Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Me of Little Faith - A Review

Me of Little Faith
Author: Lewis Black
Publisher: the Penguin Group
Released: 2008

    In the politically correct world it is not polite to bring up politics or religion in conversation. It should come as no surprise then that comedians who go against that rule of thumb are often the most critically acclaimed and disliked. There is an instant shock value when these topics are brought up, which leads me to "Me of Little Faith" by Lewis Black.

    When I picked up this book I was expecting a highly critical look at religion and faith systems similar to Bill Maher’s documentary "Religulous". What I found was an incredibly even keeled and balanced view of a variety of religions and beliefs. This caught me off guard, and I believe the sheer shock of it lead me to having a hard time diving into the book the way I do so often with books by comedians. However once I realized the angle that Lewis was taking (although it did take me a couple of chapters to alter my view) the book became an enjoyable read.

    I learned a few things about Lewis by the end, for instance did you know he was a graduate of the Yale School of Drama? This knowledge alone explains why Lewis's humour is so well crafted and executed. It also makes his use of "vulgar" or "obscene" language even more comical to me because here is a man who could battle wits and educational pedigrees with anyone but chooses to work in the venue of comedy. I also learned that his belief system is essentially what I believe to be a growing group in today's society. That is those who believe in a higher power but are not convinced that any of the current religions or gods are the real deal.

    In "Me of Little Faith" Lewis describes his run-ins with religion. From Judaism to a psychic friend everything gets discussed except Islam which he mentions but does not dive into. I have debated in my own mind whether or not I find this cowardly and to be honest after much thought I still don't know. However his earnest opinions regarding religion are refreshing considering whenever the topic is generally brought up people take "matter of fact" type views.

    There are two real highlights from "Me of Little Faith": one is the chapter "Virtual Reality" where Lewis discusses a theory that our reality is possibly just a computer simulation. Secondly the chapter “God Knows Funny” where Lewis talks about the power of laughter in religious sense, its poetic and thoughtful and as a separate entity is worthy of publishing alone or being expounded upon into its own book. It's unfortunate in some ways that this was the last chapter as it felt like it took me so long to get to the heart of the book, if this chapter had been a "preface" for example I  believe it may have set the tone better.

    In the end I liked this book. It may not have been what I was expecting but was definitely worth my time and money. If you’re open minded enough, pick it up. If your closed minded, how the hell did you stumble across this website?

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