The Montana Kaimin, the independent newspaper of the University of Montana, was very kind enough to give me an interview regarding the release of the book. My friend, Callan Berry (who, I might add, is a fabulously talented cartoon artist and writer) was the inquisitor. Take a look!
We sat down with University of Montana junior Joshua Kelly to talk about his soon-to-be-released book, “Oh! Your God.” Here’s what he had to say.
Montana Kaimin: I hear you are coming out with a book soon.
Joshua: I am indeed. It is called: “Oh! Your God. The Evil Idea that is Religion.” It will be released by Dangerous Little Books at the end of April or beginning of May, if everything stays on track like it’s been scheduled.
MK: What’s it about?
J: It’s a non-fiction observation that essentially lays out my argument as to why the idea of God is evil. Quite often people use the straw man argument of organized religion or dogma and say that human beings have warped religion, turned it into something evil. They have made it into a grotesque thing, which it was not so previously, and this is not the case. It’s astounding how many people who call themselves people of faith — no matter what their particular brand of poison — have not read their own holy text, or chose to skip over pieces of them that are less then appraising. And so the book is an examination of all these pieces — anecdotally, historically, socially, and theologically — that lays out the argument that there is no such thing as a good religion. Or one that is wholly untainted by pieces of humanity that we despise most, namely racism and sexism, entropy, chaos, violence, etc.
MK: So it’s not religion that’s the problem but the people behind it?
J: No, it’s the exact inverse. The thing you hear the most often is a person says “Well these bad things are done in the name of God,” and quite often it is the holy texts themselves that mandate these terrible actions. For example, people became much more aware of this after 9/11, the interest in Islamophobia, Islamofacism and the subjective verses of the Quran that essentially entail Jihad. People began to be much more commercially invested in them, but forgetting, of course, the Quran is essentially a mockup of the Old Testament itself, and that the very same verses that condemn what we now know outside of Islam as infidels or apostates to the faith are actually drawn from verses of Deuteronomy, where God of Hebrew and Christian religions tell us to bludgeon and stone and destroy all non-believers, whether or not they are people in our faith, or people we love, family. That’s just an example to show that it is not what people do with religion but religions themselves that are the poisonous influence.
MK: How long have you been writing this?
J: I started in February of last year, and finished in August. I think it will be about 250 pages in its finished typeset edition — because it’s non-fiction I think it needs to be a readable chunk. I’ve found some books that just drown you in text, and you just never get to the end of them. And so I try and keep the argument succinct as possible.
MK: What’s it like balancing school and publishing a book?
J: Easier than you’d expect. I got lucky that the book was picked up by a publishing company, as opposed to self-publishing. If I had done self-publishing, I would be doing all the work itself, and it would be a much more arduous process. Dangerous Little Books has taken very good care of me. I don’t have very much to do with it at all.
MK: Anything else you would like to say?
J: Umm … No.
MK: Buy it?
J: You should definitely buy it.
“Oh, Your God! The Evil Idea that is Religion” by UM student Joshua Kelly will be available at all major book retailers soon.