Strange would be a word that would elevate this novella into the range of comprehension that would allow the reader to relax enough to enjoy some parts of it, but in fact, there is nothing that will shift the burden away from the reader. The world is bent around and around the reader’s mind until either the mind itself begins to bend, or indeed, it breaks. A novel without plot, characters, structure or obvious purpose, it is an endless descent into the netherworlds of a dystopic mind, a novella that could define a generation, but a generation of what and on what planet remains the question. A fresh voice in fiction; unfortunately, also a generally incoherent one which will demand that the reader construct the work’s meaning. If 1,000 monkeys typing endlessly would eventually produce all great works of literature, then God Is an Atheist is their first draft.
A tragicomic romp through religion, spirituality, and the contemporary clash beliefs that holds nothing sacred. Nosirrah provokes just about everyone as he describes a world where God is on the run from Islamic extremists, the Pope announces he shares a bed with Richard Dawkins, and Buddha’s son disappoints by getting enlightened instead of becoming a doctor.
References in the Book
Confabulation is a memory disorder defined as the spontaneous production of false memories: either memories for events which never occurred, or memories of actual events which are displaced in space or time. These memories may be elaborate and detailed. Some may be obviously bizarre, as a memory of a ride in an alien spaceship; others are quite mundane, as a memory of having eggs for breakfast, so that only a close family member can confirm that the memory is in fact false.
Capgras delusion is when people believe their closest friends and family have been replaced with imposters. Note that in Nosirrah’s book “Nothing from Nothing” he refers to Prosopagnosia which is thought to be the reverse of Capgras Delusion. Prosopagnosia is a disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while the ability to recognize other objects may be intact. Nosirrah implies that he is diagnosed with Capgras while being studied at Harvard while he self-diagnoses himself with Prosopagnosia in his earlier work ( but is unsure if it is he who has the condition since he cannot recognize his own face). This leads to the possibility that he does not recognize faces and in addition believes that those around him are imposters, adding up to a highly unusual state of consciousness.
Delusional misidentification is an umbrella term for a group of disorders that involve a belief that the identity of a person, object or place has somehow changed or has been altered.
Syndrome of delusional companions is the belief that objects (such as soft toys) are sentient beings
Intermetamorphosis is the belief that people in the environment swap identities with each other whilst maintaining the same appearance.
Clonal pluralization is where a person believes there are multiple copies of him or herself, identical both physically and psychologically
Other references in the book include:
Mega-Dik – Article here considered the most prolific spammer while selling herbal penis size enhancers.
TMZ: celebrity gossip site referred to in Nosirrah’s dream about Richard Dawkins and the Pope (see below Dawkins and Pope)
Richard Dawkins: prominent atheist spokesman, author and sociobiologist, known as the “Atheist Rottweiler” (see below Pope)
Pope Benedict XVI: once nicknamed “God’s Rottweiler” (see above, Dawkins and TMZ)
Joan Osborne: singer songwriter, blues/rock style, Nosirrah refers to song, “What if God were One of Us?”
Neile Donald Walsch: refers to Conversations with God, bestselling book by Walsch. Nosirrah suggests that his contact with God didn’t occur in a Q and A format, although as with all of Nosirrah’s writing it is not entirely clear what he is suggesting by his comments about Neil Walsch.
Hallmark: refers to alternative card company “Tragic Circumstances” (see reference to TC below)
Tragic Circumstances: we need more information on this greeting card publisher, it appears to be the publisher of both macabre but touching greeting cards for those who are dying and apparently the first publisher of Nosirrah’s works, now out of print.
Segway: supposed to revolutionize human transportation but largely ignored.
Oprah: As recounted in GIAA, Nosirrah is instructed by God to not appear on Oprah’s show and Nosirrah suggests the proof of God’s contact with him is that to date he has not appeared on Oprah as per God’s instructions. It is unknown whether private meetings have taken place between Nosirrah and Oprah.
Nosirrah claims to have attended the University of Missouri at Columbia and studied under a Professor Daniel Felsenfeld however this cannot be verified and it is possible that this was entirely imagined by Nosirrah.
Jenn Cleary: American singer/songwriter appears to be active blues type musician, Nosirrah refers to song “Peace in our World” Lyrics to the Song Copyright Jenn Cleary:
” Peace In Our World ”
why can’t there be
peace in our world
I hold out hope
deep down in my soul
why focus on hatred
when it only brings pain to us all
can’t we forgive and move on
before we freefall
why do we fight fire with fire
if it only creates infernos
can’t we find other ways
and stop struggling with our foes
why can’t there …..
