You might know the Irish actor Chris O’Dowd from the TV series The IT Crowd and various movies, including This is 40 and Gulliver’s Travels.
On his side of the Atlantic, actors who are atheists, like O’Dowd and Daniel Radcliffe, appear to be able to speak their minds with less caution and equivocation than their American counterparts, such as Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
Consider these remarks O’Dowd made to GQ in the U.K.:
Actor Chris O’Dowd thinks following a religion will eventually become as offensive and unacceptable as racism.
The Irish star … says he grew up respecting people of faith despite his atheist views, but has become “less liberal” as he ages.
Now he says religious doctrine is halting human progress and brands it “a weird cult.”
“For most of my life, I’ve been, ‘Hey, I’m not into it, but I respect your right to believe whatever you want’. But as time goes on, weirdly, I’m growing less liberal. I’m more like, ‘No, religion is ruining the world, you need to stop!’.
“There’s going to be a turning point where it’s going to be like racism. You know, ‘You’re not allowed to say that weird shit! It’s mad! And you’re making everybody crazy!“
(I take it that O’Dowd doesn’t mean that religious opinions ought to be literally outlawed — that with the phrase “not allowed,” he means there will be social repercussions for pious babble, not legal ones. In which case, I agree with him — but that’s a non-negotiable caveat!)