In this YouTube video put up two days ago, comedian Ricky Gervais discusses nonbelief with Stephen Colbert. While it’s not clear how much of Colbert’s shtick, and his critique of atheism, really represents his own views and how much comes from questions that he thinks might interest his audience, I suspect that Colbert, a liberal Catholic, really does mean some of the questions he asks. To wit:
- Why is there something instead of nothing? Why does the Universe exist? Is there a prime mover?
- How can you be convinced of your atheism? Isn’t atheism just a matter of faith? We’re just atheists because people told us to be, right?
- Colbert’s strong desire to direct his “gratitude for existence” towards something or someone—an entity Colbert calls “God”.
But at least he’s respectful of Gervais’s views, and Gervais handles the questions very well, especially the one on “faith” in atheism. I have to say that I’m getting a bit weary of the “I-believe-in-one-god-less-than-you-do,” but it is a penetrating argument, and perhaps hasn’t spread as far as it should.