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Jesus Was My Invisible Babysitter
Ricky Gervais is an English comedian, author, actor, director, producer, screenwriter and former pop musician. He achieved mainstream fame with his television series The Office and the subsequent series Extras, both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with friend and collaborator, Stephen Merchant. Besides writing and directing the shows, Gervais also played the lead roles of David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras. Gervais has also appeared in several Hollywood films, including For Your Consideration, Stardust, Night at the Museum and Ghost Town.
Question: How did you lose your religion?Gervais: Well, I love… I love Jesus. You know, I believed in God. I think, my mom wanted me to. I think, for a working class woman, who’s rushed off her feet, you know, the most she can hope for is the… their son don’t… so they don’t get killed in a bar room fight. And Jesus, I suppose, is an invisible, free babysitter, you know. If I can’t see you, someone’s watching you. Which is obviously misplace. Very sweet, you know, but misplaced. And I was about 8 and I was… I was doing something from the Bible and my brother came in, he was older than me, his name is Bob, still is, and he was about 19, and he said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m doing this for Jesus, God.” He said, “Why do you believe in God?” And my mom went, “Bob,” and I knew you. I knew then that she was hiding something from me and he was… he was telling the truth. And I thought about it. And I was a bit of a scientist even then. You know, I could read really well by the time I was 3. I suppose I was a bit of an experiment ‘cause I was the youngest by 11 years, you know. And I was into science and nature and I suppose I was a logical person. And I thought… Yeah. But I learn it through body language. I learn it through that human [interplay] between this two people. The one was worried about what the other one was going to tell me so I assume that my brother had something big to tell me and my mom, protecting me, didn’t want me to hear it. So I just made the conclusion that he was right.
Question: Do your beliefs affect your comedy? Gervais: No, I’m just being honest, you know. I mean, I… I can’t see that there could be a God, you know. I mean, spiritually and religion is two different things, don’t forget, you know. I can’t make myself believe something I don’t believe. I wish there was a God, you know. And I wish he was all the things people said he was, all powerful and kind and… and all that. By definition, the impossibility is overwhelming, to me. And then, there’s… Then, there’s religion, which use that truth for the… for their own personal gain. And that’s something else. And that’s [barren] and disgusting. Religious fascism is the only thing, apart from animal quarry, that gets my blood boiling. But people who believe in God doesn’t worry at all. You know, I live by… I live by Christian values, I suppose. You know, I live by… or any religious values that preaches forgiveness and, you know, do as you would be done by and… you know. I just do it for different reasons. I do it because I think this is my only time on Earth and I should… I should enjoy it and be part of it and celebrate it and be nice to everyone ‘cause we’re… we’re animals, we need to be loved and lead a decent life. So, yeah. If you believe in God and that gets you through and it makes you a nicer person, then… then so be it. But I just… I just… I don’t believe. And I feel sometimes that atheists, and I’m an atheist, not agnostic, one of the few things I’m sure of in life, I think they get a bad [press] that we take the art out of beauty in the world, which is not true. The fact the, you know, the Earth is 4.6 billion years old and, you know, the 4 million species of animal and… and they’ve evolved by accident is, I think, more beautiful than any intelligent design [that could claim].
In this personal narrative of the evolution of his faith, Ricky Gervais describes how and why he became an atheist.
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Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".