So I’ve been called blasphemous. More than once.

Moi? I know. Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

But there are a lot of Christian schools in the UK and some of them seem to think that repositioning God as a sex-mad teenager is wrong.

The thing is, as a lifelong atheist, the book I meant to write should have turned out quite thoroughly blasphemous (if by blasphemous you mean not entirely in line with traditional religion). But goldarnit, in that strange way books have of getting away from you, this one turned out to be just the teensiest bit less of an atheist tract than I ever EVER intended.

A sneaking confirmation of faith may even have slipped in by mistake.

Those of you who’ve read it, back me up here.

In any case, I’d like to know what happens when you open up religion to creative discussion. Does it lay down its humble little self and die? Do churches collapse? Do people give up on belief after thousands of years and say, Gosh, I must’ve been horribly mistaken?

I’m guessing…not. Religion and belief thrive on discourse, occasionally carried out in a thoughtful manner, very occasionally without guns and martyrs. Very very occasionally with a bit of humour thrown in. (Ok, not usually.)

But anyway.

While the theological pundits are settling in for the evening and the book burners are building their pyres, there’s huge furry news here at Rosoff acres.

Yes, there will soon be an actual real live Eck, brought back from the brink of extinction, yours to own. OK, maybe not live. But extremely life-like.

I’ve had preliminary pictures of him from my brilliant Eck-designer friend in New York City, and he’s fantastically Eckish, in the best possible sense of the word.

More details to come very soon. In the meantime, I hope you’re eck-cited.

 

15

20 thoughts on “Burn the witch.

  1. Ray P Hewitt 5 years ago

    I met God once. He wore an eye-patch, a Pink Floyd T-Shirt and did a passable impression of Elvis. He was a bit of a dude if the truth be told and I liked him (I was however in the loony bin, and as mad as a box of trumpets)

  2. Lesley Martin 5 years ago

    Most of the people condemning your book as blasphemous probably have not read it, lest it contaminate them. I am a Christian, and I tend to think that God can look after himself, and anything which opens up discussion about the nature of God is A Good Thing. (and the more humour, the better. Jesus told some good jokes, if you look for them)

  3. Claire Hennessy 5 years ago

    >> A sneaking confirmation of faith may even have slipped in by mistake. <<

    Yes, I think so. It reminds me of Dogma, a little bit – I was advised to watch that as an angry teenage atheist on account of its total mockery of religion, and found it surprisingly pro-faith. Same with There Is No Dog – it certainly doesn't read as an atheist book, anyway.

  4. eleanor watkins 5 years ago

    Haven’t read the book yet but I look forward to doing so. I’m a Christian too, and, like Lesley Martin, feel that God is more than capable of looking after himself if his existance is called into question. Teenagers (at Christian schools or otherwise) are often full of questions, doubts, disillusions and other angst, and might welcome opportunities for discussion of what they really believe, or not. Meg Rosoff is a fine writer and they may have missed a chance here. And yes, the teachings of Jesus have a lot of subtle humour.

    1. Meg Rosoff 5 years ago

      Ah, lovely, thank you for that eleanor.

  5. Janet Foxley 5 years ago

    Isn’t it ironic that the people who object to your harmless fantasy (or Philip Pulman’s or Salman Rushdie’s) are happy to believe that the best-selling fantasy of all time is actually a collection of true stories?

    1. Lesley Martin 5 years ago

      Janet, I don’t know you at all, but you might note that two of the people who have replied to this post, in support of Meg, are Christians – who believe the Bible is true, but can also welcome open debate and discussion on faith issues. Please don’t assume all Christians are the same as those few who objected to Meg’s book.

    2. Maudie Stokes 5 years ago

      I don’t think that Janet was making that assumption at all!

  6. Gail 5 years ago

    In a sad way, it’s heartening to know that religious loonies aren’t solely Americans. But, boy, just wait ’til your book gets over here!

    1. Antony John 5 years ago

      Unfortunately, you’re dead right, Gail. Although, having done several school and library visits here over the past year, I have to say that Meg has many die-hard supporters amongst teachers and librarians. And most of them are working hard to promote the kind of open discussion that Meg (and the rest of us) would like to see become a staple of all educational establishments. In other words, there is hope!

    2. Meg Rosoff 5 years ago

      Well that’s nice to hear, Anthony. In my experience, American librarians (I AM actually American but have lived in London for a long time) are the most liberal, open-minded book-lovers alive. And I’m not saying that to suck up to them, as I’m not sure many of them read my blog. I was astonished when (the not-uncontroversial) How I Live Now won the Printz — and all the amazing librarians were totally unfazed by the risky content.

  7. Kathryn Evans 5 years ago

    Yes you Bad Woman – what a storm you’ve kicked up!
    I’m one of those believers who has an open mind and enjoys debate – in fact I welcome it – oppression comes to all ye who stamp it down and chuck controversy out of the window.

    I do, however, have a problem with those that assume all people of faith are crackers because they believe in God – Atheists are also people of faith, they believe there is no God. Two sides of the same coin and none of us will really know the truth until we’ve croaked it.

    And Janet – a lot of those stories are shared across all three major religions and a good number of them cross reference with other historical texts – and of course, like many stories, metaphor can carry it’s own weight of truth…

    Anyway, I say, bring on the debate! I’m married to an atheist whose views and opinions I love and respect – we have some great discussions in our house.

    My only problem with your book, Meg, is I haven’t had the time to read it yet – it was third down in my pile but, oops, it just leapt to the top ;o)

    1. Meg Rosoff 5 years ago

      I’ve always had big trouble with Richard Dawkins because in preaching atheism, he ignores the fact that about 5 billion of the 7 billion people on earth (I made that statistic up — it’s probably a lot higher) are believers in some manner of god/religion. So isn’t that kind of a reason to take the phenomenon seriously?

    2. Kathryn Evans 5 years ago

      There’s been a lot of interesting studies about the part of the brain where faith resides – some people have it, others not so much – in terms of evolution, you have to ask why it’s there at all? The personal benefits can be great but the global impact is often devastating – that is not intelligent design – or is it?

      I don’t have the answers and Janet, I have no certainties – you seem far more certain in your conviction that there is no God than I do in my ‘faith’ that there possibly/probably might be….for me you can’t have faith without doubt.

    3. Meg Rosoff 5 years ago

      I find faith really interesting. Much more interesting than total non-belief. And i believe I’m an atheist by birth the way some people are homosexual by birth. I believe i was too young to choose when I knew.

  8. Janet Foxley 5 years ago

    Lesley – Please don’t think I assume all Christians are the same, I know they’re not and there is nothing in my comment to suggest otherwise. Kathy, I know those stories are shared across many religions and cultures which is why I didn’t specifically call it by its Christian name. Religious faith is something which I personally can’t understand, and I sometimes envy the certainties of those who have it. But the position of the people condemning Meg’s book is ridiculous: no-one is going to be converted to Thereisnodogism by reading it.

    1. Meg Rosoff 5 years ago

      Can’t tell you how disappointed I am by that Janet.

  9. kokorako 5 years ago

    I loved There is No Dog, seemed so original. And yet it is kicking up such an ancient set of arguments.

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