Penn Jillette

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I've always wanted to make the world a more rational place. I'm still working on it.

Penn Jillette (born 5 March 1955) is an American illusionist, juggler and comedian known for his work with fellow illusionist Teller in the team known as Penn & Teller, with whom he hosts the television show Penn & Teller: Bullshit! airing on the Showtime network. He also hosted Penn Radio with juggler Michael Goudeau.

Quotes[edit]

Two thousand years ago, I could tell you a story, and at any point during the story I could stop, and ask, Now do you want the hero to be kidnapped, or not? But that would, of course, have ruined the story. Part of the experience of being entertained is sitting back and plugging into someone else's vision.
God works in mysterious, inefficient, and breathtakingly cruel ways.

1990s[edit]

  • Technology adds nothing to art. Two thousand years ago, I could tell you a story, and at any point during the story I could stop, and ask, Now do you want the hero to be kidnapped, or not? But that would, of course, have ruined the story. Part of the experience of being entertained is sitting back and plugging into someone else's vision.
  • That's the beauty of the Web: You can roll around in a stranger's obsession without having to smell his or her house. You can amscray whenever you want without being rude. The site gets its "hit" and you know more about our species' diversity.

2000s[edit]

  • We can't start getting picky because we've got enough food; that's just self-centered and racist. Unless you and yours are starving, you need to shut the fuck up!
  • I've always wanted to make the world a more rational place. I'm still working on it.
  • It's fair to say that the Bible contains equal amounts of fact, history, and pizza.
  • God works in mysterious, inefficient, and breathtakingly cruel ways.
    • this statement is a rebuke to the famous assertion by William Cowper: "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm."
  • Take some time and put the Bible on your summer reading list. Try and stick with it cover to cover. Not because it teaches history; we've shown you it doesn't. Read it because you'll see for yourself what the Bible is all about. It sure isn't great literature. If it were published as fiction, no reviewer would give it a passing grade. There are some vivid scenes and some quotable phrases, but there's no plot, no structure, there's a tremendous amount of filler, and the characters are painfully one-dimensional. Whatever you do, don't read the Bible for a moral code: it advocates prejudice, cruelty, superstition, and murder. Read it because: we need more atheists — and nothin' will get you there faster than readin' the damn Bible.
  • Freedom means the right to be stupid.
    • Free FM Radio Show (15 September 2006)
  • Two things have always been true about human beings. One, the world is always getting better. Two, the people living at that time think it`s getting worse.
  • Every nut who kills people has a Bible lying around. If you're looking for violent rape imagery, the Bible's right there in your hotel room. If you just want to look up ways to screw people up, there it is, and you're justified because God told you to.

There Is No God (2005)[edit]

"There Is No God" (text and audio) on This I Believe NPR (21 November 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

2010s[edit]

  • The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping ram[pages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don't want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don't want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you.

God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales (2011)[edit]

God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales. New York: Simon & Schuster. 16 August 2011. LCC PN6231.R4 J55 2011. ISBN 9781451610383. OCLC 630474899. 
  • You don't have to be brave or a saint, a martyr, or even very smart to be an atheist. All you have to be able to say is "I don't know."
  • Reading the Bible is the fast track to atheism. Reading the Bible means starting at "In the beginning..." and throwing it down with disgust at "...the grace of the lord Jesus be with all. Amen." I'm sure there are lots of religious people who've read the Bible from start to finish and kept their faith, but in my self-selected sample, all the people I know who have done that are atheists.
  • Atheists are also morally obligated to tell the truth as we see it. We should preach and proselytize too. We need to help believers. Someone who believes in god is wasting big parts of his or her life, holding back science and love, and giving "moral" support to dangerous extremists. If you believe something, you must share it; it's one of the ways we all learn about truth.
  • If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.


Misattributed[edit]

  • Luck is probability taken personally.
    • Often repeated by Penn Jillette, who attributes this quote to Chip Denman.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

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