Posted: December 23, 2010.
Christopher Hitchens. Richard Dawkins. And, of course, Charles Darwin. These are the names we usually hear associated with the Great God Debate. But this holiday season, Ricky Gervais has let loose a missive reminding us that atheism isn’t just dour lectures and attempts to discredit Mother Teresa — it can actually be funny. “Next time someone tells me they believe in God,” Gervais writes, “I’ll say ‘Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…’ If they say ‘Just God. I only believe in the one God,’ I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.”
In fact, poking holes in religion has long been one of comedy’s greatest pastimes. After the jump, we round up our favorite irreligious quotes from our funniest atheists, from Woody Allen and Cloris Leachman to David Cross and Sarah Silverman.
“We didn’t evolve; God made us. So I just want to explain to you exactly how that happened… Some of the things you’ll hear do sound a little bit far-fetched. I admit that. Then I found out that the other name for The Bible is The Gospel, so it is all true. Luckily, the clue is in the title.”
“If you sell the Vatican and you take that money and you use it to feed every single human being on the planet, you will get cah-azy pussy. All the pussy. I don’t mean literally. That might not be your cup of tea. I don’t know what your version of ‘all the pussy’ is. But you’ll get all the pussy.”
“Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday.”
“If no one invented religion, we’d all be fucked right now. Because at the dawn of man, civilization was the biggest and the strongest, and that’s as far as we’re gonna go. It’s whoever was the biggest, fucked and killed anything they wanted, that was it. Civilization was a huge psychopath with a club going, ‘I’m gonna have rape for dinner.’
“And then, one of my ancestors, some weakling, said, ‘Look, there’s no way I can beat that guy. But what if I trick him into thinking, that if he doesn’t kill and rape people while he’s down here, when he dies, there’s a magic city in the clouds, and he can go up and have all the cake he wants.’ And that’s not a very well-formed plan, but he went and told the big psycho, and the psycho heard that and said, ‘Oh well, I like cake.’”
“When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!”
“The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief. And by dangerous I don’t mean thought provoking. I mean: might get people killed.”
“If there was a God, don’t you think he would have flicked Hitler’s head off? ‘Oh, I’m not allowed to do anything.’ Well fuck off, then.”
“‘Will You Know People in Heaven?’ This is in the newspaper… ‘The roadways in heaven are for walking and for vehicles. Yes, there are transportation vehicles in heaven, driven by the angels. However, there is no pollution there.’ Meanwhile, you can’t buy beer on a fuckin’ Sunday after midnight.”
“I’ve been so relieved and so grateful to not have a god to believe in.”
“I’m not greedy. I have love, blue skies, and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it’s everything in the world — and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more.”