Stephen Colbert Challenges Atheist Ricky Gervais' Lack of Faith

12:00PM 7/18/2019

Comedian Ricky Gervais talked about his atheism during a recent episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, earning him a rebuke from host Stephen Colbert, who has been open about his Christian faith. Colbert opened up about his struggles with consistent faith while challenging Gervais' assertions that there is no evidence for the supernatural.

"I don't believe in anything supernatural," Gervais said.

Later, Colbert asked, "[Are] magic and faith the same to you? Because they're different things to me."

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

"And what is it you feel?" Colbert asked.

"An awe," Gervais replied. "It's amazing that we're here."

"So you don't have control over it, right?" said Colbert.

"No, I don't believe someone made it," Gervais said. "That's all the difference for me. We know how amazing nature is and how good people are and how amazing dogs are. Oh, dogs are amazing. I just don't think there was a will to it. ... I absolutely have no problem with faith or anything like that."

"I have a problem with magic," Colbert replied. "I don't have a problem with faith. I have a somewhat anemic faith—it comes and goes. I have a firefly of a faith. It comes ever so often and you go, 'Oh! Look at it!' and now it's gone. Where'd it go? I don't know. Can I put it in a jar? Yes, but it'll die."

Gervais has debated religion with Colbert during at least three previous appearances on The Late Show.

Colbert later asked Gervais more about dogs, noting that Gervais has talked about his love for his dog co-star on the Netflix series After Life. Gervais said he was sad to leave that dog at the end of filming, because the dog would miss him and would not know why Gervais had left. Colbert countered that Gervais was putting a lot of faith in his understanding of the dog's psychology, given the lack of concrete evidence.

"Maybe she'll just be thinking, Where's that squirrel?" Colbert said. "Because you're assuming 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."

Watch the video to see Colbert and Gervais' religious sparring.

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