Open Letter to Ricky Gervais on our interaction today concerning NIHILISM and AFTER LIFE’s Tony

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Episode #1 of Afterlife: 

  • Tony There’s no advantage to being nice and thoughtful and caring and having integrity. It’s a disadvantage, if anything.
  • Tony Here’s what’s what humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some cunt from accounts.

Episode #4 Tony meets up with his acquaintance from work Julian who is a heroine addict and while doing drugs together this conversation happens: 

Tony: This must be a habit. You know I know how you feel.

Julian: Every minute of every day that I have my wits all I can think about is getting some [drugs] before I become too conscious…I am already dead inside. I am still in the worst kind of pain. 

Tony: I still can not believe we have so much in common.

Julian: We don’t have anything in common! 

Tony: Why do you say that?

Julian: The big difference is you haven’t given up yet, have you? Me I would quite happily die right now. If I had enough money I would take as much drugs as I possibly could. 

Tony gives Julian lots of money and says “Don’t waste it on food.”

The last scene of episode 5 is Julian injecting an overdose of heroine into his arm and then dying as the song “Youth” by the musical group DAUGHTER sings the words: 

Shadows settle on the place, that you left
Our minds are troubled by the emptiness
Destroy the middle, it’s a waste of time
From the perfect start to the finish lineAnd if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones
‘Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs
Setting fire to our insides for fun

Then in episode 5 there is discussion between Tony and brother-in-law Matt when Tony admits at first that he helped Julian get the overdose on purpose but then he backtracks when Matt threatens to keep Tony’s ten year old nephew from seeing him again: 

Tony: Julian was a heroine addict. That is what he did and it was what he wanted. 

Matt: Tell me that you didn’t know that he was gonna kill himself or I am not gonna let you see George again. 

Tony: I didn’t know. Obviously not. 

Matt: Okay you didn’t know.

In the third episode of AFTERLIFE Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats and this is what happens:

The comedian is getting huge laughs but Tony never laughs.

Comedian: You are a wonderful crowd. I am glad you are a wonderful crowd. I have had some bad news this week. Friend of mine actually committed suicide last week. He went upstairs and swallowed everything in the bathroom cabinet and choked on a tampon. (Crowd laughs heartily.) This guy in front row absolutely hated that joke. Cheer up mate! What is your name and what is your story?

Tony: My name is Tony. My wife died early this year with breast cancer and it broke me. Not a day goes by that I didn’t think of killing myself. I just don’t see any point in living.

Comedian: (Long pause of silence.) 

Tony and his wife Lisa who died 6 months ago of cancer


After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix) Roisin Conaty on the left in above picture with the cigarette plays Daphne the sex worker. 

In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Tony quotes from AFTERLIFE:  

I guess a good day is when I don’t go around, wanting to shoot random strangers in the face and then turn the gun to myself.

“Here’s what’s what: humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some c*** from accounts.”

April 18, 2020, Saturday

Ricky Gervais

Dear Ricky,

I have been a big fan of yours for 20 years now and I have taken an interest especially in your philosophical views concerning atheism and your attacks on Christianity, and since 2016 I have written you 9 letters basically concerning the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of nihilism. Then I ran across your series AFTER LIFE and Tony reminded me so much of Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes and the nihilism that Solomon embraced.

Today, Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask you on your Twitter Live broadcast “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark you answer my question with the following comments:

Not, I mean he [Tony] dabbles with it [nihilism] but a lot of this stuff is like he is being provocative and he is trying to sort of hurt people. No, It is difficult to say. I don’t. The one thing he wants he can’t have so he is angry. He has to compromise. He had the perfect marriage and he doesn’t know how to act or feel anymore. He is confused. He is in pain. He is ill. He is probably ill you know. If you are not right in your [mind] then you are ill, and you can’t just step out of it. You know. You even know you are not normal or well, but what can you do? You don’t feel good. That will do. Did we get serious then? That won’t happen again!

It seems to me that you would classify Tony as angry and confused but not a nihilist. You are the writer so you should know, but let me ask you if you can philosophically back up the view that Tony is not living the life of a nihilist (one who does think there are no rules for his life and no purpose for his life and no basis for morality).

As a member of the British Humanist Association you are familiar with the view of optimistic humanism. Let me share some views on that:

Paul Kurtz – (writer of Humanist Manifesto 2 in 1973 and Dr. Kurtz was a very kind gentleman who took time to correspond with me.)

