Penn Jillette and God - If you are devoted to any religion, even in a small way, you will surely be provoked by Penn Jillette's (of Penn and Teller) essay for the NPR program, This I believe.

But even if you have agnostic or atheistic tendencies, you will probably still be provoked. Let's face it. Penn Jillette is a provoking guy with a lot to say. Here are some excerpts from his essay There Is No God...

Penn Believes There Is No God

"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do."

Yet the easy part can be so hard for those steeped in an upbringing of adopted beliefs.

How Do His Beliefs Impact His Life?

"...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's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me... I don't need heaven."

Can Penn Be Forgiven?

"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."

What About All the Suffering in This World?

"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 [the suffering is] something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future."

What Is Penn Really Saying?

With this essay Penn declares that, just because you believe there is no God, doesn't mean you're a self-indulgent anarchist. Belief in God and religion have motivated humankind to do awful things. Same goes with the opposite belief. Penn is simply explaining how his beliefs have informed his life in positive ways. Atheists are not awful. Neither are devout believers. The important point is that we listen to each. As Penn puts it, "Believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something."

Do read (or listen) to the full essay. You will not be bored.

There Is No God by Penn Jillette

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