I Believe There is No God, by Penn Jillette

NPR has resurrected the "This, I Believe" series of essays and today, I think I heard the best one yet.

This one is from Pen Jillette and details his belief on the absense of god and the richness of his life . . .
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."

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.

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.

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

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

Click Here to read the article on NPR’s site

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