Ricky Gervais: “Wow. No God. If Mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. Not a world by design, but one by chance. I learned of evolution – a theory so simple and obvious that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals, and us – with imagination, free will, love and humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer, and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.”

Bill Gates: “Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”

Isaac Asimov: “If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.”

David Cross: “Oh, so I was watching that show – uh, the fuck – the show where the, uh, there’s the guy on stage and then everybody in the audience believes that he, uh, has contact with the dead and spirits talk to him… Crossing…? No, no, no, no – it was church.”

Jodie Foster: “There is no direct evidence, so how could you ask me to believe in God when there’s absolutely no evidence that I can see? I do believe in the beauty and the awe-inspiring mystery of the science that’s out there that we haven’t discovered yet, that there are scientific explanations for phenomena that we call mystical because we don’t know any better.”

Ingmar Bergman: “When you die, you are extinguished. From beingyou will be transformed to non-being. A god does notnecessarily dwell among our capricious atoms.”

Douglas Adams: “If you describe yourself as ‘atheist,’ some people will say, ‘Don’t you mean ‘agnostic?’ I have to reply that I really do mean atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god – in fact, I am convinced that there is not a god, a subtle difference. I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. It’s easier to say that I am a radical atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that it’s an opinion I hold seriously. It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly.”

Janeane Garofalo: “Organized religions and their dogmas only serve to indoctrinate the participants into sheeplike common behaviors. This type of blind assimilation promotes the popularity of top-forty count down radio stations and movie sequels. Skepticism towards groups, holy or otherwise, is enriching and makes you a far more entertaning person.”

Roger Ebert: “I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.”

Katherine Hepburn: “I’m an atheist, and that’s it. I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other.”

Brad Pitt: “I’m probably 20 per cent atheist and 80 per cent agnostic. I don’t think anyone really knows. You’ll either find out or not when you get there, until then there’s no point thinking about it.”

Joaquin Phoenix: “I don’t believe in god. I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe in soul. I don’t believe in anything. I think it’s totally right for people to have their own beliefs if it makes them happy, but to me it’s a pretty preposterous idea.”

Daniel Radcliffe: “I’m an atheist, but I’m very relaxed about it. I don’t preach my atheism, but I have a huge amount of respect for people like Richard Dawkins who do. Anything he does on television, I will watch.”

Frank Zappa: “The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the work of the Devil. Remember the apple on the tree? Okay, it was the Tree of Knowledge. “You eat this apple, you’re going to be as smart as God. We can’t have that.”

Sarah Polley: “I don’t have faith in anything but my fellow human beings and the world around me. I have strong faith in people, but not beyond people. The world is a beautiful place, it’s a beautiful enough place for me to worship and have faith in and – it’s enough for me.”