Open Letter #67 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, Tony Johnson “You can’t change the world but you can change yourself. I will try harder at that as well.” However, how is that possible without a spiritual conversion from above?

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After Life #1 Trailer

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After Life 2 Trailer

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On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

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If Death is the end then what is the point Kath asks below:

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Kath: You are an atheist?

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Adrian Rogers on Evolution

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Charles Darwin Autobiography

Francis Schaeffer “The Age of NONREASON”

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(Above) Tony and Anne on the bench at the graveyard where their spouses are buried.

June 23, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 


Dear Ricky,  

This is the 67th day in a row that I have written another open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes of AFTER LIFE and I also wanted to share the story of  Paul Kalanithi who died in 2015 at age 38 of cancer. I am reading his autobiography and his story of moving from atheism to becoming a Christian in the last 22 months of his life as he examined death. Author Rebecca Pippert observes, “the truth is, we arelooking for a changed heart.” Secular reason, all by itself, cannot give us a basis for “sacrifice, redemption, and forgiveness,” as Paul Kalanithi concluded in his final months.

As you know I am writing you a series of letters on Solomon’s efforts to find a meaning and purpose to life. Solomon tried to find a meaning and purpose to life UNDER THE SUN in the Book of Ecclesiastes in all of the 6 “L” words and looked into  learning(1:16-18),laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). 

Ricky Gervais plays bereaved husband Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE


In the 6th episode of season one of AFTERLIFE is this conversation: 

Tony: I like this job. I just used to better at it. I used to try harder. It is a good place to work. Even with these idiots and the little things do matter. This [crappy] little free local newspaper kills a few minutes in a good way. A smile because someone saved a blind kitten from a tree. It is not for reading. It is for being in. Everyone should be in the local paper at least once. I was here. It is sweet.

Cheers Lenny for being my human stress ball. What a good mate you are. You are brilliant Sandy. Smart and interested! Don’t ever lose that. You can do whatever you want. And Kath thank you for annoying me everyday without fail. Your banal questions they distracted me. So cheers. Cheers Matt. Thanks for never giving up. It must have been like trying to free an injured angry rat from a trap. You are doing it for its own good, but it doesn’t know that because it doesn’t trust anybody anymore so it lashes out. You can’t change the world but you can change yourself. I will try harder at that as well. I will stick around.

The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “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 matter.” Solomon and Tony both are guilty of following their own fleshly desires and it has led them to deadends in their lives. However, without God in the picture how can human behavior be altered without spiritual help?

Notice above that Tony asserts “You can’t change the world but you can change yourself. I will try harder at that as well.” However, how is that possible without a spiritual conversion from above? Below is a passage from Tim Keller that demonstrates that atheists have difficulty getting answers to the big questions of life without turning to spiritual answers!!! Tony has this same problem in AFTERLIFE!!!

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

Alison Richard Quote:

On religion: my mother grew up in the Church of England, but we went to the Presbyterian church in Bromley every Sunday; Queenswood was a Methodist school and there was chapel every morning and twice a day on Sunday; I can’t say it meant a lot to me and once I had left school I didn’t go to church again; when our son died as a baby – a cot death – it was the minister of the church in our village who comforted us and performed the burial service – his flickering of faith was important in helping me to survive that; at the time I thought that whether I believed or not there was comfort at the darkest moment in my life, and there was a familiar relationship with a church; after that we started taking our daughters, then seven and five, to church every Sunday; we wanted them to have the possibility of what had made a difference to me, should it befall them, would make a difference to them;

We see from Alison Richard’s story that even agnostics feel the need in moments of tragedy to turn to spiritual guidance when there is none to be had in the silent world of atheism that tells people the universe is uncaring.

Facing Death and Finding Forgiveness

A popular book that makes similar points is the best-selling When Breath Becomes Air, the reflections of a young neurosurgeon, now deceased, who wrote about a journey back toward faith when he was dying of cancer. Kalanithi had been an “ironclad atheist.” His primary charge against Christianity was “its failure on empirical grounds. Surely enlightened reason offered a more coherent cosmos . . . a material conception of reality, an ultimately scientific worldview.” But the problem with this whole conception became evident to him. If everything has to have a scientific explanation and proof, then this “is to banish not only God from the world but also love, hate, meaning—to consider a world that is self-evidently not the world we live in.”

