Professed atheist Ricky Gervais sat down with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Thursday to talk about his remarks at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards and his personal encounter with Christianity.
Morgan began by pointing out to the British comedian and actor that millions of Americans are in fact Christian and it seemed obvious that he was poking fun at that particular religion when he said “Thank you to God for making me an atheist” at the awards ceremony. In response, Gervais denied that he was trying to offend American Christians, especially when he personally doesn’t find it offensive when people say “thank God” all the time.
After Morgan rephrased the question, Gervais insisted, “No, no, I’m not mocking them, people’s beliefs aren’t my concern at all. I certainly don’t differentiate religions either. I look at all religions the same. Unlike religious people, I look at all religions equally.”
The 49-year-old comedian said he stopped being a Christian at age eight after growing up going to Sunday School. He came from a working class background, he continued, where a mother’s hope wasn’t that her child becomes a doctor or lawyer or international comedian but that her child doesn’t die in a bar room fight.
“The best way to do that is to take on Christian values, which preach morality,” he said.
He quickly added, “But they haven’t got the monopoly on good.”
“This is my point. I'm not a Christian, but I live my life in a good way. And some people say, well, who says what good is? Well, you know what? I do,” he continued. “I’m good to people because it’s the way I want to be treated and I don’t believe I’ll be rewarded in heaven … I will be rewarded now.”
The conversation moved on to the topic of life after death. Morgan, a Catholic, expressed his sentiment about how “the problem for atheists” is that “it must be so doom and gloom.”
“When you get to like 70 or 80, to think … that’s it, that’s the end of everything; so you must fear death ten times more than Christians,” said the new CNN anchor.
He responded by saying, “I can’t help what I believe anymore than you can; it’s up to you what you believe in. This thing about not believing in God there are 2,798-odd gods, and if you’re a Christian you believe in one and not all the others.”
The brief talk on religion concluded with a commercial break.