Is Ricky Gervais’ new film really atheist propaganda?

The new film from NSS honorary associate Ricky Gervais, The Invention of Lying, has been accused of being little more than atheist propaganda.

Ricky Gervais

The film is set in a world where there is no lying, until the character played by Ricky Gervais tells his dying mother that she will go to heaven and be with the angels, thereby inventing religion. Before that, because everyone told the total truth, religion could not exist.

According to Adam Markovitz, in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, Ricky Gervais has “carefully concealed the atheistic subject matter of the movie” in the promotional material. He explained that in the film “The people...have no concept of heaven, faith or God – until Gervais’ character fabricates ‘the man in the sky’ to placate them.”

Markovitz observed, “What you don’t know — thanks to a carefully crafted marketing campaign — is the movie’s actual subject: religion.” The EW article quotes Gervais, who is himself a non-believer, insisting that the film is “not atheist propaganda.” However, the comedian also added that Invention of Lying “shouldn’t affect [believers] or their God. From what I’ve heard of God, he’s tough.”

Invention Of Lying

Read the Guardian’s review of The Invention of Lying