Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
Lying in the Bible
About the Ten Commandments
Have you kept each of the Ten Commandments? Are you good enough to go to Heaven? Answer
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
Was Jesus Christ only a legend? Answer
Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God? Answer
If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer
Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
What does God say? Answer
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
Should Christians be involved with lotteries or other forms of gambling? Answer
What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
J See all »
|Director:||Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson|
|Producer:||Lin Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Media Rights Capital, Radar Pictures, Wintergreen Productions, See all »|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema|
“In a world where EVERYONE can only tell the TRUTH… this guy can LIE.”
Under the ruse of a romantic comedy, “The Invention of Lying” is actually a religious satire that specifically attacks Christians and our belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Before this movie, I was not familiar with the lead actor Ricky Gervais. However, after seeing that he is credited as one of the writers, I immediately assumed that he’s an atheist. After a brief research, he is, indeed, an outspoken one who sadly lost his faith at the tender age of 8.
Set in an alternate reality, Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is an unsuccessful screenwriter. In his world, only honesty exists. People say what is on their mind truthfully and uncensored. While in real-life society, honesty is often respected; people of this world seemingly prefer to share only the ugly truth with one another. Getting fired from his job, his despair deepens when his love for Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner) is unreturned.
Down and out, Mark goes to the bank to withdraw his last remaining $300. During the money exchange, something goes off in his head, and he does something no one else in his world has ever done before: lie. He then proceeds to tell the clerk that his account actually has $800.00. And since no one in this alternate reality knows what lying is, they automatically believe whatever Mark says without any doubt.
Later on, his mother is on her deathbed, and she shares with Mark that she is scared of death and its eternity of nothingness. Not wanting to see his mom so hopeless, Mark proceeds to make up a story about how after death, one will go to their favorite place in the world, have their own mansion, and reunite with old family members.
The word quickly spreads of Mark’s knowledge of the afterlife and thousands stake out his apartment, desperate for more information. Stuck in his own lie, he has a Moses-like moment and creates 10 commandments about a “man in the sky” who controls everything and everyone. While the public has their own questions, they completely accept Mark’s few absurd answers and change the way they live their lives. Mark then becomes a rich and powerful man, since he’s believed to be the only direct connection to the “Man in the Sky.”
If based on plot alone, the story is rather weak and slow moving. However, the romance is portrayed sweetly. Mark never lies to Anna, even though doing so would help him win her over. As a satire, it’s rather indecisive and deceptive, hiding behind the premise of a romantic comedy. It finally reveals its true motive about halfway through the movie. While the attack is sometimes subtle and other times outright, Gervais isn’t soft spoken when it comes to vocalizing his own personal opinions about Christianity. After viewing a few video clips of his religious discussions, I noticed that Ricky Gervais would sometimes range from being profane to sounding somewhat hurtful as he discussed his atheism.
Does God really exist? How can we know? If God made everything, who made God? Answer
In past interviews, he has stated that he lost his faith in Jesus when he was 8 years old. His older brother asked him if he really believed in God. When his mother immediately cut off his brother from continuing the discussion, Gervais states that is when he knew Jesus was not real. He has also called Jesus an “unpaid babysitter,” since parents will often use the name of Jesus when they want their kids to remain on their best behavior.
If this is truly the sole reason for his ceasing to believe, he must have felt a deep sense of betrayal. Children are very impressionable. This is why Jesus gave a stern warning to any who might falsely lead children who rightfully believe in Him. In Matthew 18:6, Jesus said:
“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
I remember growing up in a very nonreligious home. My father would often use the “Jesus” card whenever he wanted things done his way, even though he did not believe in Jesus himself. Likewise, if Jesus is merely used as a warning device or “babysitter” as Gervais states, it would certainly be easy to persuade children of not believing in Christ since there is no firm foundation of knowledge. Christ does not want his name to solely be used for disciplinary purposes. Instead, parents should teach their children about Christ’s love and how to build a strong, personal relationship with the Savior. In Ephesians 6:4, Paul wrote:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The language is somewhat mild by today’s standards. There’s one use of the “f” word, and it’s used to say, “F**k the Man in the Sky.” He’s also called a “bastard.” There are vulgar sexual discussions, and the derogative word “faggot” is used, as well, plus “pr*ck” and “boobs.”
The film’s main offense is its attack on Christ. While the writers did use some Biblical references, several were obviously misconstrued and not correct. It’d be easy to write a novel on this film, but I’ll only point out the main themes. I will be using the Scripture to counter the lies since in 1 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul wrote:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Christians are ignorant.
In this alternate reality, the humans are portrayed as ignorant, easily led, and willing to blindly accept whatever a person tells them. They’re even willing to believe in a man in the sky whom they cannot see. I believe it’s pretty safe to say that these ignorant humans are supposed to represent Christians.
“…do not believe in every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.”
Jesus was a lying, selfish man with ulterior motives.
In the film, Mark Bellison represented Jesus Christ. He became the only one who could communicate with the “Man in the Sky.” He led the people by the thousands to believe in the higher power. In one point of the movie, he gently walked around and told people lies, making them feel better. He even gained money, a bigger house, and an impeccable reputation from all his lying.
This is the exact opposite of Jesus Christ. While Jesus never lied, one should look at what the Gospel says for even further evidence. God purposefully gave Jesus a tainted lineage of past sinners (look at Tamar!). In addition, Jesus was born in the most humbling of circumstances. He never gained any riches or sugarcoated the truth. He told people the truth even when it was not what they wanted to hear. In the end, they killed him for it. The Son of God became a man and experienced all the hardships any human faces. Scriptures says that Jesus “…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” The most important thing of all was how He was obedient to the Lord and endured a miserable death to become a worthy sacrifice for us all.
God makes us do evil things.
During one interview, Ricky Gervais said that if there was a God, he wonders why God made him an atheist. Also in the film, it states that God controls everything and makes people do good and bad. This is not true. People are responsible for their own actions. God cannot tempt people to do evil deeds. This is stated in James 1:13-14.
”When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”
It’s within our right to be thoroughly offended by Ricky Gervais’ script. After all, he is attacking the Heavenly Father. However, I believe this was Gervais’ objective. Rather than anger, I feel sorrow for the lost man and remember when Paul wrote that, “for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” I used to believe in another false religion and scoffed at the idea of the Christian God. Through research and God’s grace, I found out that the only Savior is Jesus Christ.
To those who have ever been humiliated for their faith or even mocked as this movie has done. Be proud that you bear the name of Jesus Christ and were cleansed with his holy blood. If people tease you for your faith in Christ, then this is wonderful, for at least they know you by your faith. Peter wrote,
“But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
On a final note, not only should Christians pray for Rick Gervais, but the millions of others who also remain willingly lost. It’s important that Christians diligently read and study God’s Word, so that when the time comes, we will “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.