Jillette: Beyond Atheism

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Penn Jillette is a very well-known atheist and a research fellow at Cato Institute and has lectured at Oxford and MIT. He also authored an article entitled, “There is no God.” In this article, Jillette declares himself to be “beyond atheism.” He argues that everyone needs to take a step back and start with no belief in God. Then, we can all start to look for evidence of God. Even Jillette believes that whatever conclusion we end up with, it has to be “some leap of faith that helps one see life’s big picture, some rules to live by.” Jillette's conclusion is simply “This I believe: I believe there is no God.” The rest of the article he goes on to explain that this decision has informed every moment of his life. He concludes his article by stating that believing there is no God gives him more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, and beauty.
For Mr. Jillette, the question of God is critical. His answer gives meaning to every other aspect of his life. What is interesting is that many Christians believe the same thing, but we have a different answer to the question of God. Therefore, Jillette's argument is not the importance of the question. The main point that Jillette is trying to make is that there is enough meaning and purpose in this world without God. He states, "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.” The answer to the question of God quite literally means everything in the world to Jillette. The philosophical question of this case is not the importance of the question of God, but rather how does our answer to this question affect the way we live. The supporting arguments for Jillette are that belief in God ...

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...enn Jillette is content in the evaluation of God’s existence that he has arrived upon which leads to dismissiveness rather than engagement with faith. As Christians we are called to constantly engage with people in what they believe in order to fit the message into their framework of understanding.
His final point within this argument of relativism is that his not believing in God allows him to be proven wrong. Anyone whose only area to be proven wrong in is there faith is severely shallow and pathetic. Within the Christian life and even life in general, there is much ambiguity and freedom for argument. Philosophy is all about seeking out how to prove everything we know wrong and rethink it only for it to be found faulty again. This course and history show us that philosophers that claim faith in God engage with this examination of beliefs and fundamentals as well.
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