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January 21st, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Ricky Gervais says atheism shouldn't offend

Ricky Gervais tells CNN's Piers Morgan why he's an atheist, and why his jokes about God shouldn't offend believers.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • TV

soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Peace2All

    Quite frankly, I enjoyed the interview with Ricky, and... I don't find anything wrong nor disrespectful in ...'anything' he said.

    He does good for the sake of doing good and it is the right thing to do. No religion mandate from a deity required.

    And one of the main differences I see, is that he is 'not' trying to impose nor proselytize his atheistic views on everyone else.

    He just doesn't care what others believe, nor is he putting people down for them.

    In contrast to the religious zealots who seem to not only proselytize, but attempt to impose their beliefs on everyone–in Government, Legal System, School Systems, Science, etc... THAT is a big difference.

    Personally, I enjoyed the interview and Ricky's philosophy.

    Peace...

    January 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Jason

      In the interview he doesn't try to proselytize his atheistic views but he wrote and starred in an entire movie which does attempt exactly that called "The Invention of Lying." I love his comedy (except for that movie because it just plain wasn't funny), but it is not true to paint the picture that he is not trying to proselytize. He definitely is...

      I DO believe in God. I don't think it is represented by the religions. I don't know what "IT" is... it might just all be US as a whole.

      I don't mind that he is an Atheist at all. I don't even mind if he tries to spread his religion of Atheism either. I'll still watch his movies and laugh at his jokes.

      Jason

      February 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  2. Russ

    Being an atheist is not offensive. But it's hard to take Gervais seriously on this, because in his humor he so clearly wants his atheism to be offensive.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Bob

    What I don't understand from believers in God is the following.

    You accept that there is a God. Fine, I understand that. But looking at the world you have to realize that there are people of different faiths who have mutually exclusive ideas about God. Each side has their own people who claim to have been visited by God.

    As a sane and reasonably intelligent person, don't you ask yourself "Is my faith right?"

    Don't you owe it to God to investigate about other religions and do your damndest to find the true faith he wishes you to worship in?

    January 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • CW

      @ Bob,

      Good question....here is your answer....All the answers are in the Bible.

      Is my faith right....per the Bible...yes.....does it take Faith to know this...Yes.

      Don't need to investigate other religions....you make a good point....to know them so I can help spread the good news to those that follow false Gods...good point.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @CW,
      So someone's faith in the Koran, Torah, or the Book of Mormon is just as valid as your faith in the Bible?

      January 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Nonimus.
      Don't be ridiculous!
      Those books are false because my book says it is the only one with The Truth. I know those other books say the same thing, but they're lying.
      Trust me – I have the One True Faith.
      If you believe me, I've got a very nice bridge out in Brooklyn for sale. Cash only, in small unmarked bills.

      January 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @CW

      You replied to Bob: "All the answers are in the Bible."

      Hmmm... Do you know, that there are thousands of different Christian denominations? Each of these denominations can cite passages in the bible to "prove" theirs is the one true faith. The one true interpretation.

      Many of these denominations believe only they will be "saved". All the rest will be damned.

      How do you know you have chosen correctly?

      Believers of every religion, Christian or otherwise, feel that they have found the true god(s). Monks set themselves on fire. Muslim extremists blow themselves to pieces. Faith enables them.

      Faith does not ensure that what they are dying for is real.

      All children are born atheists. Parents and society begin to indoctrinate the kids from birth.

      If a child is born to Christian parents in the United States, it is most likely that the child will become a Christian.

      If a child is born to Muslim parents in Iran, it is most likely that the child will be a follower of Islam.

      If you, CW, had been raised by Muslim parents in Iran, you would now be squawking, "Allah Akbar".

      Humans have no propensity for any one god or gods. It is one of the reasons I am an atheist.

      If a God does exist, then we have to explain why there are so many versions of Him.

      Since different religions and different denominations of the same religion give different examples of what God wants and who/what God is, the argument can be made that it is impossible for all religions to be correct in describing God or in defining His wants.

      So, how do you know your are right, CW? Shouldn't you have some evidence, before you get on your soap box?

      All religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong. There may be no god, or we could have not as yet, discovered Him.

      Cheers!

      January 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Bob

      > Is my faith right....per the Bible...yes.....does it take Faith to know this...Yes.

      But then by that logic, the Muslim is correct. And so is the hindu, and so is the druid.

