Ricky Gervais can’t just say “Merry Christmas”, now can he?

So instead, he’s written a Christmas essay about why he’s an atheist. It’s not bad. He pegs why people get so sniffy at innocuous words from an atheist, and what we all have to live for, so there’s that.

So what does the question “Why don’t you believe in God?” really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking “what makes you so special? “How come you weren’t brainwashed with the rest of us?” “How dare you say I’m a fool and I’m not going to heaven, f– you!” Let’s be honest, if one person believed in God he would be considered pretty strange. But because it’s a very popular view it’s accepted. And why is it such a popular view? That’s obvious. It’s an attractive proposition. Believe in me and live forever. Again if it was just a case of spirituality this would be fine. “Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. Buts that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

You know, that would be a nice cheery message to slap on the side of a bus or a billboard: “You won’t burn in hell.” Somebody ought to do that just so we can see a few angry Christians bluster about how you will too and you must really hate God to say something so sacrilegious.