“In missile silos from Omaha to Leningrad fingers were poised over launch buttons. American bombers were flying provocatively close to Soviet borders, Russian submarines were running threatening forays into American waters – but in Crumlin, with the threat of nuclear annihilation just hours away … Father Cullen’s only concern was a pre-emptive strike against the sins of the flesh.”
Faithless is a blisteringly funny memoir whose central theme concerns the break-up of the author’s relationship with a man-made deity. Sacred cows are butchered with sharp wit, deities are probed with the zeal of a meticulous proctologist, and all that is miraculous is interrogated under the hot light of reason.
All of this is accomplished by viewing religion through the memories of a young boy growing up in Ireland in the 1950s and 60s whose already jaundiced eye had begun to see the flaws in blind faith.
Growing up in a country in the thrall of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and President Eamon de Valera, Tony Philpott provides an atmospheric evocation of Ireland in mid-twentieth century. Though much has changed since, he nonetheless shows how the political and religious ethos of the times still casts dark shadows over the Ireland of today.
But perhaps more importantly, Faithless is genuinely funny. While it may skewer cherished beliefs with pointed sarcasm, it does so without ill will and its irreverence is intended to provoke laughter as much as thought. All that’s asked of the reader is that you bring an open mind – however the more fervent among you may want to bring your Rosary beads!
“… a fascinating book, fabulously funny ... Tony Philpott writes beautifully ... and movingly ... his knowledge of the subject is remarkable ... and it is hard to deny what he says..." – Joe Jackson, The Irish Times