God Collar Paperback – 23 Jun 2011
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"Perfectly structured and packed with passion, intelligence and the right kind of false-footing scepticism" (Dominic Cavendish The Telegraph)
"Religion has always been a tempting punchbag for stand-ups but agnostic Marcus Brigstocke smacks it with intelligence, cheek and a discernible degree of grace" (London is Funny)
Join Marcus Brigstocke on his hilarious, touching and futile search for faith.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's hard for none -believers to form "groups" or "committees" because nothing unites us other than our lack of faith. But for me personally, Marcus is about as close as it comes.
This book (which is loosely based on his Edingurgh Festival show of the same name - but with much more content)explains why he has no faith in terms that would feel probably familiar to many who claim to have faith.
He explains why God (I'll use a capital "G" - though I may stop doing so in the future..it's habit) is not for him, and how terrifying a literal biblical (or quran based, or tora based) god would be.
He explains why, if the Bible were to be taken literally, he would not know of one person who would qualify for eternal life at God's side. Certainly not Mother Teresa et al. Brigstocke rails at the hypocracy of "revisionism" and "believing the bits you like and ignoring the bits you don't" of each holy book - and altering those bits around as the social zeitgeist demands it. It was less than 100 years ago in most of the world when the Bible was used as a solid argument that god was FOR slavery, even now hundreds of thousands of African children are born condemned to a life (mostly without parents) and an early AIDS stricken death because the Bible condemns barrier contraception.Read more ›
However, this book was a chore to get through. It's unclear what Brigstocke was really aiming for with this meandering set of thoughts. There's no clearly discernible theme to each chapter, and the tone lurches from light whimsy to dry thoughts.
For example, one chapter, titled "Where to look for God...", discusses Brigstocke's efforts to hunt for God. No, not in any metaphorical sense, he's actually physically looking for God. On eBay, amongst other places. This allows him to shoehorn a clumsy couple of pages about the operation of the Royal Mail - amusing material, but otherwise irrelevant to a book ostensibly about religion and faith. There's another couple of pages about how Brigstocke likes to imagine iPhone users are "pleasuring gerbils" - a surreal image that pleases him sufficiently that we are presented with it on several occasions through the rest of the book.
By contrast, another chapter, "God Delusion - the modern atheist" is almost devoid of humour altogether. This section deals with Brigstocke's disappointment with the atheist movement - a group that he is often lumped in with, seemingly much to his frustration. All of which seems odd, given how many of his own observations about the unjustness and seeming irrationality of the Abrahamic God in the Koran, Torah and Bible, are remarkably familiar from other works by contemporary atheists. In an almost astonishing piece of irony, Brigstocke states that he finds Dawkins's 'The God Delusion' to be incredibly smug, an effect "enhanced by the fact that...Read more ›
The author is clearly an intelligent man, though he has some odd ideas, e.g. that the pope can talk directly to God or the urban myths about the chair in the Vatican used to check masculinity of a newly elected pope and that orthodox Jews have sex through a hole in a sheet. However, he has some pertinent things to say about gay marriage, structural sin and the radical nature of Jesus's message that the churches have sanitised.
He is also one who has been through the mill, having coped with teenage obesity, drink and drugs and he writes endearingly about parenting his son and movingly about the premature death of his best friend.
My favourite quotation seems to me very similar to Jesus's views: Life's for living. You wouldn't spend your life dressed in black tie and remaining still and spotless in your living room just in case someone was preparing a formal dinner in the other room, would you? There simply isn't time. ..... We are busy living. Bugger pleasing God, let us learn how to please each other and live well. If there's a God to be found anywhere and He had anything to do with making us, then the aim of cherishing life, learning, loving and sucking the marrow out of experience surely would please Him somewhat. Wouldn't it? (cf. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10;10)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
bought this book for the husband as a gift and he has really enjoyed reading itPublished 4 months ago by gowers
Made me laugh, made me sad.
don't agree with him in lots of places but I didn't read this as theology
Just someone being funny in areas of religion, which is generally... Read more
Had to give up on this one after not too long. I might give it another go but there are a few things ahead on the list at the moment.Published on 24 April 2014 by jcom
really enjoyed the fun and frolics in this book. made me laugh but also think. i have lent it to 3 people as i found it such a good read! some lovely thoughts. Read morePublished on 8 April 2014 by Jo C
Brigstocke may be the master of the acidic put-down but when it comes to exploring the questions of faith and belief he'd be better off staying at home. Read morePublished on 4 April 2014 by Theodore
Marcus is a genius...that is all. I have nothing further to add but Amazon insist I write more words, rhubarb.Published on 13 Mar. 2014 by DALee
Brigstocke is merciless in his scathing derision for all forms of religious belief, but exposes us to his personal struggle to find a meaning to life in the hope that there might... Read morePublished on 6 Nov. 2013 by John Lamb