      And they all have faith. So, my question to you is this. If faith can point other people in the wrong direction (assuming your faith is correct), then how do you know your faith is correct and valid?

      January 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      *sigh* Because the bible tells him so, Bob. Don't you get it? Sheesh! 😉

      January 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      CW,
      Where does it say in the Bible that the Bible has all the answers?

      January 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  4. Cate

    It amazes me how cruel and hateful many religious fanatics can be. CW, you feel joy in the idea of God condemning people to hell just because they never developed the capacity to believe and possess faith? If that is the way God is then he is not good, nor deserving of our love and devotion. A god who loves us, should understand that and accept us anyways.

    I have never been capable of faith even as a child, it makes no sense to me. That doesn't stop me from doing good and treating people in a moral and ethical manner. And if that means I will go to he11 when I die then all I can say is I'll be surrounded by like minded people and that's fine with me.

    January 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • CW

      @ Cate,

      You hit the nail on the head. Call me what you will..but as I recall our Lord Jesus rebuked people when they needed it. A lot of the people who post here...need a lot of prayer(which I will pray for them..they need it)....and God to hit them over the head..because that is what its going to take but it will be too late at that time. As for hitting the nail on the head, Just because you do good....consult the Bible...Good works won't get you to heaven. See John 3:16....which says you MUST have FAITH. As far as being capable of that....that is your choice.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • riverrunner

      CW I know you can't comprehend this but you are exhibiting classic signs of delusion. You have no basis for your beliefs but what you were taught. The things in your book simply do not happen. Miracles NEVER occur. Prayer is never answered in a way that is different than praying to a milk jug. Yet you condemn people to your imaginary torture chamber for doubting your mythical belief system? It's beyond appalling.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Pragmatic

      @CW
      Doesn't the bible also say to sell all your belongings and give everything to the poor in order to get into heaven? I don't see much of that going on.

      January 22, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • NL

      CW-
      I can understand you're saying that we atheists need your prayer, but all we seem to hear from you is your condemnation. Can you see why people don't see you as a very positive Christian spokesperson?

      January 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • LoriDD

      @ Cate – I agree with everything you said.

      CW – call to mind the scientifically proven "God Spot" of the brain which, when activated, with produce visions of angels and godly revelations.

      Of course, the religious preachers say, "God would build into our brains a way of "seeing him," and the scientists say that the brain has evolved a way of giving us a higher-purpose-than-ourselves in order to propell the common good.

      We will never agree. CW & Co. will continue to pray that unbelievers will roast in hell; while unbelievers will continue to affirm that all of us will eventually know the true and final answer when we actually meet the end of our earthly lives.

      As you, Cate, so eloquently expressed, "all I can say is I'll be surrounded by like-minded people, and that's fine with me." Any God who demands otherwise does not deserve my devotion.

      February 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  5. Susan

    Ricky Gervais has a lovely way of explaining his point of view, which happens, in this case, to be my point of view as well. Why should believers be offended when atheists say they do not believe? I am happy to be an atheist and I am not ashamed of that happiness.

    If I say I am happy to know how to play the piano, non-pianists should not be offended. I'm not criticizing them for not playing the piano, or implying that they are "wrong" for not playing the piano. I have chosen to learn to play the piano and they have not. It should be no different when discussing religious belief.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • NL

      Perhaps it's more like saying "I'm happy I'm a non-smoker" in a room full of smokers. The ones who are most offended may be the ones who really enjoy being smokers, but can't help taking your comment as a judgment against their habit.

      January 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      I would think that the smokers placed judgment on their habit by their own conscience, more than anything else.

      January 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      If smoking is analogous to having faith then what does that say about Christians who take offense to declarations of atheism?

      January 24, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  6. Ella

    Praise Jesus – I'm an atheist!

    January 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      ... at least now you can get your lithium as a $4.00 generic. Good deal.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  7. kimd

    He's right.Him being an athiest shouldn't offend believers.I'm a practicing Catholic and believe that Mr.Gervais has as much right to not believe as I do to believe.I think he's very wrong but that doesn't mean I should ridicule him or him me.He's a very intellegent and funny man.Even John Wayne once said of Jane Fonda during the VietNam war that he disagreed strongly with everyhing she said but he would defend to his death the right to say and believe it.End of story.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • EP

      Thanks! I really appreciated seeing this. I feel the same way (and I'm an atheist). 🙂

      January 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Britt

      Thank you. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone thought this way?

