For God’s Sake By Alan Budge
The story of one person’s tragi-comic quest for spiritual enlightenment
For God’s Sake
By Alan Budge
Reviewed by David Stuckey
This book (subtitled “Religion, Atheism and why I gave them up”) is said to be the story of “one person’s tragi-comic quest for spiritual enlightenment”. You could have fooled me.
Budge’s quest apparently took him along well-trodden paths of trendy enlightenment - India, China, Tibet (and areas of West Yorkshire). His quest for truth led him to name-check Marianne Faithfull and the Dalai Lama among others, and includes “an enlightened descent into alcoholism and misery”.
Many years ago I recall reviewing the movie Performance, which starred James Fox and Mick Jagger along with other stars of the ‘swinging sixties.” Fox was to eventually find enlightenment and purpose through an American organisation in this country, which led to him being involved in campus evangelism (also in Yorkshire).
Asked whether his involvement in the Swinging Sixties blew his mind, James said “Truthfully my mind was blown well before then”.
Budge’s mind is not so much blown as muddled. His chronicle is said to be spirituality without the usual self-help smugness, written by a normal, flawed human being, in the hope of engaging a similar audience.
We also learn that he has a long-standing interest in spirituality, having worked for a number of faith-based organisations, and “having recovered from the resultant religious mania - and some other addictions besides - he now works in community empowerment”.
Given that the 20th word of his introduction is the f-word (which is repeated many times through his narrative along with other equally surprising choices from a street-wise vocabulary) … “For God’s Sake” seems an apt title which should herald alarm bells rather than heavenly trumpets.
David Stuckey is a journalist and member of Maghull Baptist Church