Notes From Babel

Ricky Gervais on Atheism

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After thoroughly enjoying myself with youtube clips of Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes, I remarked to a friend how much I appreciated the fact that Gervais, though an atheist, seemed to refrain from making a big thing out of his atheism.  Alas, I spoke too soon.

It’s always tragic when talented figures disappoint.  Gervais’s performance in the Extras series finale was provocative and moving.  His insight into the pop culture mind is incisive, biting, and witty. He is a fresh voice in the entertainment community precisely because he is that rare breed, like Steve Martin or John Cleese in their heyday, that marries intellect and comedic talent.

But smart entertainers do not necessarily make for smart theologians.  For that matter, smart scientists do not necessarily make for smart theologians, as Richard Dawkins volunteered to prove.  For his part, Gervais trots out the same “burden of proof” line, that the believer has to prove the atheist wrong, not the other way around.  I’ve explained numerous times why this is absurd, and if you’re interested, you can look at some of my past posts on the subject.  But if you’re really in the market for some theological humor and have some familiarity with Richard Dawkins, you can’t do much better than this short mock interview:

As for Gervais, he concludes that, as an alternative to God, “‘Do unto others…’ is a good rule of thumb.”  I can’t figure out whether this commandments is meant to suggest that Ricky Gervais is God or his thumb is.

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Written by Tim Kowal

January 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Atheism

Tagged with , ,

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