Barry Manilow: ” Why is there suffering? Why old age? Why pain? Why Barry Manilow? Why is it set up like this? I turned to God for the answer.”… from GIAA — Click Here to visit the Barry Manilow International Fan Club for some answers or just go ahead and buy a Barry Manilow Bobble Head or take it all the way with Barry Manilow ‘Less Music, More Passion’ Boxer Shorts …. Barry turned 65 on June 17, 2008 — Happy Birthday!
Quick Stop: ” God would have none of it. He was hustling me towards the Quick Stop where He was intent on acquiring some Slim Jim Beef Jerky. God, I am sorry to tell all of you vegans, vegetarians, Jains and animal rights folks out there, is an indiscriminate omnivore.” If you are interested in franchise opportunities in the convenience store industry click here and remember that God could be your best customer particularly if you stock Slim Jim Beef Jerky, ConAgra’s No. 1 brand of meat sticks available in a variety of flavors of meat sticks, beef jerky, beef steak, and beef and cheese.
PETA: There is only a passing reference to this organization in GIAA and we will not say anything more since we don’t want to make these people in the least angry, not that we don’t believe in militant action to protect helpless animals whatever it takes and we would never support opposing sites like PetaKillsAnimals.
So perhaps it’s fitting that N. Nosirrah’s highly amusing and deeply thoughtful God is an Atheist is a novella. Specifically, it’s “a novella for those who have run out of time.”
“This is a story without plot, characters, structure, or obvious purpose,” Nosirrah writes. “If a thousand monkeys typing endlessly would eventually produce all the great works of literature, then this is their first draft.”
Nosirrah isn’t kidding when he says there’s no plot. At the start of the book, he nearly runs God over as He is crossing the street. As way of apology, Nosirrah takes God to a coffeeshop and they talk, although it’s as much of a transcendental encounter as a conversation. Nosirrah calls it “magical existentialism.”
In the exchange, God admits He is an atheist.
The novella is Nosirrah’s account of the encounter, which is really just a flimsy—but very cleverly executed—excuse for the author to talk about big-picture concepts like belief and being. He does it with a court jester’s demeanor, though. The result is a text that reads like the caffeinated love-child of flip stream-of-consciousness and thoughtful wit, raised by lonely mountaintop guru starved for human contact. Nosirrah babbles along merrily, with almost incessant, indomitable charm. Hints of cynicism creep in, but Nosirrah always pulls back from the brink with a good-natured shoulder shrug or, better yet, a smart-ass remark.
For example, he writes: “We decided that our job is to live in the material world, but ultimately to transcend it and realize our connection to God. Once we got that all set up and agreed that the world was like that, then we got down to the real business of fighting each other over our control of resources in the material world and our beliefs about God.”
The book is not intended as a religious or an anti-religious diatribe. There’s plenty to offend believers and nonbelievers alike. But there’s also plenty of thoughtful fodder about the nature of belief itself. There’s also, running as an undercurrent, a sincere appeal to readers to think about what God means to them.
“God speaks in the softest of tones and the harshest of manners. As the all and everything of the universe, He speaks in every form. That’s the rub,” Nosirrah says. “If He would just show up Hollywood style, speak in a Charlton Heston voice, we would find it easy to listen. But He shows up as the constant flow of life itself, in every piece, every quality, in the whole range from ecstasy to calamity. We generally only listen to the part we like, and don’t want to hear the part we don’t like.”
The book never gets much heavier than that. It’s too hipster, too manic, and too self-aware to get too deep—but the book also gives off enough vibes to suggest that this is, indeed, deep stuff if the reader slows down long enough to really dive in for him or herself.
In the meantime, Nosirrah barrels along, pummeling the reader with witty banter, pop culture references, and classical philosophy gussied up as slapstick (picture an apoplectic Immanuel Kant getting red-faced and bug-eyed). God never takes Himself too seriously—and far from being all-knowing and all-powerful, He can’t even place Mother Theresa, although He says He’ll try and Google the name when He gets home.
God is an Atheist is a quick yet provocative read—although whether it provokes thought, anger, or mere annoyance will depend on the reader. Nosirrah is either irresistibly engaging or in dire need of Ritalin. But his whirling dervish style is distinctive and smart. He offers much to think about and much to laugh about, too.
