WOC Update: Riky Gervais Gets Serious

Comedian Ricky Gervais has engaged in a debate about theology with the Archbishop of Canterbury – confessing at the end that he might have “blown his image” by taking life seriously.

Gervais is more concerned that religious indoctrination is a form of brainwashing, and he has an interesting reason for thinking this.

“Because I believe in evolution, I believe that a child’s brain is a sponge, and it is meant to be because it believes everything it is taught because it has to to survive … “I think if the first thing you are exposed to is that there is a God and you should do these things, I think there is a problem with that. For example, if your kids at the age of seven came to you and said ‘there isn’t a Santa is there?’ you would say ‘no there isn’t’ would you?”

The debate was with Dr Rowan Williams, who’s major counter argument was that belief in Santa is not as important as belief in God. Whatever.

[source]

Comments

  1. #1 Virgil Samms
    December 20, 2007

    Coca-Cola joins WOC
    Anger at ‘satanic’ Coca-Cola ad

  2. #2 Virgil Samms
    December 20, 2007
  3. #3 crf
    December 20, 2007

    I agree with Gervais, except for his comment about religious schools. I was exposed, in a small way, to creationism in school, where my grade 1 teacher read the bible for a few minutes every day. It hardly felt unatural or uninteresting. But I never developed any belief in god, even at a very early age I saw no reason to doubt my belief in its non-existance :-) .

    My parents are also not religious, however. Some of my relatives are, to various degrees, and some of my relatives are not.

    Development of religious belief likely requires some degree of saturation in religion, beyond incidental contact with its ideas. Parents, more than schools, even the religious schools, or church services, probably play the key role in its development.

  4. #4 Ex-drone
    December 20, 2007

    Dr Williams states:

    Belief in Santa doesn’t generate a moral code, it doesn’t generate art, it doesn’t generate imagination, belief in God is bigger than that.

    Belief in god doesn’t generate a moral code either. People determine their own morality, sometimes adopting a code from their inculcated religion and sometimes using the concept of god to justify and enforce it.

    Belief in the spirit of christmas giving, joy and celebration as symbolized by Santa Claus does inspire populist art. Belief in god used to inspire great art, but this is not so evident today.

    Belief in Santa Claus does not generate imagination? That statement could not have been made by a parent.

  5. #5 Peter McGrath
    December 20, 2007

    I listened to the interviews live, it was splendid radio.

    I really, really recommend BBC Radio 5 Live:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/

    especially the Simon Mayo show (weekdays 1-4pm gmt listen again and podcast available:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/podcasts/mayo/

    It is finest kind English language speech radio.

  6. #6 Kevin
    December 20, 2007

    I was raised in a serious Catholic household, serving time in parochial schools and even doing a stint as an alter boy. Then girls my age started growing breasts and my whole world changed!

    If all you are exposed to is religion, it qualifies as indoctrination. If you are curious and are allowed to explore the world beyond the narrow confines of your indoctrination, you begin to question how much of what you were taught is valid. I suspect most fundamentalists understand this and I also think it explains their desire to keep their children and communities from being exposed to outside ideas.

  7. #7 Salad Is Slaughter
    December 21, 2007

    I spent the first 9 years of my education in Catholic school. One of my shining moments in about 7th grade was asking a nun when they were going to rewrite the Bible, because the creation story didn’t match what we were taught in science class.

  8. #8 Dunc
    December 21, 2007

    [B]elief in Santa is not as important as belief in God

    Which is exactly why indoctrinating kids into religion is worse!

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