      January 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • NL

      John Wayne also said about JFK "I didn't vote for him but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job." Too bad so few on either side of the political spectrum actually feel as concerned about the nation's continued well being as he did.

      January 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • LoriDD

      @kimd – Well said!

      February 1, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  8. HeavenSent

    Another child of God's that threw away his heritage.

    Amen.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Another religious person with rotten language skills.

      It's "another child of God who threw away his heritage," and you need a subject and a predicate for your sentence to be complete, like adding "Here is" to the beginning.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Maybe

      HeavenSent,

      "Another child of God's that threw away his heritage."

      Just as you have thrown away your heritage of living in a cave, wearing animal skins, and perhaps tossing virgins into volcanoes to prevent them from erupting...

      January 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Maybe – But if you live your life without tossing the virgins into the volcano and worshiping Pele how would you know for sure that you weren't going to burn in one yourself. By just following the tradition, and maybe upsetting a few parents of the sacrifices, what harm is there in following ones religious traditions?

      Or if standing on one foot & patting yourself on the tummy while chanting "Hu whacka hu whacka nonny nonny packawhomp" will get you an extra pair of wings in the afterlife, and a snow white magical limo with gold trim to travel around the puffy cotton clouds, why wouldn't you? I mean, it just takes a few minutes a day... and the rewards!! Fantabulous!!

      To any who did not catch the sarcasm, those were jokes making fun of the tired old excuses religious believers use to justify their insanity.

      January 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I could really get behind chanting "Hu whacka hu whacka nonny nonny packawhomp", heaven or no heaven.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @ScottK

      Hey -Scott...

      "Hu whacka hu whacka nonny nonny packawhomp"...really...!?!!? LOL !!!! 🙂

      I think that I'm with -Tallulah13 on this one...

      Peace...

      January 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  9. Mike

    Nothing says you have strong beliefs when the admission that someone believes something else, offends you.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  10. John Dale

    Sorry for missing out you Reno and DIANE. You're giving sterling support to CW too. Don't think we don't appreciate your efforts.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  11. John Dale

    What a wonderful advert for atheism you are CW. Keep up the good work.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  12. DIANE

    FRANKLY,I THINK YOUR AN IDOIT. I THANK GOD EVERDAY FOR WHAT I HAVE.PEOPLE LIKE YOU SHOULDN'T EVEN MENTION HIS NAME,LET ALONE BE ON TV,AND UPSET EVERYONE ELSE.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Tim

      "FRANKLY,I THINK YOUR AN IDOIT."

      Oh, the irony.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Squiggy

      You know that the use of all caps represents screaming, don't you?

      IDOIT – Tim's right: that's hilarious!

      January 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Luke

      At the risk of taking troll bait – you do realize, at the very least, how bad your grammar is, right?

      January 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      Diane is likely violating the minimum age for posters in the CNN ToS... at least I hope so. Please, Diane, tell us that you're twelve... then skedaddle.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Actually, Let Us Prey, most twelve-year-olds have much better keyboarding skills than their parents. Diane is probably middle-aged, has no more than a high school education, and lives in a rural or semi-rural environment.

      January 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Undoubtedly I have been guilty of my own typos, but this one is a peach!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Mr. Sniffles,
      So you are ‘not’ middle aged’, have more than a high school education [but no de-gree?] and you live in the big city with sky scra-pers which keep the sun from shining down on you….thus you are sick….with the sniffles. Sorry…it was just too funny…….

      January 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Jen in NY

      Lay off Diane, you guys–clearly, she's speaking in tongues! It's a miracle!

      January 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Reno

    Your body is alive, but your soul is dead. Guess you all don't get it,huh?
    Fear not the death of the body, but your soul!
    Now, for all who proclaim to be so smart here, (athiest) can you digest that?

    Mr.Skia....That is only because our God (who is also YOUR God) loves you so much that if you are on your death bed, and suddenly are REALLY sorry for all your sinful ways, he is just and loving enuff to let you come home, to Heaven.

    Don't be fooled...no one who THINKS he can pull that and NOT MEAN IT..will still get thier just reward...Hell.

    God is no respector of persons. He said to all...Come as you are. Unfortunately, some people will only realize as they lay dying, that they have forsaken the one true and loving God, Jesus Christ.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Bob

      > That is only because our God (who is also YOUR God) loves you so much that if you are on your death bed, and suddenly are REALLY sorry for all your sinful ways, he is just and loving enuff to let you come home, to Heaven.

