Rooney also attributed voters' reliance on religion in the recent election to ignorance. "I am an atheist," Rooney said. "I don't understand religion at all. I'm sure I'll offend a lot of people by saying this, but I think it's all nonsense."
He said Christian fundamentalism is a result of "a lack of education. They haven't been exposed to what the world has to offer."
via Brian Westley and Michael Silver
In writing The God Letters (Warner Books, 1986), author Paul Rifkin posed as a fifth grade student asking entertainers the question, "Do you believe in God?". Rooney responded "No, of course I don't [believe in God] and anyone who tells you that there is a god who make his or her presence known to him or her is hallucinating or not telling the truth."
In a May 1995 television interview with Sam Donaldson on ABC's PrimeTime Live, Rooney was critical of anyone who claims to know whether or not a god exists.
From a 1996 interview with TV Quarterly's special correspondent Arthur Unger:
Unger: Do people really know Andy Rooney?
Rooney: The only thing that I hide from people, that I have never said so far as being blunt and honest goes, is that I am not a religious person. I'm not sure the American public would accept from me that fact. I don't think that would please them or that it would attract a lot of people to me. And I take the position that it is sort of a personal matter, so I do not ever make an issue of it.
In November 1999, Rooney, in talking about the 90s, said that "with all the problems throughout the world, religion has not really done anything to help."
Rooney's book, Sincerely, Andy Rooney (published November 1999) is a collection of his own correspondence over his long career in journalism and television.
The last chapter is entitled "Faith in Reason", and in it Andy publishes a letter to his children where he explains his views on religion and identifies himself as agnostic.
Andy Rooney speaks briefly to HNN’s Duncan Crary on his atheism and his views on all the faith talk coming from presidential candidates. Rooney, who died on November 4, 2011, was best known for his reporting on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Listen to the podcast at theHumanistHour.org.