Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Ricky Gervais’ The Invention of Lying: A Movie with a Secular Message

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on April 15, 2010

Movie recommendations are a tricky thing, since people’s tastes run the gamut from treacly dramas filled with platitudes to mindless action films filled with bass-rattling explosions. Still, I think I will go out on a limb and recommend Ricky Gervais’ film, The Invention of Lying. Ricky Gervais is most well known for his role in the original British version of the television show The Office. In this film, he plays a guy who lives in a world where the concept of lying does not exist. He is fortunate enough to stumble across the idea of “saying something that wasn’t,” and this eventually leads him to a tear-jerker of a scene where he lies to his mother on her deathbed by telling her there is a life after death. Since the doctor and nurses hear him, and since everyone in this world believes what they hear, Gervais’ character finds that he has amassed a huge following of people who want to know “What happens after you die.” In the following scene, one of my favorites in the film, Gervais’ character writes down his lies, places them on “tablets” and reads them to his worldwide audience. Click on the “Watch on YouTube” link to view the clip:


3 Responses to “Ricky Gervais’ The Invention of Lying: A Movie with a Secular Message”

  1. Ann said

    Don’t ask me any questions, it’s just too complex for our human minds. yadayadayada.

  2. Paulo said

    The clip is funny! I might watch the movie sometime.

  3. Ann said

    I’m in a ranting mood: Although this movie was great for a bunch of reasons, including its depiction of how beliefs can be created with no evidence whatsoever for their veracity, there was one aspect of the movie that disturbed me. What woman, in the reverse situation, would suffer to be in an unequal relationship with a man who can’t see through her lies? A little sadistic no? And, I can’t imagine, as a woman who values equality and respect, being with someone who thinks me deluded (but I don’t realize to what extent). This is clearly a stereotypical male perspective. The movie goes even further in its misogyny in its dealing with the whole ugly male being with an attractive woman who loves him for his charisma, personality, intelligence, and humor instead of his appearances. But of course. Yet, how often do women experience the reverse? This movie tries to convey that an attractive women is overcoming her desire for a good breeding male to ensure attractive kids. Women have seen through appearances for a long time now–men, as a group, still subjugate women this way without the awareness that the biology excuse is bogus and share the belief that a woman who can “put up with me” is the actual sign that a woman truly loves him. OF COURSE the woman will put up with you and love you. She’s a woman who understands that relationships that are meaningful are based not in seeing each other clearly but in understanding each other pretty completely (but what if she doesn’t understand you but think she does). A non-philosopher I like compares it to a kind of smelling of another person. Exactly I say. Good and meaningful friendships can be built on fundamental differences of perspective and understanding, but true and equal relationships between a man and woman will never blossom when there is a foundation of misunderstanding and lies.


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