      Is that also the same God that will grant heaven to a monster murdered little girls if he recants on his deathbed but will punish someone who has lived a good life, helping the poor and downtrodden who did not accept writings as "absolute fact" with eternal suffereing.

      Yeah, he must really love us.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • sealchan

      Good point Bob. As a Christian I know that God is not so fickle as to best love those who "say the magic words" no matter how sincerely will get anything. The words also mean something and that meaning is an act and the act can be performed without words.

      Reno, what happens if you tell someone that they are about to fall off of a cliff but you use a language that they do not understand willfully knowing that they will not understand it? The man you try to warn looks at you with confusion or frustration or, eventually, will dismiss you entirely and proceeds to fall off of the cliff anyway. You might as well have pushed him off of the cliff.

      Why then do you not see that you waste your time? Because there is something that you do not see within yourself that causes you to, out of lack of faith, persecute others.

      January 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Vynn

      Can you prove the existence of a "soul?"
      Can you prove the existence of a "hell?"
      Can you prove the existence of a life beyond physical death?
      Can you prove that Y'shua bin Yousef was the Jewish Messiah?
      Can you even prove that such a person ever lived?
      Can you prove the existence of a holy spirit?
      Can you prove the existence of God?
      No...you can't. There is a reason it's called "Faith." You can't prove it, you just have to have faith (belief without proof) that it's true.
      Atheists don't believe in things that are absent any proof. Even fear doesn't compel our faith, much as it does the religious. So idol threats such as hell and eternal damnation have no affect on the Atheist. And don't argue with us using your holy book. Most of us militant atheists know your scriptures better than you do. So please....spare us the god-threats. If you want to change our minds, argue from fact instead of from your fantasies.

      January 22, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • dajackg

      Picture if you will: A man lives a productive and fulfilled life, with deep love and friendships with many people. He's a devoted husband, a loving father, a true friend and a tireless benefactor to those less fortunate than he. But he's never become a born-again Christian. One day he's driving along, thinking about this whole "Jesus" thing and how maybe he should look into it, and BAM – something smashes into his car and kills him instantly.

      Now. Are you telling me God is in Heaven watching this and saying "darn, I almost had him"? Honestly. What kind of God is that?

      January 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  14. Nonimus

    @CW,
    "If you go to your gra-'ve as an Atheist = eternal life in H-E-L-L"
    What's with the empty threats? You don't have any better arguments?

    January 21, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Don

      No, he doesn't. All he knows is "believe or burn". It's that sort of shallow, terrified child thinking that turns a lot of people off to his religion.

      January 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Anglican

      Hell is where God is not. After that, no one knows. A true Christians should love his neighbor and his enemy. It is never his place to condemn anyone. As far as logic, one can not really put God and logic in the same sentence. It will not work. I am ok with that.

      January 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Don

      Anglican has just admitted that god-belief is illogical.

      January 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • NL

      Anglican-
      "Hell is where God is not."

      God is not in my life now, and my life is pretty good. Better, in fact, than when I believed God was in my life. If this is Hell, than I've every reason to look forward to it. 😉

      January 23, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • gupsphoo

      I can never understand why religious people would threaten atheists with something they don't even believe.

      January 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  15. CW

    @ all including the washed up Ricky G.

    I'll sum it up like this

    If you go to your gra-'ve as an Atheist = eternal life in H-E-L-L

    Thats not counting all the crying that you'll do while trying to beg your way to heaven. Judgement Day will be a happy day for Christians but we will be saddened b/c not one person has to go h-e-l-l...they only have to have Faith accept Jesus into their lives live a Godly life as best as they can....leting the Bible guide them.

    Good luck with that thinking...ol' Ricky...Please don't try prolong your time in front of God on judgement day by telling your du-'mb jokes b/c no one will be laughing.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Reality

      One more time for CW's benefit:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      "Heaven is a Spirit state" as per JPII and Aquinas i.e. there can be no bodies. i.e. there was and never will be any physical resurrection/ascension of human bodies."

      And is it not ironical that JPII along with Aquinas are the ones who put meaning to the words "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless."

      January 21, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Josh

      I'm sure it's just coincidental that all the atheists in these comments use better grammar and spelling than the Christians... right?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      CW, do you actually think that an atheist wants to spend the rest of eternity with people like you, doing nothing but telling God how wonderful he is? Endlessly? You think that sounds like heaven to an atheist? That is my vision of hell !