All science can do, Kalanithi argues, is “reduce phenomena into manageable units.” It can make “claims about matter and energy” but about nothing else. For example, science can explain love and meaning as chemical responses in your brain that helped your ancestors survive. But if we assert, which virtually everyone does, that love, meaning, and morals do not merely feel real but actually are so—science cannot support that. So, he concluded, “scientific knowledge [is] inapplicable” to the “central aspects of human life” including hope, love, beauty, honor, suffering, and virtue.

When Kalanithi realized that there was no scientific proof for the reality of meaning and virtue, things he was sure existed, it made him rethink his whole view of life. If the premise of secularism led to conclusions he knew were not true—namely that love, meaning, and morals are illusions—then it was time to change his premise. He found it no longer unreasonable to believe in God. He came to a belief not only in God but also in “the central values of Christianity—sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness—because I found them so compelling.” Paul Kalanithi had also found that, in Habermas’s phrase, the completely secular point of view had too many things “missing” that he knew were both necessary and real.

Kalanithi refers in passing to forgiveness as one reason he left secularism behind. He does not elaborate but another account may shed light on this. Author and teacher Rebecca Pippert had the opportunity to audit some graduate-level courses at Harvard University, one of which was “Systems of Counseling.” At one point the professor presented a case study in which therapeutic methods were used to help a man uncover a deep hostility and anger toward his mother. This helped the client understand himself in new ways. Pippert then asked the professor how he would have responded if the man had asked for help to forgive her. The professor responded that forgiveness was a concept that assumed moral responsibility and many other things that scientific psychology could not speak to. “Don’t force your values . . . about forgiveness onto the patient,” he argued. When some of the students responded with dismay, the professor tried to relieve the tension with some humor. “If you guys are looking for a changed heart, I think you are looking in the wrong department.” However, as Pippert observes, “the truth is, we arelooking for a changed heart.” Secular reason, all by itself, cannot give us a basis for “sacrifice, redemption, and forgiveness,” as Paul Kalanithi concluded in his final months.

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Edward O. Wilson Quote

I enjoyed reading THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE by Dr. Wilson and here is a quote from it:

All the ideologies and religions have their own answers for the big questions, but these are usually bound as a dogma to some kind of tribe. Religions in particular feature supernatural elements that other tribes – other faiths – cannot accept … And every tribe, no matter how generous, benign, loving and charitable, nonetheless looks down on all other tribes. What’s dragging us down is religious faith.

Humans everywhere have a strong tendency to wonder about whether they’re being looked over by a god or not. Practically every person ponders whether they’re going to have another life. These are the things that unite humanity.

This transcendent searching has been hijacked by the tribal religions.So I would say that for the sake of human progress, the best thing we could possibly do would be to diminish, to the point of eliminating, religious faiths. But certainly not eliminating the natural yearnings of our species or the asking of these great questions.

“Eliminating religious faiths” is the answer? This comes back to what I have said in previous posts about atheists tackling tough issues that require spiritual answers. It reminds me of the shrink who tells Matt to just “Stop felling bad.” Spiritual conversions in the case of Christianity has had major impacts on the world. There are millions of powerful Christian conversions that have impacted the world. __What if Jesus Had Never Been Bornby D. James Kennedy This book documents the positive impact Jesus Christ and the Christian Church has made on the world in nearly every conceivable area – morality, health, sex, hospitals, art, music, charity, economics, government, science, education and the founding of America.

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I remember the day in the early 1970’s when my father got home from hearing that John “The Bull” Bramlett had come to Christ and his life had radically changed. My father had several classes with him in college and he was shocked at how mean he was. However, when Christ got a hold of he changed dramatically. His life was put into a film

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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.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

PS: What is the meaning of life? Find it in the end of the open letter I wrote to you on April 23, 2020. 

Below is the workforce of THE TAMBURY GAZETTE 

Seen below is the third episode of AFTERLIFE (season 1) when Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats to cheer him up but it turns into disaster!!!

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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)”

Mandeep Dhillon as Sandy on her first assignment in ‘After Life’. (Twitter)

A still from ‘After Life’ that captures the vibe of the Tambury Gazette. (Twitter)

Michael Scott of THE OFFICE (USA) with Ricky Gervais 

After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix)

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Psychiatrist played by Paul Kaye seen below.

The sandy beach walk

Tony Johnson with his dog Brandi seen below:

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