Ricky Gervais’ Atheist Story

Comedian (and star of Britain’s The Office) Ricky Gervais discusses “How I went from Jesus-loving Christian to fun-loving infidel… in one afternoon”:

But anyway, there I was, happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said, in a tone that I knew meant “shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong, it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

Wow. No God. If Mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. Not a world by design, but one by chance. I learned of evolution—a theory so simple and obvious that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it…

But living an honest life—for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.

(Thanks to Matthew Feath for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature.

    It may come as a shock to Gervais, but Christians get to share in those gifts too. Sorry, but atheists don’t have any exclusive ownership of truth, science, or nature.

  • Karen

    It may come as a shock to Gervais, but Christians get to share in those gifts too. Sorry, but atheists don’t have any exclusive ownership of truth, science, or nature.

    He’s just expressing his own reactions to deconversion, Mike C. Apparently the religion he was raised in didn’t allow him to appreciate “truth, science, nature” the way that yours does.

    The fundamentalism that I was raised with, and followed for 30 years, required me to despise and mistrust science and to view nature and truth in very proscribed, narrow means that didn’t allow me to fully appreciate them either.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Apparently the religion he was raised in didn’t allow him to appreciate “truth, science, nature” the way that yours does.

    At 8-years old? In a family where apparently neither the mom nor the older brother actually believed? I could be reading it wrong, but somehow I doubt he felt very cut off from “truth, science, and nature” by his religion at 8-years old.

    And sure, some types of religion do discourage people from appreciating these things, but what does this have to do with atheism? As many here have pointed out, atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in God. But a lack of belief in God isn’t necessary to regain an appreciation for “truth, science, and nature”. Gervais’ atheism is therefore incidental to all of that.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    I don’t know how familiar you are with Ricky Gervais in America but he has a way of stating things that is very much in his own style. Some things are very understated and when you think about them for a moment it’s like a little light goes on and you say “Yuck, that disgusting” or “Wow, that’s so true”. At other times he completely overstates a very minor point just to leave you hanging. He is a comedian after all.

    What I’m trying to say is that what is written may actually have a very different emphasis from what was said. Although the meaning is still important.

  • Chas

    I doubt he felt very cut off from “truth, science, and nature” by his religion at 8-years old.

    Perhaps an adult expressing his thoughts at 8 years old as an adult and maybe “backfilling” its level of importance.

    I remember at 9 trying to reconcile how God could only be the god of the Jews for thousands of years then decide to be God for everyone after Christ was born. At the time, I might have expressed it as unfair or cheating that God ignored all those other people for so long. As an adult I credit that relevation as opening my eyes that adults (or my religion) didn’t have all the answers, and over the years I’ve given it more philosophical importance then my 9-year-old brain could have handled.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Perhaps an adult expressing his thoughts at 8 years old as an adult and maybe “backfilling” its level of importance.

    Probably so.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I don’t know how familiar you are with Ricky Gervais in America

    I’ve watched the British version of The Office. To be honest, I didn’t really find it (or Gervais) very funny, and that’s speaking as one who typically appreciates British humor.

    but you make a good point hoverfrog

  • http://ranaban.blogspot.com RNB

    Gervais was also writer and star of “Extras”, in my opinion an even better show than The Office. I mention that because in one episode was a discussion comparing an atheist worldview with the alleged “hope” offered by a supposed christian afterlife – a very rare thing on prime time television.

  • http://blackskeptic.wordpress.com blackskeptic

    It makes me nervous when atheists say, “there is no god.”

  • Iztok

    “It makes me nervous when atheists say, “there is no god.””

    Most atheists I know would say “I don’t believe there is god” vs. saying “I believe there is no god”. Small but important difference. One implies lack of belief and other belief in non existence.

  • Carl

    Most atheists I know would say “I don’t believe there is god” vs. saying “I believe there is no god”. Small but important difference. One implies lack of belief and other belief in non existence.

    I would say, “there is no god” just like I would say, “Santa isn’t real.” Of course we don’t know 100% for sure, but we don’t really know anything 100% for sure.


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