In the Christmas edition of the New Statesman Ricky Gervais as interviewed by Robin Ince, in particular about atheism. Just one highlight:
This is very important – there is a difference between people who happen to believe in God, for whatever reason, and the very small minority of crazy, mental, psychotic people who use their religion as a conduit for hate.
There is a difference between people who think, “I’m going to go to heaven and see my relatives” and people who say, “If my son is born homosexual, I’m going to murder him.” There is a chasm. Fundamentalists have no more in common with the average Christian, Muslim or Jew than atheists do.
Being a good person has nothing to do with believing in God or following any religion, OK? There are good people that believe in God, and there are bad people that believe in God. And there are good atheists and bad atheists. The big difference is, no atheist does things in the name of atheism. There’s no such thing. This myth that atheism is a religion, it’s ludicrous; [atheism is] the absence of belief. Atheism is a religion like health is a disease.
Agnosticism queers the picture a little bit because they are technically right, that you can’t know in a very hard sense whether there is a God or not. But when I ask someone and they say they’re agnostic, I change the question. I change it from “Is there a God?” to “Do you believe in God?” because the answer for that can’t be: “I don’t know.”
You’re allowed to say, “I’m 99 per cent sure there is or there isn’t,” but you can’t say you don’t know if you believe or not. Someone sent me a tweet saying, “Well, that’s not fair, because I could ask you now over Twitter whether you think I’m wearing a red jumper and you couldn’t really have an educated guess either way – it’s not based on anything.” I said, that’s true. Now tell me your red jumper created the universe. Now tell me your red jumper’s telling me to stone people to death.
Related previous blog: morality of an atheist
On twitter Ricky does cover other things – mercifully below.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog