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Chris Matheson on Writing Bill & Ted and his Books on God and Buddha

October 08, 2020

Screenwriter and author Chris Matheson joins Jim in this episode which touches on the recently released Bill & Ted Face the Music, then dives deeply into Matheson’s two comedic books on the Bible and the Buddha.

In his The Story of God, Chris gets into the mind of what must be an insane and sadistic deity by using the Bible itself to retell the story. In The Buddha’s Story, he points his rapier wit at the “Awakened One” — also through scripture — and unveils a religious icon most would find rather reprehensible.

Both books find a way to raise incisive questions about key religious figures in a very humorous way. Chris Matheson is one of those rare people who can get people to laugh and learn at the same time.

You can find both of Matheson’s books, The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate) and The Buddha’s Story on Amazon

We are proud to announce that this episode of Point of Inquiry was sponsored by the Wadsworth-Sheng Fund. Our friends, Spike Wadsworth and Sherry Sheng, are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to thought-provoking content that addresses the big questions in science, religion, politics, and culture. We are grateful for their support. If you would like to learn more about how to support Point of Inquiry or the work of its umbrella organization, the Center for Inquiry, please contact our Director of Development, Connie Skingel, at

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This Week’s Music

“Idle Ways” by Blue Dot Sessions / CC BY-NC 4.0
“Cold” by Pictures of the Floating World / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
“Bon Journée” by Chad Crouch / CC BY-NC 3.0

Hello, everybody, welcome to another episode of Point of Inquiry, my name is Jim Underdown, I’m your host for today.

Those of you who know me know I’m kind of a tough laugh. I I’m not a fan of mediocre comedy, but today’s guest made me laugh both through his movies and his books. Chris Mathison is with us today. He’s the author of two books on religion. One is called The Story of God. The other is called The Budos Story. And he’s co-writer on the Bill and Ted movies. There are three now, Bill and Ted Face. The music was just released a week or two ago. Chris pulls off a difficult feat in his books. He entertains at the both of my very funny. But you also learn a lot of stuff about the Bible and the life of Buddha, for instance, part of the story in Revelation when God is wreaking havoc on the Earth.

He sends a star into the Earth, which does make a whole lot of sense. But never mind that. And out of the star comes all these locusts. But ladies and gentlemen, they’re not just regular locusts. Here’s what it says in Revelation nine seven.

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared on to battle and on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold and their faces were as the faces of men.

That’s a direct quote from the King James Bible. By the way, to be able to teach and make someone laugh is a difficult proposition and. He does it deftly, but he’s an interesting guy and has some great takes on what must have been going through the mind of God. As he progresses through the Old and New Testaments. All completely true, of course.

So welcome again to point of inquiry and my discussion with Chris Matheson.

OK, welcome to another episode of Point of Inquiry, I’m Jim Underdown your host, and we’re here today with Chris Matheson, a writer and a man of many talents. Welcome, Chris, to the program. I to be here. So let’s start a little bit just for people who are stalkers. Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I was born in Encino, California. And I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. And I lived there until I was about thirty five. And then my wife and I. North. And I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon, for about 25 years.

How long you’ve been up there? You were up there before. It was hip to move up there.

I don’t know. Yeah.

Maybe it was growing up in Los Angeles. Was that part of your path to getting into the writing business? I mean, that’s a tough business to get into.

Well, my dad was a well-known writer, a deficit which wrote, I am legend and tricky. There are a lot of well-known toilets. So so I kind of grew up around the writing business, around the film business. So I kind of knew it a little bit. But I didn’t really want to do it for that very reason because I didn’t want to try to follow in my dad’s footsteps because they were pretty big. So I wanted to do theater for the first for a number of years, late high school and through college and even into grad school. But then I had a very strong interest in comedy and comedy I thought was better on film than than in the theater. So I moved. I decided to sort of gravitate towards some ideology or father in terms of encouraging that.

Was he like. Don’t even think about it?

Yeah. He said a number of times, like, I would recommend you not do this if there’s anything I can do.

