I just finished watching Ricky Gervais’s new mini series called Derek. It is a Netflix original and I think there is talk of more episodes being made, I’m not completely sure though.
All in all, I enjoyed it. It is painfully British which to some may be too dry to handle, but I love that stuff. Underwhelming TV is my kind of TV. I am a fan of British wit and humor and this show displays enough of that to put a smile on my face. The characters (aside from maybe one) are tirelessly endearing and you root for them almost as soon as you meet them.
Let me set the stage. Derek is a simple man who may have some form of Autism and he works at a care home for the elderly. Hannah also works there and has been doing so for 15 years. She is the voice of reason and keeps the home running well. Dougie is Derek’s friend and roommate who is also a care-taker and mr-fix-it at the home. He is the Eeyore of the group; always focusing on the negative. Kev is Derek’s sex-attack and self-proclaimed loser friend. He is the hardest one to watch as most of his endeavors and vocabulary are disgusting.
The show is funny and serious all at the same time. It tackles difficult subjects like the purpose of life and death, and does so with a lot of heart.
However for an outspoken atheist (Gervais) the writing is rather preachy. That might come as a surprise to him, or maybe not. The relentless message being preached through every episode is: it doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe as long as you are kind. Or Kindness is magic! In fact the last episode worked so hard to bring tears to the audience and for seemingly one reason, I believe Gervais wanted everyone to walk away from the TV with his incessant message; kindness is all that matters.
It’s a good message and I can get behind it.
But there is just one problem; it doesn’t fit in with Ricky Gervais’s atheistic worldview. And yet the secular message of today across the board is the same as his; kindness is the way. Just turn on Ellen and wait till the end of her show when she says be kind to one another. She tags it on the end of every single one of her shows. That’s a lot of preaching.
Now let me be clear. Obviously an atheist can produce a show that doesn’t completely agree with his/her own personal beliefs. In the same way a Christian or Muslim artist can do the same. In this case I do believe this to be an exception, because by the end of the series it is clear that Ricky Gervais has been making a personal statement. Which has been affirmed by his own tweets.
Now excuse me while I get a little philosophical.
The implication of atheism is the exact opposite of what Gervais exhorts in his show. Dignity for the elderly and simple in mind is unsubstantiated with the secular philosophy of life and therefore should have no place in Derek’s message. By the atheistic view the weak should be disregarded and the simple ignored for the benefit of the strong and smart. Survival of the fittest is baseless unless it is quickly applied in this manner. Which in turn means lovely old folks and the character Derek himself are undeserving of kindness due to the fact that they are weaker than the rest of us.
The atheist can only say that as humans we should do what is right or ethical in our own eyes, because there is no greater deity deciding what is good or bad. So it is up to you and me personally to decide that gap. And yet we all decry the act of a dictator exterminating an entire ethnicity, even though he is doing what is right in his own eyes.
That is why there is no place for personal morals or right and wrong in a belief system that says there is no such thing. No God, equals no kindness is good and meanness is bad.
And yet, the pure message of Derek is still; kindness is the way. Which truthfully doesn’t surprise me, because none of us really want a dog-eat-dog world. When the weak are picked on, something inside of us rage’s against its injustice. But why is that, unless it was put there by someone or something. Why would so many of us feel that is somehow wrong?
You see, kindness is a beautiful thing worth our tears and enjoyment when we see it displayed around us. Giving the elderly dignity is lovely because its good and right. Kindness is magic! In fact it is one of the many fruits of the Spirit. God created it for our benefit and when we display this good gift the whole world is better off.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12
I don’t need Ricky Gervais or Ellen to tell me to be kind to others because God already told me and you that a really really long time ago. And having it come from Him makes much more sense.
Kindness is Gods…if you love it, then thank Him!