Ricky Gervais: why I’m an atheist

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.

30 Comments

  1. Jackson
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks very much for this link!

  2. Posted December 19, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    “F–ing fly then, you lunatic!”

    Oh my–I can hear his voice in my head without going to the link…

    *Love* Ricky Gervais–thanks! :-))

    • Posted December 19, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      When you’re on your way down, the proper response is “my flying ability doesn’t work like that! (It works in mysterious ways.)”

    • sasqwatch
      Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      To which an acceptable response would be: “It’s another way of flying.”

  3. theshortearedowl
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    “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.

    • MadScientist
      Posted December 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      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.

    • Posted December 20, 2010 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      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 ;) )

      • daveau
        Posted December 20, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Yes, CONTROLS, people…

      • Posted December 20, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        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.

  4. Posted December 19, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    The logic is really that simple. It astonishes me how we’re still such a minority.

    • JS1685
      Posted December 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      I was just about to post this very thing. So much debate, pretty much none of which should be necessary.

      • Posted December 19, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        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.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Posted December 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Bwahahaha!! That has to be the *best* one-paragraph summary of the bible I’ve ever seen. :-))

  5. Marella
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    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!

  6. MadScientist
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t think Gervais would be known well enough in the USA to be featured in the WSJ.

    • JS1685
      Posted December 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      I think he’s quite popular over here. He’s appeared on most of the nighttime talk-shows more than once.

    • Posted December 20, 2010 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      He’s been on letterman at least three times–made ol’ Dave laugh pretty hard, too:-)) It’s all on YT.

    • Kevin
      Posted December 20, 2010 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      He has an HBO special right now. It’s his second.

      His take on Noah is spot on.

  7. Posted December 19, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • The Informant!
      Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      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.

      • Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:35 am | Permalink

        oh yeah right. Sorry, Ricky!

      • Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:37 am | Permalink

        I was conflating it with A History of Violence. That movie has a lot of lying in it too.

      • Posted December 20, 2010 at 5:49 am | Permalink

        Just watched that a bit ago on YT–could hardly breathe for laughing!

      • bhoytony
        Posted December 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the Noah’s Ark bit

        • bhoytony
          Posted December 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Oops! I just meant to post a link, I didn’t think it would embed it in the post.

  8. gk4ca
    Posted December 20, 2010 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    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 … :D

  9. Dominic
    Posted December 20, 2010 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    De-fenestration!

  10. Posted December 20, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    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?

    • Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Shatterface
        Posted December 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        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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