Patton Oswalt to Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins: It’s OK To Be an Atheist, But Not To Be a Jerk

"Being an atheist means you don’t give a f*ck about what anyone believes in."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/DFree

In a sit-down interview with Salon editor-in-chief David Daley, comedian Patton Oswalt expressed his displeasure with the no-holds barred atheism of HBO host Bill Maher and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, comparing them to Fred Phelps, the late leader of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.

Oswalt, who has engaged in a low-level war with Salon over what Daley called “political correctness, about jokes that we’ve thought have gone too far or hit the wrong targets,” was asked how he felt about Maher’s “aggressive” comments on religion.

The comedian and author said he’s not a fan, while also including Dawkins.

“I feel, as an atheist, about people like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher the way that Christians must feel about Fred Phelps,”  Oswalt explained. “Look, being an atheist means you don’t give a fuck about what anyone believes in. I don’t think any of it’s real, but you can go ahead and do it. I’m not trying to destroy religion. I just don’t care about it.”

After stating that he lives by his own moral code, Oswalt said he is not inclined to assign blanket blame to religion when people use it to justify their actions.

“I live by experience, failure, learning, that kind of stuff. Everyone that goes, ‘But all the war is because of religion, blah blah blah,’ well then you’re no different than the housewife that’s like, ‘My son killed himself because of a Judas Priest record.’” he said. “No, your son killed himself because he was an unstable idiot. Those people started wars because they were unstable idiots. They stumbled across this religion thing, but if they hadn’t found that book, they would have found something else.”

Maher was recently involved in a recent dustup with actor/director Ben Affleck, with Affleck calling Maher’s criticism of Islam, "gross" and "racist.”

(H/T Friendly Atheist

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018