A Christmas treat for atheists

A Christmas treat for atheists September 12, 2008

ATHEIST comedian Robin Ince made the horrible mistake last year of agreeing to participate in a debate staged by ITV’s London Talking. The subject was to be “Is Britain becoming more secular?”, but was changed at the last minute to “Who is taking the Christ out of Christmas?”

Robin Ince
Robin Ince
Despite all his efforts to convince the audience that, as an atheist, he wasn’t against Christmas, but was utterly opposed to the barrage of nonsensical press reports which suggest that secular forces are at work in Britain to destroy Christmas, he failed get his message across.
As a result, he later revealed, he almost burst a blood vessel.
The encounter did, however, have a positive outcome. Once he had cooled down, Ince, according to The Skepic Magazine, sat down to arrange a rational celebration of the Christmas season to prove that “he does enjoy this season of laziness, alcoholism and regret”.
It takes the form of a show called Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, featuring a host of entertaining guests, which will be staged at the Bloomsbury theatre on December 19 at 7.30om. Tickets are £20 and you can book online here, or call the box office on 020 7388 8822
Rather than talking of Jesus’s birth, acclaimed science author Simon Singh will talk about the birth of the universe. Instead of talking about gold, frankincense and myrrh, Bad Science Columnist Ben Goldacre will talk of alternative medicine and charlatans, while Josie Long will talk about the wonder of the stars.
So far other confirmed guests are Stewart Lee, Phil Jupitus, Mark Thomas (who might be bringing along his grandfather’s travelling harmonium for a carol sing-a-long), Natalie Haynes, Chris Addison, Christina Martin, Jo Neary and Richard Dawkins.
Music will be provided by, among others, Tim Minchin, Darren Hayman, Robyn Hitchcock, Phil Harris, Gavin Osborn, Colin Watson (aka Waen Shepherd) and the fabulous Martin White Orchestra.
The evening will also include projections of classic archive footage of Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman.
Says The Skeptic:

It’s not just for agnostics and atheists; hopefully it will be a night celebrating the wonder of the universe – so as long as you’re not a crazed fundamentalist you can enjoy it. If you are a crazed fundamentalist, then please come and hold a placard up outside and shout like a halfwit.

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  • Sounds great – I’ll be there !
    If it’s any good (as I’m sure it will be) then hopefully it’ll become an annual event – an atheist christmas service !!!

  • Lenny Longlegs

    It depresses me that I live so far up North. This looks like the cure for all my Xmas blues.
    I look forward to reports and footage.


    Good for him! I wish I could afford to come see it in person. Maybe in a few years, some kind person will share it on the web.

  • Robin Ince

    Eight Lessons and Carols for Godless People
    Due to extraordinary demand, a second Godless Christmas show has been added. Acts who are currently confirmed are Josie Long, Richard Herring, Ben Goldacre, Natalie Haynes, Stewart Lee, Simon Singh, Jo Neary, Darren hayman, Waen Shepherd, the Martin White mini fax machine orchestra, Peter Buckley Hill and Robin Ince.
    Tickets should be on sale 29th September (though they might possibly go on sale early on 26th)

  • Robin Ince

    oh I am an idiot, i forgot to put the date. the show will be on 18th December.

  • robin ince

    the second 9 lessons and carols for Godless People show is confirmed for 18th December with almost exactly the same bill including Richard Dawkins, Stewart Lee, Ben Goldacre, Josie Long etc. Robyn Hitchcock is unable to do this date and Mark Thomas and Phill Jupitus are not as yet confirmed. Tickets available from Monday at http://www.thebloomsbury.com