David Baddiel: ‘Football fills a God-shaped hole’

Sam Leith in The Guardian:

David Baddiel was six years old when his mother told him death was like a long sleep from which you never wake up. “I think from that point,” he says, “I never really wanted to go to sleep again.” That night, he lay on the top bunk of his bed, fervently praying – “probably” the first and last time he has prayed with any sincerity – that “my life as it was in Dollis Hill in 1971 would still somehow continue after death”.

More than half a century later Baddiel is still an insomniac, and he’s still terrified by the prospect of dying. “I don’t quite believe anyone who says they’re not,” he says. That childhood memory, and that conviction, is what kicks off his latest book, The God Desire, which delivers in a brisk 110-odd pages what Baddiel considers “an absolutely slam-dunk argument” against the existence of God.

More here.