Ricky Gervais Talks Sweetly—No, I’m Serious— About God

Ricky Gervais explains how he stopped believing in God and how to be Christian without God or religion.

Comedian Ricky Gervais knows exactly the moment he stopped believing in God. His mother had instilled in her son a belief in Jesus—looking back, he thinks the hard-working woman just needed some help. The son of God was a perfect invisible babysitter for Ricky: When I can’t watch you, He will. And believe he did until one single, short, unlikely word tipped him off that his mum was hiding something.

Bob.” Not normally a word to bring a lifetime of faith crashing down, but, hey, Gervais is nothing if not perceptive. It’s what drives his comedy, consequences and audience feelings be damned. Gervais’ reputation for sometimes-brutally fearless commentary is part of what makes his tenderness here so endearing.

Religion and spirituality? Two different things. The comedian lives by Christian values because it’s the most logical way to spend the limited time we get. “I should enjoy it and be part of it and celebrate it and be nice to everyone ‘cause we’re… we’re animals, we need to be loved and lead a decent life.”

It’s true he’s got no patience for organized religion since its purpose is so often someone’s personal gain. “Religious fascism,” the use of religion to manipulate people to do un-Christian things, infuriates him. And for him, the impossibility of a god is “overwhelming. ”

But, “If you believe in God and that gets you through and it makes you a nicer person, then," he says in the video, "So be it.” It’s probably the sweetest, kindest thing he’s ever said about a lie.


Headline image: Mike Coppola

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less