Netflix Series AFTER LIFE Characters Examined in Light of Book of Ecclesiastes Part 9 Mandeep Dhillon plays Sandy

MANDEEP DHILLON plays Sandy in AFTER LIFE and Ricky is assigned to train her but she finds out early on it is difficult to have a nihilist for a boss!

After Life season two Mandeep Dhillon and Ricky Gervais scene three

After Life on Netflix

In the past I have done over 100 blog posts on the Netflix series AFTER LIFE written by Ricky Gervais and staring Ricky as Tony Johnson. I respect both Ricky and his character Tony for being people who demand evidence and they refuse to accept anything with a blind faith. That is part of the reason I started writing letters to Ricky several years ago with historical evidence from archaeology and ancient cultures on the Bible’s claims. I personally think his latest series AFTER LIFE is his best by far and it does a great job of examining Ricky’s humanist worldview and the natural conclusions that come from this time plus chance view of the world.

Just like Solomon in The Book of Ecclesiastes, Ricky in AFTER LIFE is examining life under the sun, which is life between birth and death without God in the picture. The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literallymeans is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter. In fact, the phrase under the sun appears 29 times in Ecclesiastes. 

Francis Schaefer indicated Ecclesiastes is truly the book of modern man because modern humanist man’s philosophy has brought him to the nihilistic conclusion that all is vanity and meaninglessness. This appears to be the place that the atheist Tony Johnson has landedand many of the characters around Tony have come to pessimisticconclusions about life too, though they have searched for satisfactionand meaning in life by pursuing ladiesluxurieslearninglaborliquor, and laughter.

What does a person who holds to the nihilist point of view have to do with useless life but to try and distract himself?

In the first episode of season one of AFTERLIFE is the following conversation:

Matt: Tony this is Sandy’s day. Could you take her under your wing and show her what’s what?

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**t from accounts

Matt: Lenny could you do it?

Lenny: Sure.

Tony: Let me guess the bullet points: Get in and eat in front of the computer. Go to the pub and eat in front of the quiz machine. Go home and eat in front of the Television. Go to bed and I assume you eat in bed?

Lenny: There are emergency snacks around. 
(Tony gets up to leave.) Tony: Do you want anymore donuts fat boy?

Lenny: Yes please. 
Sandy: Do you mind him talking to him like that? 
Lenny: He is a mate. It distracts him.

Woody Allen asserted: 

It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.


I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknessesof his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative.

Tony’s nihilistic views are very close to those of Solomon in ECCLESIASTES. Below are comments on ECCLESIASTES from Francis Schaeffer: 

Ecclesiastes 2:14-15

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.

The Hebrew is stronger than this and it says “it happens EVEN TO ME,” Solomon on the throne, Solomon the universal man. EVEN TO ME, even to Solomon.

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.[n] 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?

What he is saying is as far as the eyes are concerned everything grinds to a stop at death.

Ecclesiastes 4:16

16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

That is true. There is no place better to feel this than here in Switzerland. You can walk over these hills and men have walked over these hills for at least 4000 years and when do you know when you have passed their graves or who cares? It doesn’t have to be 4000 years ago. Visit a cemetery and look at the tombstones from 40 years ago. Just feel it. IS THIS ALL THERE IS? You can almost see Solomon shrugging his shoulders.

Francis Schaeffer two months before he died made the following comments in Knoxville, TN in 1984 and he comments on Woody Allen:

We have many people that come to L’Abri that have thought this out to the very end properly and that is there is no meaning to life, no meaning to life, no meaning to human life. They are not wrong. They are right.

The younger generation who grab the needle and shoot it up because they can’t find any meaning to life, they are not wrong. They are right. if you take the Bible away it is not just that people are lost for eternity, but they are lost now. They have no meaning to life…. If I was talking to a gentleman I was sitting next  to on an airplane about Christ I wouldn’t necessarily start off quoting Bible verses. I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a TOTALLY SILENT  universe. 

The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life

Recently, at the Cannes Film Festival, Woody Allen was asked about what motivates him. He simply laughed and said, “Fear is what drives me.” Work, for Allen, is a wonderful distraction from the “terrible truth” – the ostensible meaninglessness of life, the apparent futility of all human endeavour, the inevitability of sickness, the unescapable prognosis of death. Film-making, like the “unnecessay, neurotic problems” dreamt up by the characters in Isaac’s short story, diverts Allen’s attention away from this reality, from the fear that presents itself when he stops to think about the fact that eventually everybody dies, “the sun burns out, and the earth is gone, and … all the stars, all the planets, the entire universe, goes, disappears.” So this fear is the reason for his prolificity, the impulse behind all of his artistic achievements. ManhattanAnnie HallHannah and Her SistersSleeper came about, first of all, as distractions, projects that prevented him from having to “sit in a chair and think about what a terrible situation all human beings are in.”

I believe there’s a lot of truth in Woody Allen’s perspective. We distract ourselves constantly, we refuse to think about the meaning of our existence, we skirt around the inevitable. Certainly – and he acknowledges this – Allen is not the first person to have hit upon this truth. It’s been recognised by thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, the Buddha and the writer of Ecclesiastes. And Allen knows, too, that one can’t live in a perpetual awareness of this fact. Such a life would be crippling torment. Indeed, it’s this very torment that Tolstoy found himself in after having realised that there was “nothing ahead other than deception of life and of happiness, and the reality of suffering and death: of complete annihilation.” After realising, in other words, the sheer absurdness of human existence, the meaninglessness of life without God. In his Confession he writes:

My life came to a standstill. I could breathe, eat, drink and sleep and I could not help breathing, eating, drinking and sleeping; but there was no life in me because I had no desires whose gratification I would have deemed it reasonable to fulfil. If I wanted something I knew in advance that whether or not I satisfied my desire nothing would come of it.

We can’t live like this, says Woody Allen. We must provide ourselves with necessary delusions in order to carry ourselves through life. He remarks that, in fact, it’s only those people whom he calls “self-deluded” that seem to find any kind of real satisfaction in living, any peace or enjoyment. These people can say, “Well, my priest, or my rabbi tells me everthing’s going to be all right,” and they find their answers in what he calls “magical solutions.” And this recourse to the “magical” he dismisses as nonsense.

It’s worth comparing Woody Allen’s pessimistic agnosticism with the utopian atheism of someone like Richard Dawkins. Evidently, the former worldview is entirely consistent with non-belief in God, but it’s not clear that the latter is. In fact, it appears unfounded, false. Dawkins removes God from the picture entirely, yet clings persistently to a belief in life’s meaning, grounding this meaning, it appears, in natural selection. There’s a contradiction here in Dawkins’ thought. On the one hand, he claims that science “can tell us why we are here, tell us the purpose of human existence,” yet, on the other, he insists on characterising natural selection itself as a blind mechanism, containing “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference.”

Whilst I myself do believe in God and don’t share Woody Allen’s agnostic belief, I can respect his consistency, his willingness to acknowledge an existence without God for what it really is: “a grim, painful, nightmarish, meaningless experience.” His worldview follows naturally from what Heidegger termed the state of human “abandonment,” the absence of God in all human affairs. Dawkins’ worldview, however, doesn’t – it’s an embarrassing mishmash of strict empricist and naturalistic belief with what really amounts to a kind of foggy mysticism, a belief system according to which human beings can create for themselves an objective purpose. What he fails to realise is that this purpose is nothing more than a delusion, a mere appearanceof purpose. 

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.

Adrian Rogers noted:

The ancients believed the earth was held up by Atlas, or resting on pillars, or even seated on the backs of elephants. But today we know the earth is suspended in space, a fact the Word of God records in Job 26:7: “He . . . hangeth the earth upon nothing.” God revealed the facts of cosmology long before man had any idea of the truth.

For centuries man believed the earth was flat, but now we know the earth is a globe. The prophet Isaiah, writing 750 years before the birth of Christ, revealed that “God sitteth upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). The word translated here as “circle” was more commonly translated “sphere.” In other words, Isaiah explained that the earth was a globe centuries before science discovered it.

When Ptolemy charted the heavens, he counted 1026 stars in the sky. But with the invention of the telescope man discovered millions and millions of stars, something that Jeremiah 33:22 revealed nearly three thousand years ago: “The host of heaven cannot be numbered.” How did these men of God know the truth of science long before the rest of the world discovered it? They were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the truth. God’s Word is not filled with errors. It is filled with facts, even scientific facts.

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