I mean, he was very, very pleased that I wanted to do theater. He he was very supportive of that. I was going to direct plays and he seemed to like that idea a lot.

He was eager to find that one. So I decided to become a screenwriter. He was generally supportive. I mean, he read this stuff that I wrote and he would give me good, good feedback. I don’t know whether how he felt about it.

Well, it I mean, it must have been some. I mean, outside of, you know, your general exposure to it, you probably saw a little bit of the process of writing. I mean, because I mean, you see a lot of people there like how hard could this be? Or I’ll just write sit down and write a screenplay and be done with it in a week and go sell it. It’s got to be an advantage to see your father working hard and rewriting and that sort of thing.

I it was it was demystified for me. The amount of time and energy that he would put into it. My dad was. Well, there’s a lot of Dylan Thomas, obviously. And he was not that to you. He worked hard and he worked hard. He went down to his office and he works six, eight hours every day.

Yeah, it’s it’s it’s harder than most people, I think would imagine that that job.

Yeah. It takes a lot of interdisciplinary, you know, because for there there are plenty of times where you’re employed, where you’re trying to, you know, hit a deadline. But there’s a lot of times where you just kind of doing it yourself. You have to just sort of generate from the inside. And he modeled that very well, you know.

So you gravitated and at some stage experience, which I imagine especially for if you’re moving toward the direction of comedy, doing some stuff live has got to help your ear for comedy because you could sit in your your office writing stuff, but you don’t get any feedback that way. And on a stage, you kind of maybe you start to get a little sense of what’s working and what isn’t.

Yeah, I think that’s right. I did acting first. I wanted to from the time I was maybe 17 and I was 21, I wanted to act. And so I did a lot of plays. And I would say that that’s really good training for a writer, any kind of writer. Comedy writer, too. But anyway, because it does help you develop your ear a little bit, it helps to kind of understand from the inside. What flows, what feels true.

And you’re the process is you’re trying to make sense of it from the inside. That’s what actors do. You’re trying to make sense of that from the inside. Who is this person? What do they want? That’s always the big thing for most actors. What do I want? What do I want? What I want. And that’s a very, very good just for writers.

And as a comedy writer. But to me, it’s character. That’s what’s funny. I don’t personally find situations funny. I don’t know that there is a situation that I find funny. I think there’s characters that are funny and you can put them almost anywhere.

And they and they should be funny if they’re actually a funny character. And the last thing I did before I stopped directing was, was it was a comedy. It was sort of a pretty broad, pretty funny comedy. And that feeling of kind of tinkering with it and finding where the laugh is and getting to actually see it and feel it. Yeah, it’s very useful.

So was it on stage messing around with comedy that you. Was it Ed Solomon came up with the Bill and Ted characters.

It was on stage. It wasn’t for an audience. We would do improv because we were really interested in interest in playing. I mean, I kind of liken it to guys going to a gym and just shooting those who want to. We just liked working out together so we would do improv as a way of of exploring jokes and characters and ideas. And so we would rent this little theater in Hollywood called the Gardener Stage, tiny, tiny little space. And we would rent it like a thing every Sunday night, maybe every Monday night. We’d pay 20 bucks for it back in the early 80s and we would just play with ideas. And so one night the idea was to teenage boys, say who? But for history and they don’t know anything native. They don’t know anything, anything, anything about history. And so and I played the two boys and started talking to each other. And, you know, that’s how they emerged.

So this is Beavis and Butthead before Beavis and Butthead.

Yeah, pre Beavis and Butthead. This would be 1983, I don’t know, in my church and in my judgment. Who knows when he actually made up. Maybe three days from Ted. I don’t know. But yes. Before they’re on here.

So now I mean, cut to this within the last couple of weeks. Were there your third bill intended movie has just been released? That’s what until one of the first one come out. Refresh my memory.

1989. And the second movie, my second one came out in 1991. So it’s a 29 year break.

I mean, I think one of the attractive things about that was to get these these same actors age and be able to use the same people in the same characters. It’s it’s a rare thing.

Yeah. I think that we wouldn’t have done it. I mean, there would’ve been no movie for it, for forget it myself, without some here, we wouldn’t have been interested in doing it. But I think you’re right. I think in a weird way, it’s it’s the passage of time that is the subject of the movie. In a way, if we tried to make a part three, two years after two. I don’t know that we would. I have no idea what the story would have been. But this time enough time had elapsed so that I could really consider what if it didn’t work out way and what if what if it just didn’t come true? And that seemed like a good sample.

So it was it was a Keanu and Alex who who initiated the making of this version.

You know, it was more me and Ed. We we somewhere around 2007, probably we should started talking about the play because we you know, we really liked them as characters. We thought they were more fun than they were fun to write. And so we started just speculating on where they would be.

And we came up with a general sort of starting point on a story. So we had dinner with Alex and Keanu and we said, what do you guys think? It is this interest you at all? Do you like the starting point? And they did. They they they were interested. And so that kind of started the ball rolling.

I know the story, but I want to hear from you that because you guys, you and Adam were the original like guys who had a lot of fun with this and played these two characters. How did it. How did it go? How did Alex and Yahoo! Get the gig?

Well, I auditioned a lot of people for those roles. I mean, I don’t I don’t know how many, but I would have to assume that auditions dozens and dozens of guys. And there are actually I don’t know where they came from or how they got released, but there are now online there are like tapes from nineteen eighty six of the guys auditioning with other people and with each other. Their initial auditions lab watched them, but I hear they’re pretty interesting. They were just the best guys for the parts.

I mean they just and they, and they hadn’t met before that, but they just had a sort of instant chemistry with each other and got to be very, very close friends, which they still are wonderfully 30, almost 35 years later.

So I just saw the movie the other day and I was thinking about the. So you had the part of the idea. Part of the plot of this is to put this all star of all time band together. So how did you choose the band?

I think we were looking in part for sort of colorful, vibrant, iconic characters. And you, Sylvia, Louis Armstrong seemed like a very, very obvious place to start because he’s such he’s such a person in such a incredibly important musical force and also such a, you know, delightful human being.

So I think we started with him. And Hendrix, we we kind of went back and forth between Hendrix and Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley was then it was in certain drafts, but we dropped and we chose to go with Hendrix because we were putting together more a band of like, you know, musicians. And Elvis is more like a singer. I guess it is sort of called Tom Guitar, but I don’t think that was. And, you know, Mozart’s it’s Mozart and other kind of like gigantically iconic character and then wanting to sort of round it out and wanting it to not just be a bunch of dudes. And then we looked for a couple of women that we could kind of fill that thing out of that account. So we took a sort of a mythic Chinese flute flutist, as I would have flute player was called. Yeah, I think that’s one way to say it. Yeah, I was named Ling one who is, you know, kind of mythic and maybe traditionally seen as a man. But we thought, well, why couldn’t be a woman so mythical? One woman.

And they’re not rooted out with a bass player who’s also sort of mythic.

William Sadler has said there is death now.

Are there other side going into religion here or are there other religious themes that kind of show up and and Bill? And.

Why is it ultimately the second one? I mean, the second one. Seaton’s a character. God’s a character. We go to hell. We go to heaven.

It’s never really, you know, it amuses it. And I. That every time somebody dies in the Bill and Ted movie. They always go to hell. Just in an effort to help. Nobody goes on. And so I guess the implicit meaning of that is none of them, none of these gathered family have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and savior. That’s what it means.

The second one is really pretty steeped in religious ideas. The first one, I would say so. And this one, I’d have to think limitlessness. The second one, I think it’s a Chris Mooney.

Yeah, well, I think everybody agrees, if you know between heaven and hell, hell is going to have the best music by far and have the best everything you’d want to do. It was George Carlin and number two.

Yeah. Yeah, good. It shows at the beginning and end at the end. He’s not he’s not really in the body of the movie, but he’s at the beginning of the.

Yeah, that’s that’s got to give you some pleasure to have him.