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“The universe is neutral, indifferent to man’s existential yearnings. But we instinctively discover life, experience its throb, its excitement, its attraction. Life is here to be lived, enjoyed, suffered, and endured…Again–one cannot ‘prove’ this normative principle to everyone’s satisfaction. Living beings tend instinctively to maintain themselves and to reproduce beyond ultimate justification. It is a brute fact of our contingent natures; It is an instinctive desire to live.”

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J.P. Moreland – “2 Objections to optimistic humanism: #1 There is no rational justification for choosing it over nihilism. As far as rationality is concerned, it has nothing to offer over nihilism. Therefore, optimistic humanism suffers from some of the same objections we raised against nihilism. Kurtz himself admits that the ultimate values of humanism are incapable of rational justification!!!!!!  #2 Optimistic Humanism really answers the question of the meaning of life in the negative, just as nihilism does. For the optimistic humanist life has no objective value or purpose; It offers only subjective satisfaction, one should think long and hard before embracing such a horrible view. If there is a decent case that life has objective value and purpose, then such a case should be given as good a hearing as possible.  

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R.C. Sproul:Nihilism has two traditional enemies–Theism and Naive Humanism. The theist contradicts the nihilist because the existence of God guarantees that ultimate meaning and significance of personal life and history. Naive Humanism is considered naive by the nihilist because it rhapsodizes–with no rational foundation–the dignity and significance of human life. The humanist declares that man is a cosmic accident whose origin was fortuitous and entrenched in meaningless insignificance. Yet in between the humanist mindlessly crusades for, defends, and celebrates the chimera of human dignity…Herein is the dilemma: Nihilism declares that nothing really matters ultimately…In my judgment, no philosophical treatise has ever surpassed or equaled the penetrating analysis of the ultimate question of meaning versus vanity that is found in the Book of Ecclesiastes

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The humanist H. J. Blackham was the founder of the British Humanist Association and he asserted: On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967). Francis Schaeffer comments concerning Blackham’s assertion, “One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has exited forever and in ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form.”


The 5 Conclusions of Humanism according to King Solomon of Israel in the Book of Ecclesiastes!!!!!

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The Humanistic world view tells us there is no afterlife and all we have is this life “under the sun.” 

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Francis Schaeffer (Christian Philosopher) notes Solomon limits himself to “under the sun” – In other words the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death. It is indeed the book of modern man. Solomon is the universal man with unlimited resources who says let us see where I go. Ravi Zacharias 

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“The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus us (Matter)”

1st Conclusion: Nothing in life truly satisfies and that includes wisdom, great works and pleasure. A) Will wisdom satisfy someone under the sun? We know it is good in its proper place. T

But what did Solomon find out about wisdom “under the sun”? Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 (Living Bible): I said to myself, ‘Look, I am better educated than any of the kings before me in Jerusalem. I have greater wisdom and knowledge.’So I worked hard to be wise instead of foolish[c]—but now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the more my wisdom, the more my grief; to increase knowledge only increases distress.” (That is NIHILISM!!!!)

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KJV and Living Bible Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 8, 10, 11: I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly,And then there were my many beautiful concubines.10 Anything I wanted I took and did not restrain myself from any joy…11 But as I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere…


2nd Conclusion: Power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced!!!!!Ecclesiastes 4:1 (King James Version): So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 7:15 (King James Version) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.If you are a humanist you must admit that men like Hitler will not be punished in the afterlife because you deny there is an afterlife? Right?

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3rd Conclusion – Death is the great equalizer. Just as the beasts will not be remembered so ultimately brilliant men will not be remembered. Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go unto one place; All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Here Solomon comes to the same point that Kerry Livgren came to in January of 1978 when he wrote the hit song DUST IN THE WIND. Can you refute the nihilistic claims of this song within the humanistic world view? Solomon couldn’t but maybe you can.

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4th Conclusion – Chance and time plus matter (us) has determined the past and it will determine the future.By the way, what are the ingredients that make evolution work? George Wald – “Time is the Hero.”

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 Jacques Monod – “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.” 

