'Late' host Stephen Colbert, atheist Ricky Gervais talk faith, magic

Stephen Colbert
Ricky Gervais on "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert, July 2019. |

Stephen Colbert and comedian Ricky Gervais are known to get into deep debates about God and on Monday night’s episode of “The Late Show,” the host opened a discussion on faith.

Gervais, an atheist, was on the show promoting his new Netflix series, “After Life,” and his new stand-up “SuperNature” but after a few minutes in, the conversation turned to faith.

"Is magic and faith the same to you?" Colbert, a Catholic, inquired at one point of the interview. "Because they're different things to me."

"I don't believe in anything without evidence," replied Gervais. "That's it. That's all they have in common. And I have no problem with faith or spirituality — I feel it in different ways. I feel it when I see nature."

The United Kingdom native described his feeling as being in “awe” of nature. 

“I don't believe someone made it, that's all the difference between me and you,” the popular comedian explained. “We know how amazing nature is and how good people are and how amazing dogs are, dogs are amazing. However, I just don't think there was a will to it.”

“I absolutely have no problem with faith or anything like that,” Gervais added. 

Colbert, who regularly talks about God on his program, proceeded to answer his own question about faith and magic. 

“I have a problem with magic, I don't have a problem with faith,” Colbert interjected. “I have a somewhat anemic faith — it comes and goes.”

“I have firefly of a faith, it comes and goes, it shows up ever so often,” he continued. 

Gervais noted that he has faith in people but Colbert insisted that people do not have a great track record. The host then addressed Gervais’ love of dogs.

“Last time you were here I asked you whether you believe in God; you said 'I believe in dogs,'” Colbert stated.  

Gervais’ new Netflix series, “After Life,” features a dog companion. He said after six weeks of filming together, they parted ways and he wanted to cry because the dog would not understand why she will no longer see him on set.

Colbert took the opportunity to share with Gervais what believing in the intangible looks like in that scenario. 

“Well, maybe she’ll just be thinking where's that squirrel because you're assuming that she had the same emotional connection to you that you had with her and I think that, if you pardon me, that's magical thinking, there's no evidence,” Colbert explained. 

However, Gervais said the dog wagging her tail at him gives him "faith" that she will miss him.

Gervais has openly talked about his stance on Christianity and why he particularly likes to poke fun at Christians. In 2013, the actor penned an article for Wired magazine titled, "Why I'm a good Christian." In the article, he asserted that even though he doesn't believe Jesus is God, he thinks He's a good "Christian compared to a lot of Christians."

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