It was it must have been fun. He’s such a big icon in the secular community because they are so outwardly critical of religion.

So let’s talk about your books a little bit. What’s your idea for the story of God? What’s your elevator description of the story of God? The story of God is the Bible told from the point of view of God as comedy.

It’s stitching together all of his kind of crazy behavior and trying to make sense of who this character would have to be if, in fact, the Bible is correct. I took the Bible at face value. This is true. They’re right. This is what happened. OK. Given that, who does this guy have to be?

Yeah. So I had new reference. I mean, you know, most pages of the book have the references. When you’re talking about these actions that happening, you’re referencing the actual points in the Bible where it’s happening.

Yeah, I wanted. Because there’s still a lot of crazy stuff, right? There’s such there’s so many things that you just think, wait, once I can’t read. So I wanted to footnote it immediately so that those who were curious could go and look it up and see that I’m not in shock to making stuff up.

Yeah, there’s I mean, there’s there’s. And I learned a couple from you, by the way. And I’ve been studying this stuff for 40 years. Burns, it’s I’ll just bring up, in the end, the end times. One of the insects that are created to come out and wreak havoc have little human faces on them. I never knew about it.

A little cold meat. Craziness. Man, it’s like, who would want that? Why is that scary? What are you doing?

Is it God? I never realized that the LSD was in existence back in the first century or whenever or zero relations.

This is if you like it. I don’t know who you are. But a lot of people do like it. You just think it’s a visionary or prophetic if you don’t. Well, I do like it. I actually love it, but I love it as a source of comedy because it’s so we’re alone and mad. It’s it’s just it’s it’s inspired lunacy. You just couldn’t you just can’t top it from the first page.

I mean, you start from Genesis and Gods up in this darkness and he has no form. I mean, few people that I’ve I’m sure a few Christians or people in the Abrahamic religions think of how crazy it is to think that there was that God was existing in some form before there was any stuff out there.

Yeah, they have to. Right. Because if you if he’s eternal and of course he has to be eternal, that’s part of their narrative. Can’t have come into existence. That’s not possible. Therefore, he just kind of looted there in the darkness doing nothing for some kind of eternity. Yeah. It’s a very strange backstory for this guy.

Yeah. I mean, you and I love the way you handle it, too, because there’s this threw out without beating it over the head. You had this sort of mild internal dialog going on in God’s head, trying to deal with the obvious inconsistencies and in sameness of this situation.

Yeah. You know, I spent enough time with this character that I went through different regions or different stages, let’s say, of how I saw. And I went at certain times that I will was just a fraud. I mean, this is the wizard floors and he’s the man behind the curtain. He’s not God. Exactly. He’s just some pretender because he doesn’t really have all the powers that he claims to have. And he’s just kind of a big blowhard. And I think there’s a lot of evidence for that. And I liked that. I thought that was funny. And then and then at other points, I thought, well, no, he does, but he’s just a fool, you know? He’s true. He’s a buffoon. His ideas are stupid. And he keeps kind of stepping on a rake and getting himself the head and getting mad about it and just flaring up and. And I thought that was funny to that sort of you know, I’ve I’ve kind of thought of that as sort of the Will Ferrell version of God, you know, the most broadly comedic version of God. And it’s funny. I like that. But the one that kind of ended up being the most interesting to me and I thought the most fruitful and I thought actually the most rooted in the text was he’s he’s he’s he’s a freak. There’s something wrong with this guy. He’s not. He’s consumed with hatred. He’s angry almost almost all the time. He’s enriched all the time. He’s very self punishing. He wants to punish us. But we’re made in his image. Right. So as he punishes us, he’s he’s he’s the puppeteers burning his puppets, essentially. And that was really interesting. And I found his self-hatred. And then I sort of answered because I spent enough time with this guy. And as a writer, I wanted to find some deeper emotional class, still say. And I and at a certain point I thought, wow, that is a tough job. You know, that is a tough job. Like, you’re so alone. He’s so lonely, isn’t it? Yes. No, mother had no father. He has no siblings. He has no wife. He has one son who he brutally has murdered. You know, he has an enemy. That’s what he has. He has an enemy. And he has a bunch of little sycophants who can kind of work around telling him how radius he seems to have no use for, no respect for. And so I thought. Yeah, I found that really interesting, strange, kind of haunting.