      To Josh: Bingo!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Luther Kronstadt

      Christians sure savor the idea of people eternally burning in hell because they don't agree with their splinter faction view of God.

      If there actually was a God, I wonder what she thinks of the extreme spite so common amongst her followers..

      January 21, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • civiloutside

      CW, you really need to try a different tack. The "you're going to he-ll" rant is only effective if your target audience believes he-ll exists on the first place.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • MrSKIA

      Oh, Hell, that place you guys have created for those who don't believe the same things you do?

      It's good to know that I could live my life as a good person, without doing harm to anybody and bringing as much positivity as possible into the world, and I'll go to hell. But if a mass murderer accepts Jesus just before they plunge the needle in, your belief system says he gets into your harp-laden eternal paradise. Of all the illogic in your dogma, this is perhaps the most egregious.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Tim

      And if you don't tidy your bedroom, the goblins will get you!

      January 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @CW
      As per usual, you've given us all a fine display of Christian virtue.
      Some say that Christ preached unconditional love and voluntary kindness without bias or spite to inspire kindness in others, but I'm sure what he really meant was for his followers to point a damning finger from a fiery pulpit to self-righteously condemn their fellow man to eternal torment...

      January 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • CW

      @ Josh,

      I won't stoop to your tactic...of "my writting is better than yours".....oh your going to make me cry.....what's next...don't like my font either....Please.

      @ Doc,

      You right....Jesus did preach love and support to all people. Maybe you should look at some of the gospel accounts of how Jesus delt with the Pharisees and Sadducees. If you do this you will see that he rebuked them sternly with a lot of harshness when they were in conflict with God. Believe it or not...they were not Atheist's either but their laws consumed them to the point that this took the place of God and this is where Jesus came in to play.

      @ Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger,

      Dear human...you'll get your chance to go to h-e-l-l....seems that you will have some company as well with some of the post's I have read.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Charles

      I'm with you CW. Don't be discouraged by the non-Christian trolls.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @CW
      Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their spiritual pride, vanity, ego, self-importance and hypocrisy.
      Perhaps certain vitriolic christians around here should look in the mirror and humbly ask if they're praying like a publican or a pharisee.

      January 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • CW

      @ Doc,

      Your right.....Jesus did preach on those things.....BUT....1 corinthians 6:9...it preaches against one of the things you stand for..."G-a-y rights".....and I'll say this....maybe all the non-believer trolls need to examine if they're beliefs since atheist's don't pray and ask if they're beliefs and yours are based on liberal principles.

      Publican's aren't perfect believe me but at least they do have some Biblical principles that they try to adhere too....unlike most liberals that want an "everything goes" society.

      @ Charles,

      Thanks for the support....I'm usually one of the very few Christians....and I'm always told that I'm a ha-'ter...and I'm bad....the whole nine yards....Don't care though....The Bible preaches that we as Christians will be persecuted for our beliefs.

      January 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Britt

      You are ignorant. Being a good person is going to send us to "H-E-L-L"? Just because we don't believe in what you believe in does not mean we are "doomed". We dont criticize you for believing the way that you do so please do not criticize us. Did your god give you the right to doom us to "hell"? Like Ricky stated, there are over 1000 gods out there. You believe in 1. That means that you DO NOT believe in the other gods. What makes us wrong for not believing in yours? You are exactly what is wrong with religion.

      January 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Why are definitions so hard for some people on this blog? A "troll" on the Internet is someone who posts for no purpose other than to anger, insult, or offend. Disagreeing with someone (even over deeply held religious convictions) is not being a troll. Attempting to point out when someone's argument appears ludicrous is not being a troll. Calling someone a troll when they are clearly not behaving trollishly, however... that *is* being a troll.

      January 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @CW
      If by "liberal principles" you mean recognizing basic human rights, then yep – my beliefs are liberal.
      You keep pounding on that Corinthians passage – doesn't it drive you nuts when people cherry pick biblical passages to try and prove a point?
      During your civil war era, southern preachers and politicos would spout scripture to rationalize slavery.
      The ever so righteous Puritans used the bible to justify the wholesale slaughter of indiginous tribes.
      Non-Christians the world over keep hoping that Jesus' followers will finally live up to their own tenants of love, kindess, charity and acceptance. Unfortunately, they're constantly smacked in the face with biblically rationalized bigotry.