—Chris Mackowski, Scholars & Rogues
There are many good, worthwhile and enlightening books on spirituality available these days, but it’s quite rare to come across one that’s as unique as God Is an Atheist: A novella for those who have run out of time, by N. Nosirrah. To give you a sense of what kind of book this is, let me quote the blurb on the back of the book:
“A profound tragicomic romp through the bizarre landscape of religion, spirituality, and the contemporary clash of cultures of belief, with special attention to the human obsession with knowing what can’t be known. Nosirrah provokes just about everyone as he describes a world where God is on the run from Islamic extremists, the Pope announces he shares a bed with Richard Dawkins, and Buddha’s son disappoints by getting enlightened instead of becoming a doctor.”
God is an Atheist has humor, spiritual inquiry, philosophical conundrums and its own twisted kind of logic all mixed up in a delightful stew that is both nourishing and exciting. It’s a whimsical journey through contemporary spirituality and culture that holds nothing sacred and asks questions that most people probably might not even want answered. Nosirrah’s magnum opus is fresh and original, unpretentious and straightforward, as well as being delightfully free of spiritual mumbo-jumbo. There is a special kind of quality and power to his writing that’s hard to define, and reading this book is likely to leave you convinced that God might just be an atheist after all. Although this book is full of what can best be described as meaningful nonsense, there are also truly profound insights and comments to be found almost on every page. The book is even illustrated, by none other than A. Nosirrah, and while it has to be said that the artwork is on the far side of the naive, and may not be to everybody’s liking, somehow it seems to fit into the text very nicely all the same.
Who is N. Nosirrah? Does he even exist? Does it even matter? He has only the following to say about himself on the back cover of the book:
“N. Nosirrah is an enigmatic writer and philosopher who asks his readers to question their existence, God’s existence and in particular, Nosirrah’s existence.”
And as if that wasn’t enough, he also claims that “Those who understand these writings have no need to meet me, those who do not understand have no reason to meet me, and those who need to meet me have no need to read my writings.”
God is an Atheist is a short book at only 119 pages, but quality wins over quantity every single time, and I for one would choose this little book over many a weighty tome by the celebrated hot shots in today’s spiritual marketplace. In the final analysis, if ever there is one, it might well be that Nosirrah really is not, but he delivers all the same.
A good author knows that getting a potential reader’s attention begins with the title. Bookstore shoppers would definitely take notice of the title God is an Atheist by N. Nosirrah.
This is a humorous book about a serious subject – not God, but belief.
The author is the main character, and the book is written in the first person. In real life, not much is publicly known about Nosirrah.
But then, not much is known first-hand about God either. Nosirrah encounters God when he takes a right turn on red at a traffic signal and nearly runs over God.
They end up spending the day together, and in an ensuing dialogue, God reveals that he is basically fed up with belief and has decided to become an atheist. God is an Atheist has the quality of message and teachings found in many spiritual books, but it is also quite funny with Nosirrah’s quirky drawings and self deprecating humor.
There are also some excellent points made in the book. For instance, regarding scientists and their stance toward religion…”none of them will face the fact that they are believers of the worst kind. They believe in science, of course, that is a given. But, more fundamental than that is that they believe in an orderly universe, a lawful universe, and all of their science, all of their belief flows from that one basic belief. Who said the universe is orderly anyway? Isaac Newton started it, but he got the idea from the Catholic Church. Does anyone see the irony of this?”
The purpose of God is an Atheist can be summed up by Nosirrah when he says at one point “God chose me because I do not exist, and because he does not exist, and he wants you to know you do not exist.” Nosirrah also brings up knowing and not knowing. “It is our clutching to the known that makes the impending trip to the unknown so frightening.”
The fun in the book includes referencing and sometimes poking fun of a lot of well known names of people, books, and teachings: Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Lao Tzu, Gertrude Stein, Islam, Buddha, Mother Teresa, Jesus, the “Secret” Ramana Maharshi. If you felt your diaphragm tighten when you saw any of these names and are ready to take offense to any of this good-natured ribbing, you might want to ask what beliefs you are hanging onto. This book would probably do you the most good. No belief is sacred in God is an Atheist.