Yeah, I mean, he’s. I don’t know if people understand how much of a monster he is. Especially in the Old Testament.

Yeah. He’s really unbelievably brutal, really vicious. I would say his peak of monstrosity actually is revelations. Revelations is the one where you lie, which is new, just which is the last thing in it. You know, revelations is like, OK, here’s the big reveal. I mean, that’s what it’s saying here. Is that, OK, we’ve told you everything that happened. Here’s the whole story of existence and we’ve got you. Here’s where we are now. We’re going to show you where this is going. We’re going to reveal how this is all going to turn out. And he is reading it at times. I think I can put it in the book. He’s like he’s like a super villain from a James Bond, movies like Blofeld or something, or he’s worse than that. He doesn’t really he just wants to punish. He just wants to hurt people like near points and revelations are all he wants to do is just torment everyone. He just wants to send his angels down to just love people to pieces. And then he’s going to send them to hell forever. It’s it’s. And while simultaneously he has his he had his angels or his or B or is he little what I call his eyeball monsters. He’s got his eyeball on monsters who are covered with eyeballs so they can gaze at him with more eyes because he’s so vain and narcissistic. He needs all the attention and they’re singing too. They’re singing in praise of them while mankind gets locked to pieces on his orders. And I thought, wow, man, that is really something. I mean, this is the worst villain in the history of these fantastically great comedically, but nobody who’s ever been this bad.

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You mentioned some other little subtle things, like he apparently the writer of the Bible thinks bats are birds.

Look that fine.

Come on. Yeah, right.

This is probably then, you know, like you can’t distinguish between a God, the creator.

Worse list that among the foods that is bad. It’s not a good biologist observed.

You know, it’s like right now on the other members, you know, they’re coming to your own creation here.

Can’t be bothered with details. It’s flying.

But he is that since where says he’s so very, very particular about, you know, like the kind of grilled meaty wants and the kind of incense he wants and the color fabric that he wants, you know? He’s incredibly specific and particular about like all his little you know, he’s fussy.

The people who read for Inquiry magazine and follow the Center for Inquiry. I mean, there’s legitimate scholarly arguments in this book. Again, Don, in a humorous way. And and suddenly but things like when he hardens the heart of the feral, it kind of gives the pharaoh a few are there are a couple of opportunities where the pharaoh might have said, OK, I’ve had enough, I’m sorry, but God hardens his heart and makes him turn against makes the pharaoh turn against God. So they get more or are, you know, pestilence and everything else. But those are legitimate scholarly inconsistencies.

Yeah. He wants to. Well, he seems to want to do is punish. That’s what he wants. And the whole thing is a punishment game because it doesn’t have to be like this. It doesn’t have to go like this. And there are just lots of exits along the way. But he wants to bring a pharaoh, softens at times and there is an exit. It doesn’t have to go. But he doesn’t want that. No, I want him to keep going on the same that he’s going on so that I can end up, you know, I suppose with the money shot of just drowning all those Egyptians in the Red Sea Scouts.

And he’s just a real. Correct. A lot of different people. I mean. I mean, how many podcasts are you going to be able to say that on? By the way, what I’ve God is a wreck. I mean, it is awful that Joe boozes. Nice guy minding his own business. Yeah. And he does all these horrible things to this guy. Well, you you set it up as a bet with Satan.

I love the story of Joe. It’s my. It’s probably along with Revelations. My favorite thing in the book, because it’s it’s generally been perceived.

