There aren’t many shows on TV where the lead character is an out atheist.
Gregory House, not surprisingly, breaks that rule.
In anticipation of tonight’s season premiere of House M.D., here is a compilation of dialogue from previous seasons that bring up the subject of God and religion.
Sister Mary Augustine: Why is it so difficult for you to believe in God?
Gregory House: What I have difficulty with is the whole concept of belief. Faith isn’t based on logic and experience.
Augustine: I experience God on a daily basis, and the miracle of life all around. The miracle of birth, the miracle of love. He is always with me.
House: Where is the miracle in delivering a crack-addicted baby? Hmmm? And watching her mother abandon her because she needs another score. The miracle of love. You’re twice as likely to be killed by the person you love than by a stranger.
Augustine: Are you trying to talk me out of my faith?
House: You can have all the faith you want in spirits and the afterlife, and heaven and hell, but when it comes to this world, don’t be an idiot. ‘Cause you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways.
Augustine: I don’t believe He is inside me and is going to save me. I believe He is inside me whether I live or die.
House: Then you might as well live. You’ve got a better shot betting on me than on Him.
Augustine: When I was 15, I was on every kind of birth control known to man, and I still got pregnant. I blamed God. I hated Him for ruining my life, but then I realized something. You can’t be angry with God and not believe in him at the same time. No one can. Not even you, Dr. House.
Dr. Allison Cameron: Do you know why people believe in God?
House: I thought you didn’t believe in God.
Cameron: I don’t.
House: Well, then you better be making a very good point.
Cameron: Do you think they pray to Him and praise Him because they want Him to know how great He is? God already knows that.
House: Are you comparing me to God? I mean, that’s great, but just so you know, I’ve never made a tree.
Cameron: [smiling] I thank you because it means something to me. To be grateful for what I receive.
House: You are the most naïve atheist I’ve ever met.
House: God talks to him.
Robert Chase: It’s not psychosis, he’s just religious. The only medical issue that showed up on the blood work is low sodium.
House: No — you talk to God, you’re religious. God talks to you — you’re psychotic.
Chase: A lot of people experience their religion as something more than symbolic. That doesn’t mean that—
House: God ever talk to you when you were in the seminary?
House: [gives him a smug look]
House: God’s loss, our gain. He’s either psychotic, or a scam artist.
Eric Foreman: He was actually , uh, really impressive.
House: Well yeah, with the burning bush and all it’s quite the show.
Cameron: Are we even certain he had a seizure? Hymn singing and healing, he does it all the time, doesn’t he?
House: Isn’t it interesting that religious behavior is so close to being crazy we can’t tell it apart.
James Wilson: Yeah, that’s why you didn’t want me in your poker game. Because when it comes to being in control, Gregory House leaves our faith healer kid in the dust. And that’s why religious belief annoys you. Because if the universe operates by abstract rules you can learn them, you can protect yourself. If a Supreme Being exists he can squash you any time he wants.
House: He knows where I am.
Eve: I don’t wanna terminate.
House: You wanna keep the baby?
Eve: Abortion is murder.
House: True. [nods] It’s a life. And you should end it.
Eve: [rationalizing] Every life is sacred.
House: [looks to the heavens in exasperation] Talk to me, don’t quote me bumper stickers.
Eve: It’s true.
House: It’s meaningless.
Eve: It means every life matters to God.
House: Not to me, not to you. [getting up to pace around] Judging by the number of natural disasters, not to God either.
Eve: You’re just being argumentative.
House: Yeah! I do do that. What about Hitler? Is his life sacred to God? Father of your child? Is his life sacred to you?
Eve: My child isn’t Hitler.
House: Either every life is sacred or…
Eve: [shouts] Stop it! I don’t wanna chat about philosophy!
House: You’re not killing your rape baby because of a philosophy.
Eve: It’s murder! I’m against it. You for it?
House: Not as a general rule.
Eve: Just for unborn children?
House: Yes! [beat] The probable exceptions to rules is the line drawn. Might makes sense for us to kill the ass that did this to you. But where do we draw the line? Which asses do we get to kill? Which asses get to keep on being asses? Nice thing about the abortion debate is we can quibble over trimesters, but ultimately there’s an ice-cold line — birth. Morally, there isn’t a lot of difference. Practically, huge.
House: Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise there would be no religious people.
18: You’re an atheist.
House: Only on Christmas and Easter. The rest of the time, it doesn’t really matter.
18: [Laughs.] Where’s the fun in that? A finite, un-mysterious universe…
House: It’s not about fun! It’s about the truth.
Chris Taub: Cryoglobulinemia might account for the symptoms.
[They enter House’s office.]
House: Except for the one you missed.
Taub: There’s no change in her condition.
House: I’m not talking about a new symptom. I’m talking about one that presented six months ago.
[He goes behind his desk.]
Taub: Look, she’s nuts, but we can’t just give her ten ccs of atheism and send her home.
House: Religion is a symptom of irrational belief and groundless hope. Altered mental status, on the other hand, is a symptom of porphyria.
Lawrence Kutner: She didn’t develop uncontrollable anger, crying, anxiety. She just decided to go to temple.
House: The woman didn’t just choose to keep kosher. [sits] She went directly to the extremes of Hasidism, a life of stringent rules. She became a masochist.
House: You live according to God’s six hundred commitments, right?
Yonatan Arnoff: [folding his arms] Six hundred thirteen.
House: You understand them all?
Arnoff: Takes a lifetime of learning…
House: But you follow the ones you don’t understand because the ones you do understand make sense, and you believe the guy who created them knows what he’s doing.
Arnoff: Of course.
House: So you will trust my diagnosis and you’ll let me treat her, because in this temple, [scarily] I am Dr. Yahweh.
[Yonatan has a look of disbelief on his face.]
Arnoff: [wagging his finger at Cuddy] I want a new doctor.
Have fun watching the new episode!