This is Marcus Brigstocke talking about his own search for God. Brigstocke is a stand-up comedian and talks quite a bit about not believing in god. In this book he talks about how even though he doesn’t believe in God he would like to, he feels like he needs god because life is heinous sometimes and it seems like people who believe in god have a better time of it. He talks about different religions, his own meetings with religion, his thoughts on how religion makes things better and makes things worse. It’s also focused around him losing his friend James to James’ shitty heart. He talks about being an addict and god being a big part of AA and NA and people getting clean. So for a while religion was a big part of his life.
I thought this was interesting. I listened to the audiobook version, which was read by Brigstocke himself, which I really liked, because I like his voice and I like when comedians read their own books. I thought he had a lot of interesting ideas, and I think he has good points.
I also realize he is preaching to the choir to me, cause I am not religious and I have what I think is a healthy scepticism to religion. I wasn’t raised religiously. I’m from Norway, most of us aren’t religious, but a lot of people in Norway go through religious rituals for traditional reasons, so baptism, confirmation and church weddings. I wasn’t baptized, I am not a member of the Norwegian church. I don’t think my mom and dad ever told me “there is no god” in those terms, but I also don’t remember ever believing in god. I find religion fascinating, because I find stories fascinating, and I like reading about how people interact, and how people, no matter where, always find something to believe in.
I do also understand Brigstocke’s desire to believe in something, because sometimes I do wish I had a god to believe in, but I just can’t. It feels like something is missing in me sometimes. I don’t need something to believe in, I’m completely comfortable with us being alone in the universe and the thought that when I die I’ll just die and that’s it. And if I’m proved wrong then that’ll be surprising, but fine. It just seems like some aspects of religion are lovely, the community, and the faith and the desire to do charity and so on.
Something Brigstocke talks a lot about is the fact that it seems like the Abrahamic religions in particular hate women. And they might say they don’t, but they do. I don’t think every individual Jewish person, Christian, or Muslim, hates women, but the religions do not like women, if they did they wouldn’t make up so many rules to keep women down and abuse them so spectacularly. He also talks about how religions seem to give power to people who use their position to abuse people less powerful than them, like the catholic priests’ widespread abuse of altar boys.
I feel like the book was a bit messy and not as structured as I would have liked. I also don’t feel like there was a lot of criticism of mainstream atheism. A lot of the “big” atheists in the mainstream often seem to treat people with religious leanings with contempt and have no interest in even talking to them and discussing with them. And while that is obviously also true for religious people that is no reason for atheists to behave the same way.
I liked this. I thought it was fun and interesting. I like Brigstocke and his voice, both his literary voice and his actual voice. I like books about religion. And while I thought it was a bit messy, I still liked it.