Here’s an excerpt with little known information on the Buddha family: “Gautama Buddha…wasn’t the enlightened one, it was his cousin Eddie Buddha. G.Buddha…abandoned his wife and young child in order to pursue his life of renunciation. No bills, no diapers, no more arguments with the wife about watching too much football, or whatever it was they likely bickered about. So he left, renounced everything, and shortly was surrounded by the New Agers of the day who insisted he teach them…He showed them how to give up every responsibility and live a stress free life lounging around…for the benefit of all sentient beings of course. Not surprisingly there were lots of takers, and Buddhism took off.”
Christianity gets bashed in enough places, so I’ll include a quote about Islam: “For God, the infidel is the believer, any believer, in anything, but especially in him. The true jihad- the struggle – is with the nature of belief, that it can latch onto any wacko idea and hold tight, that it can even kill for God, as if God needs help in that area…An Islamic radical is a radical believer, and when it comes right down to it, the believer will destroy God and himself before he lets go of his beliefs.”
Prepare to laugh and have your beliefs shaken out of you in God is an Atheist. The Enlightenment Dudes enjoyed the fresh delivery and the message in this book and give it an 8 out of 10.
This unusual book is a modern Tristram Shandy—which is to say, it will probably not be wildly popular, except as a word-film in the “cult” section; but its incisive and intelligent wit on matters spiritual and worldly offers a refreshing alternative to most tomes normally found in the genres of fiction, spirituality, autobiography, or philosophy. This book has all of those elements couched in a voice which is at once profoundly irreverent and mystically sound. Fundamentalists beware: the God of this religion brooks no pat description, no belief system, no creed or manifesto except perhaps that of freedom from such limitation, with a healthy dose of comic irony in both concept and conversational delivery.
—Alternative Culture Magazine
If we believe in God, then what does God believe in? God is an Atheist: A Novella for Those who Have Run out of Time is a unique and offbeat story of a homosexual affair between Richard Dawkins and the pope, Islamic extremists hunting down the Christian deity, the family issues of Buddha, and other bizarre events. Sure to enthrall (and possibly perplex) readers, God is an Atheist is a must for anyone looking for a novel on religion with a twist.
—Midwest Book Review
This book is a gavotte of literary styles and daydreams. It compels you to become a partner and leads you to an understanding of God that is beyond belief.
One moment the writing reminds me of the wild-eyed Richard Beymer caught in the fantastic world knot of “contrived identity” in his psychological confession, Impostor.
Next moment a sensible philosophical warrior steps up.
That dynamic between the wild-eyed and the sensible, the wearing of one joker’s shoe and one wingtip, drives the story.
The foam of humor spills over the edges and down the sides.[I was opening my sixth can of beer when I wrote that.]
In parts the author is freely catching images:
“I had a dream last night (I think it was a dream in any case) and in it I was reading the TMZ.com website where there was an account of Richard Dawkins and the Pope as secret lovers revealed, with photos of the two grinning in bed with their morning cappuccino, apparently listening to Puccini.”
Then there are stories. One of my favorites is the one about Eddie Buddha, the cousin of Gautama Buddha. Eddie was never remembered because he did not leave his wife and kid and renounce the world. He hung around. He went to delis at night with his best buddy. The following paragraph I found warm to the touch. This might reveal something about the writer:
“I wanted a life like Eddie Buddha’s that was clear, straightforward, regular and unfettered by the dogma of belief. I wanted a life that was compelling, which is an interesting word, meaning undeniable, gripping, but I wanted it compelled by truth. Compelling is the force exerted from the future into the past as organized by our mind. There is nothing compelling other than what you actually express, nothing before, nothing after.”
You’ll recognize much of your own foolishness or confabulations, hopefully with humor and peace. Listen:
“There remains this nagging question about the universe as it is, which is something like: ‘Why?’ In the immortal words of the blues queen Jenn Cleary, ‘Why, oh why, can’t there be peace in our world?’
“Why is there suffering? Why old age? Why pain? Why Barry Manilow? Why is it set up like this? I turned to God for an answer.
“God would have none of it. He was hustling me towards a Quick Stop where He was intent on acquiring some Slim Jim Beef Jerky.”
Reading God Is An Atheist might put an end to the endless chewing on beef jerky and bring the reader face to face with Eddie Buddha’s unfettered life, or God’s “none of it.”
This is a work of true madness and mad truth. [Holy jumpin’ Bernadette Roberts, there’s a sound bite if I ever wrote one.]
—Jerry Katz, Nonduality Highlights