Ricky Gervais highlights worst misconceptions about atheism

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The Independent Online

Ricky Gervais has criticised those who misconstrue atheism for arrogance during a discussion about religious beliefs. 

The comedic actor and animal rights campaigner claimed believing that a god could be responsible for good things that happen even as tragedies continue to take place across the world is the ultimate form of arrogance during a Q&A session with the journalist Nicky Clark.

Listing some of the biggest misconceptions about atheism, he said: “From equating it with Satanism to subtle confusions like ‘atheism is the belief there is no God’ as opposed to ‘atheism is the lack of belief in a God.’

“A particularly annoying one is that atheism is smug or arrogant. What can be more arrogant than believing that the same God who didn’t stop the holocaust will help you pass your driving test?”

He then gave his Twitter followers a brief lesson in theology by highlighting the difference between being an atheist and being agnostic.

Gervais has defended his atheistic beliefs in the past against accusations of arrogance a number of times in the past. In a comment piece for The Wall Street Journal in 2010, he praised science for never discriminating or being influenced by bias, writing: “Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence - evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along.”