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God Collar Paperback – 23 Jun 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (23 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593067363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593067369
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

Book Description

Join Marcus Brigstocke on his hilarious, touching and futile search for faith.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Marcus Brigstocke has commented on religion before. A few years back his stand-up routine on "The Now Show" asking the followers of the three Abrahamic faiths "Not to kill us all...please" was as funny as it was thought provoking, and was one of a number of catalysts for me personally to become an Atheist (we don't have a special name for the conversion process, maybe we should)
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really like Marcus Brigstocke. So many times, listening to The Now Show has been made bearable by Brigstocke's five minutes of comedic rantings.

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...
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Having said that Christopher Hitchens was verbose, the author then spends over four pages telling us he hasn't been abused as a child, but I suppose that is how stand-ups talk. There is much serious material in this book, dealt with humorously.

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)
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