I believe that there is no god


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I just love this so much that I wanted to share it with you all :D

Nubar Alexanian

Penn Jillette is the taller, louder half of the magic and comedy act Penn and Teller. He is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and has lectured at Oxford and MIT. Penn has co-authored three best-selling books and is executive producer of the documentary film The Aristocrats.

"I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows, and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough... It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. "

Morning Edition, November 21, 2005 · "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. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The Atheism part is easy.

But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. 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.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have."

[i received this via email from an Objectivist email group I subscribed to when I was still living in the UK. From what I can gather, as it wasn't referenced, it's the transcript from a God slot on a popular US radio show where you are supposed to explain your faith and belief. I like the way he gets around that. Sorry Kat, I hope that by posting it here I'm not infringing any copyrights, but I really don't know.]

Edit: Hmm, that'll teach me not to check on the web first. Here's the link to the original article and I couldn't see anything about copyright:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...storyId=5015557

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WOW! Absolutely inspirational. I love seeing the same reality through someone else's eyes, through the twists of someone else's spirit. Thanks for posting this Fran.

Paul

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I stopped using the phrase "I don't believe in God" a few years ago. Instead, I now say "there is no God". It's more direct, it more accurately reflects my belief and, it cuts off the religionist apologists who have a standard reply to the former: "He believes in you".

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Thanks for sharing that with us, Fran. Penn is awesome as usual and gives some very good insights.

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.  

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

The most disturbing thing about religion to me is that it teaches people that they need to suffer for salvation, live for others and that religion has a monopoly on morality. As Penn would say, "Bullshit!" We need more atheists speaking up for our side. Not so much to bash religion, but to gently point out those types of ideas don't make any real sense and only hold people back. Many good people believe in God, but it is not the belief in God that makes one good. There is no orignial sin and there is no salvation. Just life and the choices that comes with the territory.

As some of you know, I am a big fan of Penn and Teller and have been to a couple of their shows. The last time I saw them in Vegas, Teller picked me to help with a trick. *sigh* When I discovered they were atheists, that was a added bonus. I have a bit of a warped sense of humor and I've loved magic since I was a kid so I just love those guys. I you are ever in Las Vegas, check them out at the Rio.

Kat

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I've read a lot about Penn and Teller, which made me curious, so when I heard that there are DVD's of their program I wanted to buy them, but alas, that idiotic region code makes it impossible, they exist only in a version suitable for the VS which doesn't work in Europe. :evil: :evil: :evil:

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As some of you know, I am a big fan of Penn and Teller and have been to a couple of their shows.  The last time I saw them in Vegas, Teller picked me to help with a trick.  *sigh* When I discovered they were atheists, that was a added bonus.  I have a bit of a warped sense of humor and I've loved magic since I was a kid so I just love those guys.  I you are ever in Las Vegas, check them out at the Rio.  

Kat

Thanks for this suggestion Kat! We're going to Vegas the week before the TOC conference, so hopefully we'll be able to catch one of their shows. I'd love to be picked to help them with a trick - what did you do to be 'the chosen one' and are there any tips you can pass on??! If I wave my arm in the air, look keen and eager and cry "Pick me, pick me," will that work?? :D

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Was it just luck... or magic? I somehow got front row center seats by buying them in advance online. Get your tickets as soon as you can and enjoy the best show in Vegas. I just looked at the Rio site and they are having a $49 night on Thursday 6/29. Maybe you can get tickets for that night. There is a video on the ticket site. The Rio is one of the nicer hotels in Vegas, although it is off the strip. I hated going back to the icky Imperial Palace after hanging at the Rio.

Hmmmm, maybe I am magic. I just scored front row center tickets online for Cirque du Soleil for Michael's birthday. :D/

Have a great time! See ya at TOC Con!

Kat

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Penn and Teller are right down the front for Objectivists. Just like that "Bones" show on TV (Objectivism does forensics).

As to the not believing in Gawd thing:

I wouldn't believe in Gawd<tm> either, were Gawd the kind that most of the people I know in O'ism are running from. This Gawd is a work of man. Results vary, objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear.

It is a simple point in that I am convinced that most people in Objectivism have absolutely solid grounds for running away from Gawd.

But they were not running away from that. What they run away from is bad experiences with the secular piece of religion. This has only a certain amount to do with individual consciousness.

I have engaged in many debates about religion, after I converted from my classical atheist/O stance.

Mostly, what I find is trauma, which doesn't lead well to learning the dignities that exist in religion just like the disasters (like in Objectivism). People are understandably gun shy.

And, it is not necessary nor required to be anything other than a human. Atheism is perfectly acceptable, at least most ways I know it.

I can accept atheism, but others can't accept my individual religious consciousness. It turns into nothing more than a constant request for information, and that is the key to it.

The modality of spiritual consciousness embraces the mind, but includes the rest of the person. If you live only in your mind, if you make that your sole master, well, it's fair to say that things will be missed.

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So here's a little innovation- I sent that prior post over to my girlfriend, whose favorite book is Atlas. She turned it a little different...

Objectivists don't run from God, or the thought of a higher power. They just don't acknowledge anything other than their own intellect guiding their life. That is why most Objectivists are rich, greedy, and uncaring (except for their own comfort). The words us, we, are always replaced by I, and me - because the Objectivist comes first. Has the movement assisted Society? Yes, but as a happenstance of their own success, as Ayn maintained - help yourself first and others will be aided in the process.

The Church not Religion is what we should object to, because our "personal religion" is our higher power and can be found in anything we are doing without harm to others.

I believe that most Objectivists live in their mind. People that are Logical have a hard time trusting even their own instinct, so don't listen to it. "Show me" is the motto of an Atheist. I live by "Feel it" and be happy.

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