I think Christians like to perceive it as a very beautiful and meaningful thwarted. It is some of the language and truth is sort of beautiful. Some of the writing itself is rather poetic. But in terms of it being the ocelots puts it ludicrous. Look at it that way. He does it on that. He has no jokes. Good. Joe’s a good man. And he just allows Satan to completely wreck this guy’s existence just for that. And Billy, I would say for me, the absolute comedic highlight of the Bible and there’s a love. I love it as a piece of found comedy. It’s simply great. But I had to take it one shot of three or four pages. I would pick Garland’s appearance at the end of the book, Joe, because he is so out of control. He is so irrational. He’s so emotional. He is saying such crazy shit that makes no sense. He is just kind of like the spittle is flying, man. He seems like a pretty dyed lunatic on the street yelling at you. It’s wonderful. It’s the greatest pratfall. I mean, I’ve even kind of thought at various times this thing must have been written as a very sly satire because this pratfall. Mark Twain couldn’t have written it better. Voltaire couldn’t have written it better. Jonathan Swift couldn’t have written it better. It’s one of the most devastating pieces of satire I’ve ever read my life. It’s fantastically great and funny and poor job is just kind of huddled on the ground. It’s all these children are. Daddy’s completely broken, man. He’s covered with open source. And here’s the creator of the universe screaming at. Just be reading and telling crazy stories about how horses talk to him and how he talks to lightning and then going off on this riff about his pet sea monster. He can open the doors in its face and let little girls petted and is looney stuff. And while Joe was just huddled on the ground saying, please, please, God, forgive me, forgive me. And then, you know, the great climax of the story. Oh, God doesn’t. We’re supposedly right. It’s supposedly God restores your life. But he doesn’t it doesn’t do anything to restore jobe’s life. Joe’s poor wife has to have 10 more children, which off hand. We were told that, you know, the girls are hotter than the dead girls. So I guess that’s good. That’s an upgrade. And basically, his siblings restore his money and that’s it. God doesn’t do anything. At the end of all of that. So it’s absolute it’s a wonderful piece of comedy from beginning to end. The friends are just the most comedically horrible friends in the history of the world. They’re so mean you almost can’t believe it. Seeing it’s like Bugs Bunny because he just got such a fool and the story is so easy to outsmart. And then, you know, even the cameo bits, you know, like allyou Elihu. However, it’s pronounced the young guy who just walks in at a certain point goes, you know what? I’m going to straighten everything out. And he didn’t do anything. He doesn’t have anything different that he doesn’t have anything new to add and nobody ever even responds to it. He just takes over for like three chapters and then they just ignore him as if he didn’t say anything. It’s just genius. It’s absolute genius. And I had so much so that I’ve really thought maybe Solomon wrote. I mean, we don’t know.

Right. And I floated the idea that Solomon wrote it. And you get your biblical scholar types. You know, Solomon couldn’t have written it because it’s flip. What? But there’s as far as I can tell.

There’s one really great writer in the Old Testament, and it’s solid. Oh, there’s one great writer and that great writer wrote Ecclesiastes, which is great song songs is not great, but it’s really weird. And it’s really interesting that there is this kind of highly sexual love poem in the middle of a, you know, in the Bible. It just makes no sense. So that’s great. And then I would say the same person with PTSD as wrote Joe, because they’re just think they feel very similar. And wow, what if it was written? It’s satire. I mean, what if like it. Right? Way back then that was planted.

Yeah, almost as if they were they were writing it to dissuade people from believing in a just God.

Yeah. Well, here’s what I think. I think Solomon is saying I think Solomon is clearly like the super genius of all of of the of the Old Testament. He is clearly the biggest, you know. God himself says this is the smartest guy I ever met. And he’s he seems to be really smart, but he likes he likes women. He likes women too much. That’s his undoing. But he really is smart. And I think my theory is that what he’s saying to his people is like, look, we have this idea of God.

Right. Here is our story of God.

I’m going to write this story. I’m going to dramatize it and I’m going to show you what this guy would look like if he was actually true.

It’s bigger than that, you know.

It’s bigger than it doesn’t have to be that puny and stunted. Like, he’s. So that’s that’s of the great. There’s so many good jokes at the center of the Bible. But I would say maybe the one that just is the best and just the best comedic engine. Again, again, Janet again is how damned insecure this guy is. He’s not so insecure all the time.