      As Robert Heinlein said, "Anyone who can worship a trinity and insist that his religion is a monotheism can believe anything... just give him time to rationalize it."

      January 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Maybe

      "...their own tenants of love..."

      (whisper to Doc: it's tenets, not tenants - just fyi - all the best to you.)

      January 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Maybe
      You are correct.
      You gots more gooder english than I done has.

      January 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Eric G.

      If I have an autistic child who cannot comprehend the concept of your god or the worship of him, and is not capable of accepting your Jesus as his savior, is he going to he-ll?

      January 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Don

      CW, just because you're a terrified child does not mean everyone else is. Stop thinking you can threaten us with some bad place after we die. We. Don't. Care. It. Does. Not. Exist.

      Grow up!

      January 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Anglican

      God gave us all a free gift in Christ. All you have to do is believe. If you do not believe, that is you decision. We all must live and die with the decisions we make. Choose wisely.

      January 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Don

      There is no free will if your omniscient creator-of-everything god exists, Anglican. It's just not logically possible.

      January 21, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Kill Bill

      The Bible says we will have a new body of flesh and bone.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Britt,
      No one can condemn you to hell; no one has that power.

      January 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @Catholicmom: You are correct. There is no he-ll and no one has the power to send anyone there.

      January 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Eric G.,
      I do not know where my first post went so excuse me for a double if they both appear.
      As a parent I would baptize my child and rely on Jesus Christ’s promises.

      January 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @Catholicmom: Thanks for the advice. I will stick with early intervention therapy.

      January 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Eric G,
      Your question was about your concern for your autistic child's spiritual health, going to hell or not, I thought.

      January 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • NL

      Anglican-
      "God gave us all a free gift in Christ. All you have to do is believe."

      All you have to do is believe? No judging others' behavior according to this belief? No having to reject scientific discovery just because it doesn't jive with some people's interpretation of the bible? No having to support 'charities' that operate more for the purposes of proselytizing than actually helping people first? No wars against people of other faiths? No witch hunts? No Treblinkas? No Inquisitions?

      No. If it were just as simple as hoping for heaven after you die then most of us here really wouldn't care that people harboured this quaint little belief, but the sad truth is that belief comes with certain strings attached. Strings that very often are harmful to others as well as the person who believes. No, it's not free.

      January 23, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Anglican

      NL. Tell me, in what way has a Christian ever harmed you personally. Yes, Christians do good in the name of Christ. Most soup kitchens I work in have simply a cross on a bare wall. No strings attached to those who eat. At least I do something. Slung any hash lately?

      January 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Nobody is going to hell just because you believe so. If that's how it works, Christians would burn in hell because Muslims believe they would for worship a wrong god.

      January 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Anglican

      gupsphoo What god do you worship?

      January 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • NL

      Anglican-
      I've commented on my charity work in this blog before. How I work with some religious people who just roll up their sleeves like myself and do the work that needs doing, and how other religious folks I work with tend to disappear form time to time to have private 'chats' with the clients. If your charity is different then I applaud it.

      Now, what about my original point that Christ isn't really a free gift from God? Can one just say "Thanks for the save" and not have to bother thinking about Christ ever again, or are there requirements and expectations attached to this 'free' gift?

      January 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Anglican, isn't it obvious that I'm an atheist? Only atheists are capable of seeing the absurdity of religious people believing everyone else is going to hell, despite they all belong to different religions and believe in different gods.

      January 24, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • SC

      Well said CW. 🙂

      January 25, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Jen in NY

      I imagine Jesus himself used to spell out H-E-L-L, in a stage whisper, with one finger raised to his lips, as if talking to stupid little children.

      I always smile and then grimace and then smile again when I hear Christians say they'll have the last laugh when all us atheists are in hell. Heaven sounds a bit mean spirited, doesn't it?

      I'll take my chances, but if I do wind up in H-E-L-L, would one of you kind Christians say hi to my dead dog Corky, because I'm pretty sure he was a Jehovah's Witness.

      January 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Miss Maddie

      @CW- you are very foolish and closed minded.

      I am an agnostic athiest (go ahead... run and look it up real quick so you can educate yourself) who has very good value. Religion is good for 1 thing (In some cases): Instilling good values into children such as those "written on the ten commandments."

