February 25th, 2008

breaking bad

Bob... shut up

People may be interested in Ricky Gervais's article on his sudden conversion to atheism at the age of eight.

There I was, happily drawing (a picture of Jesus). My big brother Bob asked, 'Why do you believe in God?' Just a simple question, but my mum panicked. 'Bob... Shut up'. Why was it a bad thing to ask? If there was a God 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 don't think for me there was a single hard edge to my loss of belief in Christianity. But like Gervais I think what led me to putting it aside was the realisation that the Christians I knew didn't really believe in it, deep down. When you asked them questions (as in the example) they were anxious and embarrassed. Bob, shut up. It wasn't a theological insight, it was a social intuition (children are good at picking up the subtext of adults' words) which I think is what Gervais is describing too.

Nowadays on the internet and in politics the embarrassment expresses itself in a more angry guise, but I think at core it comes down to 'Bob, shut up'.

I had to laugh at his conclusion:

I hope I haven't offended anyone with this article. OK, that's a lie.
breaking bad

You can't stop what's coming

I am very excited that No Country for Old Men was awarded the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay. I think it's an unusually brave choice, given that the film challenges normal audience expectations about structure and resolution.

There Will be Blood has still not been shown in the Coventry area, so I haven't any opinion about whether it was robbed, but it sounds to me like more of a conventional 'big' film, in the tradition of Citizen Kane, whereas No Country seems to start off in a new direction all of its own.