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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ricky Gervais on why he's an atheist

“Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. Buts [sic] that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”
You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

I was recently watching Ricky Gervais on The Graham Norton Show and thinking that I like him a little bit more every time I see an interview or a different side of his humor. My other favorite part of this is where he says that he always tries to give a sensitive, reasoned and honest answer, in an attempt not to be patronizing and impolite, only to find that the sensitive, reasoned and honest answer is taken as patronizing and impolite. Yeah, welcome to my world, Ricky. I'm actually not an atheist, but as an agnostic, a woman who doesn't want children, an academic who studies religion, and someone who spends a lot of time trying to  explain to people why their ideas are not as perfect as they think they are, I hear you on that dilemma.


  1. The God question. It's a tough one. One of my favorite television quotes ever was from Northern Exposure. I don't remember which episode it was, but the main character says something like this: "I admire atheists. It takes a lot of faith to believe that everything came from nothing."

    That really struck me, the idea that atheists have faith. I think that's part of the problem - people tend to think of faith and religion as the same thing. They're not. And since it's your life's work, who better than you to know that?

    I think, in fact, that you could easily make the argument that science is the new religion. (I'm sure someone much smarter than I actually has.) Religion started as a way to explain why things happened. People followed their religions blindly. People now follow science just as blindly.

    blah, blah. I could ramble about faith, religion and science for hours. Personally, I am a practicing Christian. I am a creationist that believes in evolution. I think people use both religion and science as an argument a "stick to beat people with."

    Finally, want/need proof that there is a God? The Saints won the Superbowl...

  2. I miss the Christian humanists. I think Pascale and Erasmus have some of the best philosophical Christian writing that exists. Pensees and In Praise of Folly are still frequent visitors on my shelf. If can ever write something as awesome and funny as Erasmus, I will die a happy woman.

  3. Jeannine, I kind of want a t-shirt that says, "I miss the Christian humanists." I haven't read Erasmus in a long time - so sharp and so funny all at once!