      The probablem, with religion, is the fact that you have to have a reason to do good. You are only doing good because you think it is going to get you into heaven. In reality, you're just an uneducated person who is literally talking trash in the name of your god.

      That's not a Christian way to act, and I'm sure if there was a god, he would not you as a spokesperson because you just sound unintelligent.

      AND!!!- if you'll notice how Christianity has charnged a million times in the past 1000 years to form to society and what is accepted? How in the world can you spend your life dedicated to something so obviously man-made?

      I'm gonna laugh at YOU when you die and then nothing happens.

      At least I do good because it feels good and not because I am scared of going to hell, like you obviously are. Fool.

      February 18, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Miss Madie

      I am an absolute atheist. My children have received zero religious instruction. Everything to date indicates they have good values. No imaginary sky daddies required. Religion is good for nothing!

      February 18, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Balen

      If God exists then he should show benevolence and forgiveness to those of us who remained atheists but led good lives nonetheless. If He does not forgive my lack of faith despite my being a good person, then He has no benevolence and is not worthy of my love in the first place. Chew on that...

      February 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Tom

      LOL..... that's so funny and true. I have visited this Belief blog countless times. The religious posters are ALWAYS the poorest spellers, use the poorest grammar and punctuation. Coincidence? I don't think so.

      February 19, 2011 at 1:27 am |
  16. Nonimus

    Very well put, Ricky Gervais!
    "[Religions] haven't got the monopoly on good."
    "I'm good to people because it's the way I want to be treated."
    "My first love is science and nature." (I'm guessing first 'intellectual love'.)

    January 21, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Define good please.

      January 24, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Mike, not me (N.M.?),

      Man has probably been searching for that since the human brain evovled the ability to ask the question. The folowing is not a robust or rigorous definition and I'm sure it can be shredded, but it may be a working definition:

      That which enables the most happiness and well-being for the most people while allowing an individual to choose their own standard of happiness and well-being provided that choice doesn't impair another's ability to do the same.

      I think the secondary clauses (?) about individuals could be derived from the the primary, but it's not obviously self-evident. This is based partially on the idea that since we do not have an absolute standard, no one's choice is inherently more correct than another's, therefore the more choices allowed the 'better' in that it enables more happiness and well-being. However, this does not mean tha majority rules, since the individual can make there own choice within limits.

      January 24, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Mike, not me

      But that is the point if you can not define good outside of God, then how can you claim that God doesn't have a monopoly on it?

      January 25, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  17. Luke

    Very similar to how I think and react to the world. Thank you for speaking on my behalf, Ricky. I can only add that I do not believe in beliefs. Beliefs that do not have a foundation in reality have no buinsess in my day to day life.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Luke,
      Do you believe your wife still loves you? You have no beliefs?

      January 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Believing that your spouse loves you is based on a foundation in reality. If they are real, and they show their love for you then it is only reasonable to believe that they are being sincere unless evidence appears that suggests otherwise.

      January 23, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      I wondered if the reason Luke didn’t answer for himself is because his wife left him….

      January 23, 2011 at 7:16 am |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Maybe, or maybe he was abducted by aliens or, more likely than either possibility, he just happens to be too busy on weekends to keep up with responses in this blog. I know that I do. Whatever the reason, it's the man's business if he chooses to answer and nobody else's, correct?

      I find it interesting how people of faith seem to just as.sume that people reject Jesus out of some emotional crisis. Maybe it's because so many of them find Jesus under such circ.umstances?

      January 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,

      I have gotten to ‘know’ Luke ever since he invited me to his wedding. Ever since then, I have taken an interest in his posts. My most recent question was due to a comment he made on another page to a beautiful blonde woman who had a touching story to tell, and Luke asked her to ‘call him’.

      No, he wasn’t too busy….he made other posts not long after my question was posted….no, he just didn’t want to answer my question…for some reason....and no one has to answer anyone if they don't want to.

      Why did you feel you had to stand in for him?

      January 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      CatholicMom:
      There is no reason for me to believe that you know Luke. If he came back on and said, "Oh yes, I know Catholic Mom very well" then I would believe it. However, the anonymity of the internet lets people say anything about themselves. From the way you "speak" to Luke, I would have to say if you knew him, you are not very good friends. I wouldn't speak to my friends like that unless I was joking with them privately. Never on an anonymous public forum.