You made the universe, man. You created everything. Why are you so needy?

He’s like this needy guy next door or just comes over and nuzzling. What do you think of me? What do you think of me as a slave? And get over it. Mannah.

Yeah, look at the Ten Commandments. How many are devoted just to his his massive ego?

That’s the deal, right? That’s the deal underneath all of this kind of gas, all the smoke and mirrors and the pomposity and cloaking it and in sort of pseudo grandiosity. It’s all just ego.

You underscored nicely as the rampant misogyny throughout the Bible.

Jesus. Oh, man. Oh, man. Yeah, it’s unbelievable. Well, you just take it from the beginning. I mean, you just start with Eve. She basically just gets instantly. She’s created. Right. Like, they don’t get to Adam and Eve. Don’t get to grow up. They don’t get to live normal lives. They don’t get to learn anything. They don’t get to be children. They don’t get to be teenagers. They don’t get to experience life. They’re just made. There is fully formed as, what, 20 year olds? Twenty five year or whatever. They might be somewhere between one would think, 18 and 24. Right. That would be my assessment. So I created as young adults with no experiences. And then. Within, it seems like a couple of days. The servant who has to be Satan because who else could be is effectively tells her the truth. The assassin doesn’t liar Satan’s like. Look, he’s not telling me the truth. You’re not going to talk if you. Which is true. Which is absolutely true. And she she listens. And in doing that, we we are all coerced. That is the set. Right. Isn’t that. That’s the Senate. That’s the original sin. Then she listens that she considers that possibility. So she read from the beginning. The woman is just blamed for everything that goes wrong. And then you turn from there and most of the women don’t even get names. They don’t get it right. Terror. He doesn’t even care. And then you get the unbelievably. And Mary, you know, gets. And I don’t know, does Miranda speak? I don’t know if Mary speaks. I don’t think she does. Really?

Well, she goes and visits.

On the way, on the cross or on the way to the cross.

Maybe. Yeah, but she’s there.

She could but she’s five and under. She gets a couple of lines of five and under and then the in a brilliantly.

Unbelievably horrible death of Jezebel, which is one of the computer highlights. Two is just he can’t he can’t brutalize Jezebel enough. You know, it’s like. Yeah, I threw her off for Gasol. Smash her on the rocks. Now have horns. Stomp on her now have dogs. Either now have the dogs, you know, shut her out. OK, fine. You know, it’s like, well, OK, dude, whatever man.

Whatever. Now, now this is.

Yeah, it’s that’s like coming from the mind of like a sick person, like a serious hater of women. That actual misogyny thread continues through your other religious book, The Buddha’s Story, who also seems to have a pretty ingrained dislike of women.

Yeah, it’s fascinating, isn’t it? It’s it’s getting at something. I haven’t yet figured it out, but it seems to me, perhaps, that if you’re a guy.

And you want to control the narrative. You want your story to be any story you want to. You want power over other people? Women would seem to be very threatened to that, maybe because they leuer because they’re they don’t.

Maybe they don’t buy in the same way. I’m not sure. Or maybe they lure your men away. They were your followers away. They we can you.

But we have this feeling that women are dangerous, that women shouldn’t be part of a group, that women are unclean, that there’s something like they’re they’re they’re they’re not fully human and actively evil.

I mean, here’s a quote from the Buddha book. It would be better for your penis to go into the mouth of a poisonous snake or a pit of hot coals than and to a woman.

I mean, partially, this is a real Buddhist because what he’s saying on top of the misogyny. It’s very novelistic because what he’s getting at is every time you have sex with a woman, you take the risk of impregnating her. And she’s she’s she wants to be pregnant. That’s what women want. They want to have a child, according to the Buddha. But having a child is a disaster because life is pain. Life is suffering. Life is life is bad. And the only worthy thing is to is to escape. Life is to go extinct. So every time you bring a new child into the world, that that’s a bad thing. You’re bringing them into a world of of of pain and suffering. So you shouldn’t do that because the goal is to end all this.

