British funnyman Ricky Gervais has written an essay for an American newspaper explaining his lack of religious beliefs.
The Office star has put together a piece for the Wall Street Journal, titled 'A Holiday Message From Ricky Gervais: Why I'm an Atheist', in which he explores the reasons for his doubts.
Gervais reveals he was a devoted Christian as a child until a conversation with his older brother changed his mind.
He writes, "I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is. I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers... One day when I was about eight years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible studies homework... When my big brother Bob asked, 'Why do you believe in God?' Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. 'Bob,' she said in a tone that I knew meant, 'Shut up.' Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong it didn't matter what people said.
"Oh... hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist."
He later adds, "My point being, I'm saying God doesn't exist. I'm not saying faith doesn't exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn't make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn't make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn't. It's not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can't have your own facts."