Ricky Gervais: why I’m an atheist

December 19, 2010 • 7:17 pm

Gervais’s Christmas message on the Wall Street Journal website Speakeasy. Excerpt:

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith”. If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

And lots more.

31 thoughts on “Ricky Gervais: why I’m an atheist

  1. “75 percent of Americans are God-­fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.”

    I can’t be bothered to fact-check this, but it’s priceless.

    1. I can’t remember what the numbers are, but with each survey of religious beliefs of prisoners, the godless are a smaller percentage within prisons compared to folks outside prison (as determined by the Census), just as poor black folks are a far larger population within prisons compared to free communities.

    2. As far as I can tell its more or less accurate, but it doesn’t tell us as much as you’d think, as professing religion in prison is a good way to get privileges, as well as a fsst track to have claims of reform believed.
      (It might also imply that atheists are too smart to get caught 😉 )

      1. Those numbers are based on entry polls, which are taken to make sure that the prisoners are provided with proper religious celebrations, etc. They do not take into account prison conversions, which would be what you are describing.

      1. No joke.

        I mean, we’re talking about a book that opens with a magic garden, talking animals, and an angry giant. It features talking plants that give magic wand lessons. And it ends with an utterly bizarre zombie slasher porn fantasy, complete with the undead zombie king commanding his thralls to fondle his intestines through his gaping chest wound.

        I still can’t figure out how it is that these people expect us to take them seriously.



  2. Wow. No God. If mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa?

    This is so funny, usually it’s the other way around!

  3. Ricky Gervais is an underappreciated power against magical thinking. Has anybody not seen The History of Lying? You should.

    I think a movie is very powerful for getting to young people. A movie like that is a tremendous innoculation against the religious mind virus. It also gets to a whole lot of kids who aren’t going to put down their video games long enough to read God is Not Great, say.

    1. His film is called “The Invention of Lying.”

      And his most recent standup special(aired last night) on HBO was AWESOME, complete with a hilarious de-explication of a children’s Noah’s Ark book.

  4. Very good talk by Gervais. Thanks to introduce me to this atheist.
    I was a catholic boy too, but my transformation was much more protracted than gervais’ one-hour.
    No wonder he became a funny man! This poverty raised guy is indeed very lucky … 😀

  5. Why? Why do people still self-censor to “f—”, “f***” or “f-ing”? EVERYONE reads the word as “fuck”.

    This sort of false reverence is all too reminiscent of religion and their spelling as “God” or “G—D” or some such. This sort of cowardice – to me – almost completely ruins the message.

    Or is it editorial policy? Why not talk like grown-ups do?

    1. You can be pretty sure it’s editorial policy. It’s hardly likely to be Rickie Gervais’s personal squeamishness.

      Craig Ferguson mocks the convention every few minutes on his show – he’s always saying fuck or fucking, which gets bleeped, and a little flag appears so that we can’t read his lips either. V. funny.

      1. Having been a fan of Gervaise since The 11 O’clock Show on Channel 4 I’m certain there’s no way the censorship comes from him!

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