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Religion and 'The Invention of Lying'

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If you’ve seen a trailer for The Invention of Lying, the feature directorial debut of Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras) out Oct. 2, you know it’s a comedy about a man (Gervais) who learns how to lie in a world where everyone’s always honest. What you don’t know — thanks to a carefully crafted marketing campaign — is the movie’s actual subject: religion. The people in the fictional world of Lying have no concept of heaven, faith, or God — until Gervais’ character fabricates ”the man in the sky” to placate them. ”It’s not atheist propaganda,” says the actor, who is, indeed, an atheist. (Warner Bros. declined to comment.) Even so, Gervais is already anticipating critics who might call the movie antireligious. ”I don’t think it’s blasphemous,” he insists, adding that the film ”shouldn’t affect [believers] or their God. From what I’ve heard of God, he’s tough. He can take it.”

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