I *heart* Penn Jillette

I’ve been a fan for years, but Penn just keeps saying what he believes, and I just keep loving it. Their show on Showtime, Bullshit!, is amazing, and one of these trips out to Vegas I’ll actually get to see them live. For now, I’ll just be blown away by the manner in which he sums up his wordview worldview (and mine) for NPR:

So, I’m saying, “This I believe: I believe there is no God.”

Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I’m not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it’s everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I’m raising now is enough that I don’t need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

Believing there’s no God means I can’t really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That’s good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Believing there’s no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I’m wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don’t travel in circles where people say, “I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith.” That’s just a long-winded religious way to say, “shut up,” or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, “How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do.” So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that’s always fun. It means I’m learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I’ve seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn’t caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn’t bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

4 thoughts on “I *heart* Penn Jillette

  1. You might wanna think twice about that hero worship.

    Do you believe that there is nothing harmful about second-hand smoke? Penn said so on the episode of Bullshit! about smoking bans in public places. This is probably totally a coincidence, but Penn is also a fellow at the Cato Institute, a think tank heavily funded by Philip Morris.

    It seems to me that Penn has principles, so long as they don’t get in the way of him getting paid.

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