Reader Aidan Karley called my attention to the Irish comedian Dave Allen (1936-2005; real name David Tynan O’Mahoney). He seems to be a forerunner of Dara O’Briain, sans the profanity.
Here’s Allen recalling his initiation to Catholicism at the age of four. It’s hilarious, but the hilarity comes largely from his befuddled encounter with religious “truth”. I’m sure this will ring true for many Catholics.
I’m surprised that Allen got away with taking the mickey out of Catholicism in the UK of the 60s and 70s, but perhaps criticism of religion was more tolerated then.
Wikpedia says this about Allen’s religious beliefs:
He was a religious skeptic (according to Allen himself, “what you might call a practising atheist”, and often joked “I’m an atheist, thank God”) as a result of his deeply held objections to the rigidity of his strict Catholic schooling. Consequently, religion became an important subject for his humour, especially the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, generally mocking church customs and rituals rather than beliefs. In 1998 he stated “The hierarchy of everything in my life has always bothered me. I’m bothered by power. People, whoever they might be, whether it’s the government, or the policeman in the uniform, or the man on the door – they still irk me a bit. From school, from the first nun that belted me— people used to think of the nice sweet little ladies … they used to knock the fuck out of you, in the most cruel way that they could. They’d find bits of your body that were vulnerable to intense pain—grabbing you by the ear, or by the nose, and lift you, and say ‘Don’t cry!’ It’s very hard not to cry. I mean, not from emotion, but pain. The priests were the same. And I sit and watch politicians with great cynicism, total cynicism.”