Penn Jillette Again On The Difference Between Muslims And Christians In Taking Criticism

I already highlighted Penn Jillette’s Vanity Fair interview in which he praised Christians for being better at taking criticism than Muslims, but this quote from his new Las Vegas Weekly interview, which I found via Boing Boing and Reddit, conveys his feelings as much as his thoughts, and those feelings are both depressing on the one hand and uplifting on the other.  It should be taken to heart by members of both religious groups and by atheists alike.  Talking about Bullshit, his show with his partner Teller, which is devoted to debunking myths he answers the following questions:

Are there any groups you won’t go after? We haven’t tackled Scientology because Showtime doesn’t want us to. Maybe they have deals with individual Scientologists —- I’m not sure. And we haven’t tackled Islam because we have families.

Meaning, you won’t attack Islam because you’re afraid it’ll attack back … Right, and I think the worst thing you can say about a group in a free society is that you’re afraid to talk about it—I can’t think of anything more horrific. [...]

You do go after Christians, though … Teller and I have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good fucking Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.” Christians come to our show at the Rio and give us Bibles all the time. They’re incredibly kind to us. Sure, there are a couple of them who live in garages, give themselves titles and send out death threats to me and Bill Maher and Trey Parker. But the vast majority are polite, open-minded people, and I respect them for that.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Eugene Boria

    I was raised Pentecostal and I’m now an atheist to the core, but I have to allow that while there are self-righteous, sanctimonious, judgmental, ignorant, a**holes among their ranks, there are also people to preach to us and give us bibles out of a sincere belief that they are sharing something that has been a good influence in their lives. I know people who’s lives were turned around by religion and when they see the kind of heartache in others that they remember feeling before their “conversion”they naturally assume that what worked for them will work for everyone.


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