I started watching an unexpectedly wonderful movie last night. Everybody else had gone to bed fairly early, and I found myself sitting in the lounge on my own, flicking through movies on the TV. It’s called “The Brand New Testament”. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it.
Imagine there is a god, and he’s a real person, living in a city with a family. Imagine he’s also a colossal arsehole. There’s a wonderful scene where he sits in his home office, inventing new laws – governing everything from queues you are not in moving faster, to dropped toast always landing the wrong side up – laughing at his own invention as the minor additions to the world get more and more twisted and nasty. Also imagine Jesus has left home, and is never talked about – and that he has a younger sister that has never been allowed out – except of course she does escape, and hacks her Dad’s computer before leaving – texting everybody in the world with the exact date and time of their death. Predictable mayhem ensues.
It’s perhaps the most inventive, clever, funny movie I’ve seen in some time. There are shades of the Stephen Fry interview in Ireland, where he bases his atheism on the cruel, vindictive, capriciousness of the god so many choose to believe in. There is so much dark humor in the objectionable, temper tantrum riddled monster portrayed in the movie – and an otherworldliness in the little girl that runs away – and the stories of the people she plucks at random to become apostles.
If you get the chance to watch it, do so – no matter your religious beliefs, or lack thereof. It will make you think not so much about gods, so much as the nature of religion, free will, causality, fate, and the way we interract with the world that surrounds us.