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 I can not think of a better illustration of this in action than the movie ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute. On May 4, 1994 I watched the movie for the first time and again I thought of the humanist who believes that history is not heading somewhere with a purpose but is guided by pure chance, absolutely free but blind. I thought of the passage Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

5th Conclusion – Life is just a series ofcontinual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16). 


I first starting studying Ecclesiastes in 1976 when I heard Adrian Rogers give a sermon on the nihilism of King Solomon. These facts in Ecclesiastes inspired the author of the song DUST IN THE WIND. Kerry Livgren of KANSAS, who wrote the song noted, “I happened to be reading a book of American Indian poetry and somewhere in it I came across the line, ‘We’re just dust in the wind.’ I remembered in the BOOK of ECCLESIASTES  where it said, ‘All is vanity,’ ” Livgren said of the passage that it reminds man he came from dust and will return to dust.

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I remember a visit in 1976 that Adrian Rogers made to our Junior High Chapel service at EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, and it was that day that I personally began a lifelong interest in King Solomon’s life, and his search for satisfaction as pictured in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

(Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope in back)

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Solomon was searching for meaning and satisfaction in life in what Rogers called the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into Learning (1:16-18), Laughter, Ladies, Luxuries, and Liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and Labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Ecclesiastes 2:8-10The Message (MSG)

I piled up silver and gold,
loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

(Edward John Poynter Painting  below of Solomon)

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Francis Schaeffer observed concerning Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.”

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King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11 sums up his search for meaning with these words, “…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

After hearing the sermon by Adrian Rogers in 1976, I took a special interest in the Book of Ecclesiastes and then the next year I bought the album POINT OF KNOW RETURN by the group rock group KANSAS. On that album was the song “Dust in the Wind”  and it rose to #6 on the charts in 1978. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of KANSAS become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.


(That is the same reason I am excited about Ricky’s series AFTER LIFE!!!)

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Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more. I was hoping the members of KANSAS would keep looking for something more than just material pursuits UNDER THE SUN.

Livgren wrote:

“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of KANSAS became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture.  
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

Under the point THE PROPHETIC WITNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES Adrian Rogers talks about Psalm 22:

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The Amazing Prophecy of the Cross

Psalm 22 is an incredible chapter. Perhaps more than any other chapter in the Bible, you cannot read it and come away not loving the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Turn to Psalm 22. Just below the name of a psalm, often the name of the one who wrote it is given. Who is the human author of Psalm 22?

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, almost half (73) of the Bible’s 150 psalms were written by King David.

One thousand years before Jesus Christ, David prophetically foretold His crucifixion.

Since crucifixion was a Roman, not Jewish, form of execution, how is that possible?  Crucifixion was completely unknown to the Jewish culture. It would be another 800 years before crucifixion came into the Jewish world. But here we find by divine inspiration a portrait of the cross.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

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Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002 everettehatcher@gmail.com

PS: Below are links to the previous 16 blog posts I did on AFTER LIFE and summaries of them.

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

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Summaries of previous blog posts on AFTER LIFE:

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

If a person lives life UNDER THE SUN (phrase used 29 times in Book of Ecclesiastes) as if there is no God then it makes sense that the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest is the rule of the day and there is no afterlife where people will be judged by God. Therefore, lying is not looked down upon by Tony in episode 5 when he lies in order to not be punished by his boss Matt.

No wonder in episode 1 we hear these words from Tony: “There’s no advantage to being nice and thoughtful and caring and having integrity. It’s a disadvantage, if anything.”

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

In my first letter to Ricky Gervais on April 4, 2016 I asked Ricky to take 90 minutes and watch the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors because that movie challenges the idea that in a Godless universe there is an argument against Might makes Right! (Greg Koukl also makes that same argument below in this post).  I also mentioned the Book of Ecclesiastes to Ricky and pointed out the idea that life is ultimately meaningless if there was no afterlife. T.

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 3 “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Daphne who is a good friend of Tony asserted,  Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people… sometimes it’s just no one’s fault.

Episode # 2 of AFTERLIFE:

Below is a discussion between Tony and his ten year old nephew George concerning the passing of Tony’s wife Lisa.

George: Daddy says you are sad since  Aunt Lisa died.

Tony: Yep.

George: I am sad too. I dream about her sometime.

Tony: Me too.

George: Why didn’t the doctors make her better?

Tony: They tried.

George: Why didn’t Jesus save her?

