Saturday, February 04, 2017

Ricky Gervais gives greatest answer ever concerning the existence of god.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

“I know that you’re an atheist,” Colbert began during Wednesday’s episode of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “Do you want to debate the existence of god?” 

After Gervais signaled he was up for the challenge, Colbert asked his fellow comedian, “Why is there something instead of nothing, why does the universe exist at all?” 

Gervais protested the premise of Colbert’s question, insisting the argument for religion isn’t over why the universe exists, but how. He explained that he’s “agnostic atheist,” meaning while he doesn’t know for sure whether there is a god, he doesn’t think anything outside “science and nature” created the universe. 

“Atheism isn’t a belief system,” Gervais said, arguing it is “only rejecting the claim there’s a god.” 

“You don’t believe in 2,999 gods,” Gervais added. “And I don’t believe in just one more.”

This has become my go to response to the question about god, except that I now say that there are actually over 100,000, and then suggest the insanity in simply accepting the existence of only one while rejecting so many thousands that don't meet your simple standards.

Which are typically that you have never heard of them, or that the argument for their existence has not been drummed into your head since birth.

Later in the conversation Gervais added his about science: 

"Science is constantly proved all the time. If we take something like any fiction, any holy book, and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would be the same result.”

Yes, much of this. 


  1. Anonymous4:23 AM

    Hey! If you believe in just one miracle then you must believe in all. "Religion" "God" is a personal belief. What one believes is solely personal. When souls gather to worship together then it is a congregation, an organization with the same purpose. It is not wrong to question. I understand Agnostic, I have questioned everything all my life. Those that harm fellow humans in the name of religion are not examples of miracles. Everyone wants something to trust and believe in. Even those with evil running through their veins. They believe in the work of the devil. Whatever made this Great Big Beautiful Planet and Universe will get my loyal vote and attention. El Rio.

  2. Anonymous4:35 AM

    My idea of a religious freedom law. No child must be forced into believing there is a god or higher power.

    1. Leland9:40 AM

      4:35, I would go a different route. I would say that no person under a reasonable age of adulthood should even be exposed to religion. In most "advanced" countries that is 18 now, I think. This at least gives most of them a chance to develop some sort of critical thinking skills without being hampered by some other person's belief system.

      I also think that circumcision - and other bodily mutilations required by religions of different sorts - should be the individual's choice at that same age.

  3. EXACTLY!!! Thank you Ricky!

  4. Anonymous6:03 AM

    I find it comical that a post about religion gets few comments, but put up a Palin story and everyone needs to post their opinions. Folks, Religion is a much larger threat to mankind than a Palin will ever attempt to be.

    1. Leland9:41 AM

      AMEN, 6:03!!!

  5. Anonymous6:34 AM

    I loved a comment I read several years ago, that the author was a "militant agnostic" . . . "I don't know, and G damn it, NEITHER DO YOU!"

  6. Maple7:19 AM

    Why were gods invented? Because people couldn't understand why, or how, something like thunder or lightning or earthquakes were happening. So they had to invent a god or gods to explain.
    But now, advancements in science explain all those things. I think most evangelical leaders understand this, and therefore press their congregants even harder to believe, and be saved (such utter claptrap but anyway...). And of course the major threat they hint at is "what will happen when you die? Will you go to be with Jesus, or will you go straight to that raging inferno?" Organized religion's underlying goal is to answer the big question while at the same time instilling fear in the hearts and minds of its followers. Oh yes, the second goal is to impress upon those followers that anyone who doesn't share their "beliefs" is either simply wrong, or else evil.
    But these days, all it takes is one pseudo-Xtian would-be dictator in the most powerful position in the world to say the same thing. RESIST!

    1. That's the definition of myth.

      The ancient Greeks invented gods and their stories to explain natural phenomena. Many of the really ancient "religions" did.

      Then they moved on to morality and trying to make people do "the right thing".

      What the bible and its ilk do is try to control natural behavior. In some ways positive, like don't steal and don't murder people. The bible differs from some of it's precursors in that it didn't specify any punishment for breaking the Ten Commandments and in the New Testament Jesus basically replaces all of the Commandments with just two, again with no punishment for breaking them. Much different than the Code of Hammurabi where if you broke any of the hundreds of laws the punishment was usually death.

      The problem is controlling that sadistic/masochistic strain the religion brings out.

      You had flagellants whipping themselves until they bled in the middle ages.

      And you had the Puritan punishing everyone in sight that didn't meet their strict code of "moral" behavior.

      This country was founded by the Puritans. We've never gotten over it.

