Everything You Know About God Is Wrong

The following article “Jesus of Nazareth Discusses His Failure” is written by H. G. Wells, one of over 40 articles in the Disinformation anthology I edited, Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion.


HappyTurningRuss Kick writes: H. G. Wells is best-remembered as a late-Victorian pioneer of science fiction, mainly due to his 1890s novels The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds. He cranked out dozens of books in numerous genres of fiction and nonfiction, and 1945—the year before his death—saw the publication of his last two books to come out during his lifetime: The Happy Turning: A Dream of Life and Mind at the End of Its Tether.

The Happy Turning is a slim, strange work that gets even stranger as it continues. Wells sets it up by claiming that sometimes he dreams about taking his daily walk and coming across a pathway he’s never noticed in real life. Taking this turn (the “Happy Turning”) leads him to the utopian Dreamland (a/k/a the Beyond), where his body is perfectly fit, where society knows no war, poverty, or inequality, and where his “subliminal self” lets loose with a flood of “cryptic and oracular” symbols.

Wells then steps back in time to relate some dreams he had when he was young, including the one that “made me an atheist.” Having read about “a man being broken on the wheel over a slow fire,” the preteen Wells had a nightmare. “By a mental leap which cut out all intermediaries, the dream artist made it clear that if indeed there was an all powerful God, then it was he and he alone who stood there conducting this torture.” Upon awakening, he felt that he had two alternatives: go insane or stop believing in God. “God had gone out of my life. He was impossible.”

The following article is an excerpt of “The Music’s Debt to Nonbelievers” by Dan Barker, one of 41 articles from the Disinformation anthology I edited, Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion. For more on Dan Barker, check out the Freedom From Religion Foundation (ffrf.org).


Irving Berlin (1888–1989)

How many patriotic Americans know that “God Bless America” was written by a man who did not believe in God? Or that it was intended as an anti-war anthem?

IrvingBerlinIrving Berlin is by any measure the greatest composer of popular American music, with hundreds of enduring hits, such as “White Christmas,” “Anything You Can Do,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “I Love a Piano,” “Always,” “Blue Skies,” “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Marie,” “Play a Simple Melody,” “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,” and “Easter Parade.”

Born in 1888 into a Russian-Jewish family who came to New York City in 1893 to escape religious persecution, he quickly shed his religious roots and fell in love with America. “Patriotism was Irving Berlin’s true religion,” notes biographer Laurence Bergreen.

“Though he is not a religious person,” his daughter Mary Ellin Barrett writes in her family memoir, “doesn’t even keep up appearances of being an observant Jew, he does not forget who his people are.” Irving and his nominally Catholic wife, Ellin, were married in an unannounced secular ceremony at the Municipal Building, not a church or synagogue…