Friday, October 29, 2010

St. Lewis of Black

I've read some of the works of evangelical atheists, so I thought I knew what to expect when I was handed Me of Little Faith, a book on religion by avowed atheist Lewis Black. I was wrong.

Not entirely wrong. I expected funny, I got funny. I expected it to be witty, to use humor to cast a harsh light on some of the more ridiculous aspects of organized religion, and I got that. I expected a classic Lewis Black angry rant or two, and I expected the book to be profane and irreverent. Naturally.

I also expected it to take cheap shots at faith. I expected smug arrogance, like I've heard from Bill Mahr. I expected weak straw man (straw God?) arguments like I've read in Christopher Hitchens. I expected to see the inane “how can you believe in a big buddy in the sky” sort of junk that passes for reason I've seen way too often.

I didn't expect thoughtfulness. I didn't expect self-doubt, which is usually lacking in evangelical atheists and their equally fanatical counterparts, religious zealots. I didn't expect respect for people of faith. But that's what I got.

So forgive me Lewis Black. I should have had more faith in you.

Me of Little Faith is a funny, occasionally laugh out loud funny, collection of very short essays, mostly on the subject of religion. Some are clever, some are terrific, some are just a passing thought on paper. It includes a play that Black wrote a few years ago that he admits the critics didn't like, and I'm afraid I'm with the critics. And near the end it includes Black's idea for a new religion. One based on the idea that God, whatever He may be, wants you to laugh.

In that, I think I think I am luckier than the famously disgruntled comedian. I actually believe in that God already. Isn't that funny?

1 comment:

Pat Tillett said...

What no ranting?
I've never heard of this book! I love Lewis Black, and thanks to your review, I'm going to get it...