Hot NPR Commentary: "All Obscenity Is Less Insulting" Than Belief in God

Hot right now on the NPR website: Penn Jillette (the tall, loud half of Penn & Teller) expounding his atheism as part of "This I Believe" series on "Morning Edition." This is the hot paragraph:

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.

In reality, Penn is not much of a searcher. He certainly does not exude an attitude of being willing to be proven wrong. He seems offended that anyone would fail to be bowled over by his atheist logic. He reads "I don't agree" as "Shut up." In reality, he nastily attacks people of faith, most prominently in the Showtime series "B.S." (They use the whole word.) Showtime boasts the show shoots at the religious: “As our increasingly anti-intellectual, anti-science culture moves on each day to new crackpot subject matters, Penn & Teller are there to aggressively shoot down whack-jobs and fuzzy thinkers, no matter where they originate.” In short, it's much more virulent than the NPR commentary about blue skies and Hallmark cards. Jillette attacked Mother Teresa as "Mother F---ing Teresa" and called her nuns the C-word females really don't like. This, from the guy who boasts of his openness to all different people and all different cultures. Brent Bozell explains more here. William F. Buckley's commentary in the NPR series reads like a rebuttal of Jillette. Jonah Goldberg expounds further here.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis