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.”