Ricky Gervais: Why I’m an Atheist

Really, isn’t that headline all you need to know to keep on reading? I’d cheerfully watch that man read the phone book.

So, when my buddy Rev. El Mundo sent me the link to the comedian’s message, I eagerly clicked on it. I was surprised when I saw this wasn’t a clip of his latest hysterical stand up, but an essay he penned for the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. The topic of his essay was how he came to be an atheist. The whole piece is here.

While there is humor in the piece, it’s actually more of a sweet thoughtful response to all the people who ask him and other atheists why they don’t believe in God. And as my husband noticed, Gervais in no way says anything disrespectful or harsh to Christians. All he does is lay out a case for his atheism, as well as tell a story about how, as a little boy, he came to lose his faith in God.

I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is.

I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible-­studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world…

As I said, it’s a really sweet essay. I hope everyone reads it, believers and non-believers alike.

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