Bill Gates: ‘It Makes Sense to Believe in God’

Michael W. Chapman | March 18, 2014 | 12:51pm EDT
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Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and one of the world's wealthiest philanthropists, with an estimated net worth of $76.8 billion. (AP)

( – Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and now a global philanthropist with an estimated net worth of $76.8 billion, said “it makes sense to believe in God,” adding that there is “no scientific explanation” for how the world came about.

Gates also criticized the NSA leaker Edwin Snowden, describing him as no hero, and went on to praise the U.S. government as one of “the best” in the world.

Gates, who is married to Melinda Gates, with whom he has three children, spends much of his time supporting philanthropic causes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  In an interview for the Mar. 27 issue of Rolling Stone, among many questions, Gates was asked: “You’re a technologist, but a lot of your work now with the foundation has a moral dimension. Has your thinking about the value of religion changed over the years?”

Gates said, “The moral systems of religion, I think, are super important. We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in. I've been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that's kind of a religious belief. I mean, it's at least a moral belief.”

Rolling Stone then asked, “Do you believe in God?”

Planet Earth shown from space. (AP)

Gates said, “I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill.”

“But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about,” said Gates.  “To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs].”

“I think it makes sense to believe in God,” said Gates, “but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know.”

As for the NSA document leaker Edward Snowden, Rolling Stone asked, “Do you consider him a hero or a traitor?”

This June 9, 2013 file photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, in Hong Kong. Snowden says his "mission's already accomplished" after leaking NSA secrets that have caused a reassessment of U.S. surveillance policies.  (AP Photo/The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, File)

Gates said, “I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn't characterize him as a hero. If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of "OK, I'm really trying to improve things." You won't find much admiration from me.”

Later, Gates commented on the federal government stating that it is “a pretty blunt instrument and without the constant attention of highly qualified people with the right metrics, it will fall into not doing things very well.”

However, “[t]he U.S. government in general is one of the better governments in the world,” said Gates. “It’s the best in many, many respects. Lack of corruption, for instance, and a reasonable justice system.”

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