Tony: Because Jesus is a &@$@$&! Don’t tell your Mum and Dad I said that.

George: I won’t.

On Twitter on May 23, 2013 Ricky Gervais wrote:

God doesn’t prevent terrible things because: A) He can’t B) He doesn’t want to C) He causes them D) He doesn’t exist PLEASE VOTE NOW.


3,000 years ago Solomon looked at the issue of the existence of pain and suffering in his Book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 4:1

 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

Francis Schaeffer: Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.

Ecclesiastes 7:15

15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 8:14

14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

Francis Schaeffer: We could say it in 20th century language, “The books are not balanced in this life.”

Francis Schaeffer: There is only one reason that viewing life UNDER THE SUN from birth to death causes despair and that is because we live in an abnormal world [since the fall in Genesis 3 when sin entered the world because of rebellion].

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 4, Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”


Francis Schaeffer
 comments on the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of death:

Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Chance rules. If a man starts out only from himself and works outward it must eventually if he is consistent seem so that only chance rules and naturally in such a setting you can not expect him to have anything else but finally a hate of life.

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18a

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun…

That first great cry “So I hated life.” Naturally if you hate life you long for death and you find him saying this in Ecclesiastes 4:2-3:

And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are doneunder the sun.


AFTERLIFE episode #1:

  • Tony Here’s what’s what humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some cunt from accounts.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 5 “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”


In the series AFTERLIFE you can obviously see how well read Ricky Gervais is and like many atheists it is obvious that Richard Dawkins is one of his heroes.

I am not an atheist but I have read about a dozen of Dawkins books also. Dawkins’ favorite book in the Bible is Ecclesiastes because of the poetry found in the King James Version and not the spiritual lessons.

Solomon was searching  for meaning in life in what I call the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into LEARNING (1:12-18, 2:12-17), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-2, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Here is his final conclusion concerning LEARNING:

ECCLESIASTES 1:12-18, 2:12-17 LEARNING

12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done UNDER THE SUN, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

18For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

12So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool!1So I hated life, because what is done UNDER THE SUN was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

I watched a replay of Ricky Gervais of his March 28th Twitter Live and he said he doesn’t read a lot of fiction but just mainly books on science and philosophy. This is evident in his dialogue in AFTERLIFE:

You can believe in an afterlife if that makes you feel better, doesn’t mean it’s true, but once you realise you’re not going to be around forever, that’s what makes life so magical…. That’s why you should treasure the few years you’ve got because that’s all there is.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

I recently watched the replay of the March 25th Twitter Live broadcast by Ricky Gervais and he opened it with the song “Jesus take the wheel” sung by Carrie Underwood. I must say that I have been amazed at the music in the series AFTERLIFE. It is outstanding and the themes of the songs fit the scenes in a special way.

Solomon had it all and especially gold but he said all the fame and fortune is vanity and a chasing of the wind because it will NOT bring satisfaction or even last.

Back in 2001 our friend David Hodges was in a struggling rock band named EVANESCENCE in Little Rock but then they hit it big. Not only did Evanescence sell 20 million records but afterwards David wrote #1 smash singles: Kelly Clarkson’s“Because of You,” Daughtry’s “What About Now,” Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” and many others. My personal favorite is A THOUSAND YEARS sung by Christina Perri. 

In October of 2016 David Hodges spoke to a meeting I attended in Little Rock. He said the 15 years he lived in Los Angeles had taught him a lot of lessons and the MOST IMPORTANT is the lesson from the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES that TRUE JOY and HAPPINESS does not come from MONEY and POSSESSIONS.

Solomon was searching for meaning in life in what I call the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). After searching  in area of luxuries Solomon found  them to be  “vanity and a striving after the wind.”

Ecclesiastes 2:7-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

7I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem…10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained UNDER THE SUN.

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36 (Christ’s words)

God put Solomon’s story in Ecclesiastes in the Bible with the sole purpose of telling people like you that without God in the picture you  will find out the emptiness one feels when possessions are trying to fill the void that God can only fill.

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 7, My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

In the April 2nd Twitter Live broadcast Ricky Gervais said in a humorous way that one day some kid will find a DVD of his movie “Ghost town” and the kid will ask his father what is a DVD and who was Ricky Gervais? Ricky commented, “Sad isn’t it.”