      January 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Sorry, just trying to offer a helpful answer.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • I Can Be Luke Too

      CatholicMom,

      There can be more than one "Luke" who is a non-believer. As evidenced this one's spelling errors and his general tenor, I doubt that he is the one who is your friend.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  18. Squiggy

    The religious people will be offended anyway. They always are. Like when they flipped out about "Monty Python's Life of Brian." They are offended because someone has a different opinion, and they can't go to war on us or have us tortured and burned at the stake, like in the good old days.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • JackJava

      Hmmm. Funny, because I consider myself very religious and was raised as a Christian since I was kid, now 22 years old, and I don't get offended or want to do any of the things you stated.

      I understand a lot of believers don't think or act like I do, but it's very, very ignorant of you to assume all religious people are offended and want to eradicate atheists.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Cody

      VERY TRUE

      January 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • UncleM

      The religious are offended because deep down they know god is a delusion.

      January 24, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • Ituri

      It is not "ignorant" to say that most believers are offended simply because atheists exist. I'm from the Bible Belt, I've lived all over the USA, and I know for a FACT that most believers can't stand the fact that we exist. Thats why they can plaster nativities all over the USA, but we put up one sign reaching out to other atheists (without even a comment about religion or religious people) and its ripped down and thrown into a pit, or the owner of the billboard sign gets death threats. I drive past no less than a dozen religious billboards daily, but ONE sign up for atheists is an insult to religious people.

      That there are a FEW relgiious people who don't mind us is hardly a reason for you to toss around words like "ignorance" when there is a clear issue at work.

      February 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  19. NL

    Gee, another intelligent, articulate atheist. What a surprise! Good on ya, Ricky! 🙂

    January 21, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • jenny

      There are no atheists in a 'fox hole' We all end up in 'tight; situations.
      God loves Ricky God loves you. He died for you both.
      Find out the truth. ASK HIM

      January 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Don

      There is no god, little one.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Matt

      I am a Atheist and have been for years. I was deployed to Afghanistan twice and Iraq once. I was and have been, a Atheist in a fox hole. One doesn't choose what they believe. Several of my friends are also non-believers the idea that all soldiers are religious is absurd.
      Praying is what you do when you don't really care to do anything worth while.

      January 22, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • Dominic

      if you believe the world is flat you believe in god. people around the world need to grow up and look at what they say and do and Not think its ok to screw someone over and say sorry GOD!!

      January 22, 2011 at 6:01 am |
    • Graham Martin-Royle

      jenny, the only people in foxholes are atheists. Think about it, they are all trying to carry on living, why? Because they realise that this is the only life we have so it makes sense to try to extend it as long as possible. Theists are so convinced that they are looking forward to a better next life that they have no need to enter foxholes in the first place.

      January 22, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • NL

      jenny-
      "There are no atheists in a 'fox hole'"

      I would say that this is true insofar as any person could be put into a desperate enough situation to try ANYTHING for help. The 'Foxhole' argument only helps confirm the notion that faith in God requires a rational person be placed in extreme emotional distress for hoping in supernatural saviors to become an acceptable idea. This would be the same stress that often drives rational, well-balanced people to commit murder, right?

      You might also want to compare the religiousness of people in dangerous lines of work with their tendency to use lucky charms, or rituals.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Joe Martin

      I wouldn't expect jenny to stick around long enough to see all of your rational responses to her absurd claim. She's not likely interested in debating ... Stick and move ... proselytize and move on to the next prospect

      January 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • NL

      Joe Martin
      "Stick and move ... proselytize and move on to the next prospect"

      The ideological equivalent of farting as you exit a room.

      January 23, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • CRAIG

      I have to ask this question. Why are so many atheist on the belief section ? Why do you care what Christians do. Why do you constantly berate Christians. Is it a game, does it make you feel better?

      January 24, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • NL

      CRAIG-
      Ah, I guess you didn't notice that this article was about an atheist, that many articles here in this blog are about atheists, or other religions? This is the 'Belief' blog. We all have beliefs. Atheists just have different beliefs than you do. A better question, I suppose, is why you just as.sumed that this blog was exclusively reserved for Christians?

      January 24, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • The One True Steve

      Jenny- "...there are no atheist in foxholes ..." Is that because only the faithful kill in the name of God?

      January 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Anglican

      the one true steve. Most, when their Northwest flight is falling in a perpendicular orientation downward, will scream for help.

      January 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  20. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    What a great explanation of atheism! Ricky explains exactly my perspective and way of life, word for word.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.