: their relationship remains platonic for most of the movie. Nobody even pointed out that the several times he could have lied (spoiler: Jennifer Garner’s objection to why they couldn’t marry), he didn’t. Nor has anyone pointed out that the “centuries” as depicted in this movie could not have existed without Christianity or the Julian calendar system, which pretty contradicts the notion that this movie could, by its very own definition, even be blasphemous.

The movie felt like a “prequel” to Ghost Town, which I liked. Rather than dealing with the afterlife (would an anti-Catholic atheist have been in a movie like Ghost Town? I don’t think so), the movie deals with the human condition and our hopes and fears. It’s really unusual to see that in a movie:** It’s a “philosophical comedy.”** If you like philosophy and examining the Big Questions that the Church Fathers and Doctor of the Church studied, I think you’ll really enjoy it.

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