Yes it is sad if you are looking at things at a secular perspective UNDER THE SUN like Solomon was in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 2:18-20

18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

Francis Schaeffer: He looked at the works of his hands, great and multiplied by his wealth and his position and he shrugged his shoulders

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 8, Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

In episode 1 of AFTERLIFE Tony’s late wife Lisa tells Tony, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run.”

Francis Schaeffer discusses the views of Solomon on drinking:

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with winewhile my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaventhe few years of their lives.

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 9, I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

In the third episode of AFTERLIFE Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats and this is what happens:

The comedian is getting huge laughs but Tony never laughs.

Comedian: You are a wonderful crowd. I am glad you are a wonderful crowd. I have had some bad news this week. Friend of mine actually committed suicide last week. He went upstairs and swallowed everything in the bathroom cabinet and choked on a tampon. (Crowd laughs heartily.) This guy in front row absolutely hated that joke. Cheer up mate! What is your name and what is your story?

Tony: My name is Tony. My wife died early this year with breast cancer and it broke me. Not a day goes by that I didn’t think of killing myself. I just don’t see any point in living.

Comedian: (Long pause of silence.) Umbrellas are weird aren’t they?…

Probing the area of LAUGHTER was one of Solomon’s first places to start. In Ecclesiastes 2:2 he starts this quest but he concludes it is not productive to be laughing the whole time and not considering the serious issues of life. “I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” (2:2).   Then Solomon  asserted the nihilistic statement in Ecclesiastes 2:17: “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 10, “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

In AFTERLIFE Tony has a warm friendship with the sex worker Daphne (Roisin Conaty) and when he hires her she comes over and he asks her to clean up his kitchen. When Daphne asked if Tony wanted anything sexual he said no. That is when their friendship seemed to deepen. Tony lost a wonderful wife and he passed on a chance for sex without a relationship. Solomon found out long ago that path is just a deadend.

“I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 11 “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

In his review of AFTERLIFE Ben Sherlock notes:

When we experience the darkest moments in our lives, it can seem like things will always be that bad and it’ll never get better. So, we have to just hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

This is what keeps Tony going throughout the six initial episodes of After Life. He holds out hope that he’ll be able to move on from losing the person he cared about the most in the world and get his life back on track. All he has is hope and he holds onto it for dear life. In many ways, hope really is everything.

Can Ricky pull off restoring hope into life with his Humanist point of view?

“If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer in THE GOD WHO IS THERE)

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 12, Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Tony in the film AFTERLIFE keeps thinking about the good ole days with his soulmate and thinks that everything was great then when it wasn’t. Wade Wainio makes this observation in the following article:

There are, however, signs that Tony was disappointed in life even before Lisa’s death. He hates his job at the Tambury Gazette, saying it’s not journalism. He decries what he considers the awful future of online publishing, including click-bait and angry fools in article comment sections.

How does Tony in AFTERLIFE or Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes get peace in their lives?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?

Dan Jarrell commented on this passage in Ecclesiastes:

Either way you translate it, it says nothing is so good for us other than a satisfied life but nothing is as impossible for us because it is not in us to be satisfied for who can eat and enjoy life without him?  The answer is NOBODY CAN!!!! So you come down to the idea that if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION. That is my sermon in a nutshell. That is the conclusion. 

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 13 “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Solomon realizes that the earth and moon will go on existing when we are no more and that really we have no advantage over the animals in that respect that we both die. It is ironic that Tony is saved by an animal.

”KING SOLOMON: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11;3:18-19 (Living Bible): 2 In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. 3-7 For what does a man get for all his hard work?Generations come and go, but it makes no difference.[b] The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere.* The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea . .everything is unutterably weary and tiresome. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself…For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of Book of Ecclesiastes Part 14 “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Tony: “Here’s what’s what: humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some c*** from accounts.”

Bertrand Russell – “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Tony is an atheist and has a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest Tony because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect Tony.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” 

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Tony quotes from AFTERLIFE:  

I guess a good day is when I don’t go around, wanting to shoot random strangers in the face and then turn the gun to myself.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 16 Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Tony hates life and longs for death but he still has a fear of death.

Francis Schaeffer, “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16).”

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Comments

  • Ben Morgan  On April 19, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Really well done and thorough! An excellent read that sheds new insight on the great book Ecclesiastes. Makes me want to go back and reread actually!

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