A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the humor book, God Made Me Do It. The author, Marc Hartzman, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book:
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: God told me to write this book. People ask me this a lot, and i don't have a particularly profound answer. But I will say i get tired of hearing God get blamed and credited for everything (blamed for murders, credited for winning football games). People need to take a little more responsibility for their actions. And ultimately, as i looked into the material, there was a lot of entertaining stuff.
Q: What was your goal in publishing this text?
A: Two things really -- to make people laugh and to make people think a bit about the good and bad religion can bring.
Q: Can you talk about your spirituality and how you see God communicating in the world (if at all)?
A: I don't consider myself religious, but I am fascinated by the thought of a supreme being and the fact that it's one of those things we'll never really be able to prove or disprove. Human beings are such a small blip on this planet's history -- what might God have in store over the next few million years?
Can God communicate with us? Seems like that should be within his set of powers -- which means, maybe He did talk to some of those people. He's got 6 billion people to look after, so if He slips up now and then, maybe we should cut Him a little slack.
Q: How would you respond to people who might call your book heretical?
A: The book is not heretical, the people in the book, however, might be. The book simply presents real stories from the past 100 years and gives real quotes and the context they were made in.
Q: What kind of response have you received from your book? Is it what you expected?
A: The response has actually been great. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, because as soon as God is in the title you're open to controversy. But so far people have taken it the right way -- those who are religious recognize that the majority of the people in the book are the ones giving religion a bad name. And of course, it's ultimately a humor book, so that's come through as well.
Q: What role does humor play in this world?
A: Where would this world be without humor? It's one of our great gifts from God, it's a means to laugh in good times and cope in bad. It keeps us healthy -- it's actually scientifically proven that laughter is good you. The phrase "laughter is the best medicine" has a lot of truth to it. There's even a movement called Laughter Yoga that's based on that fact.
Q: How long did it take you to compile all of these stories? What resources did you use to find them?
A: About 6 months. I used internet archives and spent a lot of time at the NY Public library going through old newspaper archives. I was truly amazed at how much i found.