You know, people say ask also atheist, if we’ve read the Bible, always say how. Yes. Why do you think we’re atheist? I think people you know, it’s not. Richard Geer, mellow. I just want to meditate every day. Religion that people think it is.

No. They’ve gotten a pass there. They’ve somehow Buddhism has said, you know, at least in the US has been perceived as kind of the cool one.

You can be a Buddhist and you can be scientific. You can be a Buddhist. Hey, you could be an atheist. You can be cool. You know, they’re like the smugly, insufferably smug. It’s in high school or college. They’re just so self-satisfied. Oh, my God. The fraudulent such. I would say the fraud. Well, it’s no, it is much deeper than the fraudulence of Christianity because, again, Christianity, there’s just all this pain. And I mean, I’m not a Christianity. I think my book show that. But there’s a lot of pain and there’s a lot of shame. This is so smug and so gassy. And so therefore, that part of Judaism, a big part of Judaism, that’s, you know, you escape. Life is pain. You can escape the pain. Right. How do you escape pain? Don’t have any attachments. Cut off your tongue or want anything. Don’t eat anything that means don’t love it. That means don’t you shoot back to love your partner. It’s bad to love your children. He makes that really clear. The cruelty with which he treats his wife and his son is startling. And what makes it really startling is they think these stories make him look good, but they make him look absolutely horrible and like a toke, to use your word, like a total prick.

But supposedly you’re supposed to love ever. You’re supposed to have this general go to any Buddhist Web site. And it’s just they always leave. They cloak themselves in loving, calm, loving kindness. Weird. We’re just it’s just this beneficent sort of smile. And they’re just so filled with compassion for everyone. They’re fakes.

It’s fake.

Now, has there been any. So you’ve written these books. Have you had any repercussions either with family or friends or professionally for these books?

No. I don’t think anybody in the film business would care, actually. I mean, certainly nobody in Dong Tech world would care. In terms of family. No, not really. But I haven’t shared it with. This is my third book. And there were probably friends. I mean, they weren’t meaningful friends, meaningful friendships.

But there was a time when I could abide having a friendship with a conservative Christian.

And I could enjoy having those conversations, mainly because our kids were friends. And, you know, when your kids are friends, that throws you together. It can create very strange bedfellows, basically. But, you know, that’s I mean, in terms of blowback. I’m not really. On social media. So in terms of people wanting to Twitter attack me, I’m not there.

So what are you working on now?

I had to at least do a little due diligence and look look into Hinduism for a week or so, which I did.

And I ended up thinking, like, you know, it just doesn’t strike me as it does. And to me, the same way, I think because it’s polytheistic versus monotheistic kind of thing, polytheism just doesn’t it doesn’t that absolute truth thing. Oh, man, I really don’t like it. You know, I really, really don’t like these fakers who get out there and try and bully other people into accepting their laughable narratives of absolute truth and monotheism. Monotheism does do that. And then polytheism done or to me doesn’t seem to do it quite the same way.

I grew up religious, but I did grow up in a very new agey household because I grew up in Southern California in the 70s and my dad was really super driven by astrology and past lives and, you know, psychic phenomena of various kinds. I really grew up in that.

And so it’s kind of low hanging fruit because that those ideas are so dumb. They’re so laughably dumb, but they’re funny. So I’m kind of tech or something. So you do remember those conversations with God books from the 90s. Donald Walsh, do you happen to remember those? Little bit, yeah. Yeah. Whereas supposedly he’s channeling God. He’s having a back and forth dialog with God. And God is revealing, you know, his true essence and that they were hugely successful at making a big deal. So I find that kind of a funny starting point. Some time taker.

Well, we see you. We can find Bill and Tud face the music prime video. Where can we find your books?

Probably Amazon’s the best and easiest way. Which bookstores it’s in. I think it’s in Barnes and Noble.

Fantastic. Chris Matheson, thank you so much for talking to me today. Good luck with your future projects.

Thanks very much. Thanks for having me.

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Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown is executive director of Center for Inquiry–Los Angeles, and the founder of the Independent Investigations Group.