Ricky Gervais gets into heated debate about God with Stephen Colbert

Credit: CBS
Credit: CBS /

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Colbert got into a unconventional late night conversation about religion that got kind of heated.

There’s a new David Brent special coming to Netflix this weekend, which means British comedian Ricky Gervais is doing the late night rounds for promotion. He’s never been shy about his off-color and to some off-putting humor, but it’s something that makes him an interesting interview every single time he sits down.

That was the case this week, when Gervais stopped by Late Show to chat with Stephen Colbert. While the debate centered on his comedy and his life, things veered wildly to the left when the subject of Hell came up. When Colbert brought up a tweet Gervais tweeted about Hell, it sparked a conversation about religion that went from kind of chill to kind of heated in the best way possible.

“I’m an agnostic atheist,” Gervais said of his belief about whether or not God exists. “Technically everyone is agnostic because we don’t know.”

Gervais explained that being an atheist isn’t a belief system, rather it’s an acceptance that there’s no proof of a higher power. Colbert countered that he believed in one God (in three forms) which prompted The Office star to respond.

“There are 3,000 [gods] to choose from,” he said. “You don’t believe in 2,999 gods and I don’t believe in just one more.”

Colbert defended his belief in God by saying he feels the urge to direct his gratitude for existence towards something or someone, a point that Gervais didn’t disagree with. This is where things heated up. Gervais responded that people can’t fathom the idea that the universe was once a small atom and expanded into the randomness that exists today — something Colbert countered is something Gervais can’t himself prove and is just restating something he was told.

“Science is constantly proved over time. If you take any fiction and any holy book and destroyed it, in a thousand year’s time it wouldn’t come back as it was,” Gervais stated, setting up his closing argument. “If you took every science book and every fact and destroyed them, in a thousand years they’d all be back. All the same tests would be the same results.”

You can watch the whole clip below:

While this seems like an argument about religion, it’s actually a commentary that both Gervais and Colbert were making about the current anti-facts movement happening in America.

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It’s an argument applicable in so many ways to the climate we live in now, and might have been one of the most brilliant bits Colbert has done in a very long time.