As with my previous post on Tom Hiddleston’s religion (or lack thereof), the standard disclaimer applies: I don’t know for sure, and this is my speculation. I would lean towards “yes” but unlike the my many ambiguous tidbits of evidence for Tom Hiddleston, I have one convincing quote from Benedict Cumberbatch. In particular, during his Harper’s Bazaar interview he says (in response to the question “Do you have any irrational fears?”):
No, I’m quite a rationalist. I’m not superstitious. I think life is too full of natural wonders and logical complexities to worry about illogical things.
What convinces me that he’s an atheist is his word choices. References to “natural wonders” and to logical versus illogical make him sound very much like Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s most prominent atheists. That argument — that the world is too full of natural wonder to go worrying about illogical things — is actually the theme of one of Dawkins’ books (The Greatest Show on Earth).
It’s also interesting that when he says “illogical things” he bites his lip and smiles like a boy who has just said something naughty — as if he knows that he’s making fun of religion and he knows he might get in trouble for it.
Now, I know that many will argue that he worked at a Tibetan monastery during his gap year. There is also evidence that he meditates, or that he once did. However, here is his description of it:
There’s an ability to focus and have a real sort of purity of purpose and attention and not be too distracted. And to feel very alive to your environment, to know what you are part of, to understand what is going on in your peripheral vision and behind you, as well of what is in front of you. That definitely came from that.
This sounds more like the analysis of a clinical psychiatrist than a religious adherent. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he calls himself a buddhist “at least philosophically” — but none of this conflicts with atheism.
It appears that he has a feeling that there’s something bigger than him in this world, but the first quote seems to put him in the camp of Richard Dawkins. The “something bigger” is the natural world and its scientific intricacies.