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Monday, November 21, 2005

There is No God

Penn Jillette had a nice little essay for NPR about believing There is No God. What I enjoyed about the essay is that it centered around a celebration of what results from giving up on the supernatural intervention. No god means no reason for blinding one's self to the reality we all share. More so, it takes away the safety net. I once told some students that a belief in god created a rental car universe. We treat each other, the world, ourselves and our lives as something temporary; something that we will return dented, unwashed and full of trash and then rightfully claim our polished, sanctified and true lives in a perfect world. It's true that what we have is temporary. But that's the only truth of which we can be certain. Living our lives as if existence will be repaid and redeemed in another world is only an excuse to not try harder in this world. It's an axiom that inevitably leads to very destructive behavior.

Here's a small selection from Jillette's essay. The full essay can be read via the link:

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.


At 10:11 AM, Blogger Ben Rumson said...

Beleiving in a rental car universe is flawed and reversed logic. I agree in it's application to those that put there hand on the television and are saved, but it has no application in those who follow a tenet of goodness as a result.

Most people these days are masochistic anyways. Ergo they would return the car in better shape for the right person. Say if they borrowed it as opposed to renting it. Especially if they borrowed it from a loving relative. This is the tenet of most real religeons ("spirituality" aside).

At 10:20 AM, Blogger $sh said...

Good find, I'm saving and sharing this one. Still not as good as his earlier masterpiece, "Penn and Teller Get Killed."

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Not Scott said...


I certainly am not discounting the good intentions or actions or results of people that believe in god. They do an amazing amount of good. My contention is that they accomplish this in spite of their belief in god, not because of it. Eliminate the very unnecessary factor of a supernatural being guiding them and instructing them (all of which is a fiction, an mass elusion with no evidence) and these people would still be very good people and do what they do because of an innate humanistic concern.

I believe humanity has an innate goodness and we need not rely on some myth to bring it out. The danger that accompanies the myth is an arrogant certitude that leads to moralization, wars and an abandonment of rational thinking. The world would be a much better place relying on our sense of each other as humans instead of "children of god."

Thanks for visiting.


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