  7. The low number of comments on Gryphen's atheist posts, as compared to the Palin ones, is easily explained.

    The Palin posts allow us to poke fun and feel good about ourselves because we're smarter and more respectable than they are. Most of us are probably less smarmy and hypocritical, too. I'm guilty of enjoying the Palin trash-wallows.

    The anti-religion posts garner few responses because there's no substance to them. They aren't thought-provoking, but just the opposite. Profound pro/con arguments can and have been made about the existence of a supernatural higher power, but you won't find them here.

    Here you find comedians like Gervais recycling adolescent thought patterns. I don't mean to insult adolescents; some of them are better-read and sharper at existential thinking than Gervais.

    I'm a retired English lit teacher, brought up Protestant, agnostic for 30 years, briefly almost neopagan, toyed with Pure Land Buddhism, liberal Catholic now. Educated in Alabama public schools for 12 years, by Benedictines for 4 years, Jesuits for 2 years. Grew up in the American South, lived in Korea, Japan, various US states, and retired in the Pacific NW. Ive had intensive first-hand exposure and education in many schools of thought. Not trying to sound superior, just making the point that there's a lot more to learn out there for all of us. It requires thinking beyond our hide-bound comfort zones, which many people refuse to do, and that fact is the cause of much prejudice and suffering in the world.

    I think God exists. I'm not 100% sure of that, I can't prove it, and I don't know what happens when we die. I'm still reading, thinking, and discussing such topics online and in various real-live-people groups. Here I'm likely to just be heaped with scorn. Still I think there is a God. I don't have blind belief--I think.

    I usually skip over Gryphen's atheist posts. It's distressing to read the comments of people (even otherwise intelligent people) who faithfully believe that religion is the major cause of evil in the world, and who buy into the religion vs. science baloney, which was deliberately manufactured in the 19th century. These beliefs have been thoroughly and factually debunked, and they are manifestations of prejudice, but the holders of these biases can't see it.

    I'll bet if Gryphen read a book like "The Genesis of Science," by physicist and Ph.D in the history of science, James Hannam, and then wrote a post about it, he would get more comments, with a greater variety of viewpoints.

  8. Although I agree with Gervais' assessments, his comment that atheism is not a faith is wrong. In the absence of scientific evidence, atheism implies certainty about the unknowable. How is this different than religious faith? As much as I'd like to call myself an atheist, there should be an ethical, practical side of us, because of the points he made about science, that requires an honest, unhypocritical self-labeling of agnosticism for us unbelievers.

    1. Maple9:28 AM

      Theism is generally defined as the belief in a singular omnipotent god, the designer and maker of all things.

      To be a nontheist is to reject that belief.

      Religion is a movement - cultural, theistic or other, whereby one believes, promotes and practices the same.

      The operative word here is "belief". Since non-theists do not believe in a god or gods, then there is no "belief" involved. Two negatives do not make a positive.

      As for science, things proven are not a belief, they are a fact. Most thinking people understand facts (Trump and his minions, and a much too large number of Americans, do not).

      As for those of us who hold that "religion is the major cause of evil" -- we do have quite a few historical and present-day facts on our side.

  9. Maple at 9:28, historical fact doesn't support your belief in a cause and effect relationship between religion and evil. You didn't provide any citations of empirical evidence, so it's just your opinion. That's fine on a blog, but it's not persuasive. Only people who already share your belief will agree with you.

    If you consult the "Encyclopedia of Wars," by historians Charles Phillips & Alan Axelrod, you'll find analyses of 1763 wars. Only 7% had religion as a cause, and only 2% of deaths in worldwide conflicts throughout history can be blamed on religion.

    There are other forms of evil, such as personal and property crimes of all sorts. Most crimes can be blamed on greed, substance abuse, parental neglect, revenge, mental illness, a desire for power, and socioeconomic issues. Religion is not listed as a significant cause of crime by sociologists or law enforcement.

    You write that "things proven are not a belief, they are a fact." This doesn't apply only to science, but to history and religion as well. You didn't prove your point here; you just exposed your prejudice.

  10. Maple8:41 AM

    Tell that to the 6 million+ Jews who died during the Holocaust -- BECAUSE they adhered to the Jewish religion.

    1. Maple, Hitler was an equal opportunity tyrant. He wanted to wipe out all people he designated untermenschen, subhuman. If a person wasn't deemed pure enough to be a member of the Aryan super race, they could be rounded up and exterminated.

      Six million Jews, and 11-17 million other people, according to best estimates compiled by various historians, fell victim. Included on the Nazi hit list were the Slavs, Romani people (gypsies), LGBT people, Freemasons, the elderly, anyone with a physical or mental disability--and the list goes on and on.

      Don't try to make Hitler's lunacy about religion. Try to look at the big picture, for the sake of accuracy, and stop flogging fake atheist memes.


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