Penn Jillette quotes

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheist #Atheism #Might

  • I think that I am willing to risk my life in order to have more freedom.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Thinking #Order #Risk

  • If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell—or not getting eternal life or whatever—and you think that, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward. . . . How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Hate #Believe #Thinking

  • The best way to fight the terrorists is to have the freest country on earth. You should be able to get on an airplane, and people - that will not possibly happen again.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Country #Airplane #Fighting

  • Modern American magic, late 20th century magic, is tremendously disrespectful of the audience.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Magic #Disrespectful #Modern

  • You don't have freedom unless you have the freedom to do stupid self-destructive things.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Stupid #Self #Self Destructive

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Forgiveness #Memories #Kindness

  • We have to fight for the freedom to be stupid, and smoking is one of the best ways to fight for your freedom, to be just as stupid as you can be.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Stupid #Fighting #Smoking

  • Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It's the absence of religion, and that's a wonderful thing.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheism #Going Away #Needs

  • Technology is run by sex, because it's very important to people, both technology and sex.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Running #Sex #Technology

  • God works in mysterious, inefficient, and breathtakingly cruel ways
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Way #Mysterious

  • Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheist #Sex #Believe

  • People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Thinking #Compassion #People

  • Tolerance is you saying something crazy and me smiling and saying, 'That's nice.'
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Crazy #Nice #Tolerance

  • Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for safety, and the government answers by taking rights away from good people
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Government #Rights #Safety

  • If you are doing something for reward or punishment, you do not have morality.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Punishment #Rewards #Morality

  • It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral, self-righteous, bullying laziness.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Bullying #Gun #Thinking

  • You have to be careful as a libertarian because you can sound very Republican.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Libertarian #Sound #Republican

  • The word ‘holiday’ comes from ‘holy day’ and holy means ‘exalted and worthy of complete devotion.’ By that definition, all days are holy. Life is holy. Atheists have joy every day of the year, every holy day. We have the wonder and glory of life. We have joy in the world before the lord is come. We’re not going for the promise of life after death; we’re celebrating life before death…For atheists, everything in the world is enough and every day is holy. Every day is an atheist holiday. It’s a day that we’re alive.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheist #Holiday #Mean

  • The only difference between Obama and Bush is that Obama is killing more people. He’s about double the numbers now. Can you imagine if McCain had won and did precisely what Obama has done, with every speech and every political maneuver overseas? There’d be riots in the streets about the people we’re killing. And yet because it’s Obama, and he’s better looking and better at reading the teleprompter, we let him get away with it.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Reading #Differences #Numbers

  • Bacon is so good by itself that to put it in any other food is an admission of failure. You're basically saying, 'I can't make this other food taste good, so I'll throw in bacon.'
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Taste #Admission

  • If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell . . . how much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Hate #Believe #Heaven

  • I'm a hardcore libertarian - I want everything legal - but I also believe that you have the right to free association.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Believe #Libertarian #Association

  • All David Blaine is is a good-looking magician.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Looking Good #Magician

  • The medium is not the message - the message is the message.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Messages #Mediums

  • It's not arrogant to say that you can't figure out the answers to the universe with your internal faith. It's not arrogant to know that there's no omniscient, omnipotent prime mover in the universe who loves you personally. It's not sad to feel that life and the love of your real friends and family is more than enough to make life worth living. Isn't it much sadder to feel that there is a more important love required than the love of the people who have chosen to spend their limited time with you?
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheist #Real #Love You

  • TV networks are dying. The death throes of religion give us jihads. The death throes of television give us reality shows.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Reality #Giving #Dying

  • How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Hate

  • Poker has the feeling of a sport, but you don't have to do push-ups.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Sports #Feelings

  • Better to be uneducated than educated by your government.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Government #Educated #Uneducated

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Art #Hero #Technology

  • Atheism is the absence of religion. We don’t really need atheism. We just need to get rid of religion.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheism #Needs #Absence

  • So many people say, ‘You know, your taxes aren’t taken by force,’ and that’s foolish. If you don’t pay your taxes and you don’t answer the warrant and you don’t go to court, eventually someone will pull a gun. Eventually someone with a gun will show up.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Taken #Gun #People

  • Much better than the feeling of having things is the feeling of having earned things.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Feelings

  • Whereas you have someone like Houdini, who works really, really hard to get really, really famous, and then has actual intellectual ideas that he puts into the culture that stay there.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Ideas #Intellectual #Culture

  • If the bible were published as fiction, no reviewer would give it a passing grade. There are some vivid scenes and quotable phrases but there's no plot, no structure, 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheist #Character #Giving

  • Comedy is taken care of by a free market.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Taken #Care #Comedy

  • I believe that the best way to become an atheist is to read the bible
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheist #Believe #Way

  • One of the things that Teller and I are obsessed with, one of the reasons that we're in magic, is the difference between fantasy and reality.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Reality #Differences #Magic

  • Everyday is an atheist holiday.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Atheist #Holiday #Everyday

  • The skills that we have are the actual magic skills - not the performing skills. We have to separate those. But the actual skills that make the tricks work, we don't get to use again.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Skills #Magic #Use

  • Once you have somebody that is telling you, 'We are interpreting God for you,' it seems like you either agree or you don't. You either say, like Martin Luther, 'I'm going to have a direct relationship with the word of God,' or I''m going to go through a conduit of God on Earth,' which would be the Pope.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Earth #Would Be #Like You

  • 'Christian' used to be a throwaway word. People didn't used to use it much. People didn't start self-labeling or getting labeled Christian until the last part of the 20th century. Before that, you might identify as a Baptist, or a Southern Baptist or a Methodist. But there wasn't one identifier that put you in a fold with all the other believers.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Christian #Self #People

  • The only place we were really told to tone it down - where other people would use the word censorship, but I wouldn't - was when we did MTV right after the Beavis and Butt-head thing.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Mtv #People #Tone

  • Computers absolutely changed my life. Before I had a computer, I had never written one thing. Not one thing. I'm a very bad speller and I was embarrassed by that. When I would type, the little mistakes would make me nutty, and I would never edit anything.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Mistake #Littles #Computer

  • Every day, TV, newspapers, and the Internet bombard us with a message that we're destroying the earth. Ice caps are melting, rivers are dying, polar bears are drowning, and trees are doing something.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Ice #Rivers #Tree

  • Everybody is designing magic iPhone apps that do things that are really, really beautiful, but a really important thing about magic is that the gimmick has to be ugly.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Beautiful #Iphone #Design

  • I started out as a juggler, so I know what it means to spend eight hours a day, seven days a week practicing something that people just dismiss with a wave of hand.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Mean #Eight #Hands

  • One of the things that Teller and I are obsessed with, one of the reasons that we're in magic, is the difference between fantasy and reality. That is the subject that, if you have a brain in your head, is always dealt with in magic. The smarter the tricks you're doing, the more that' s an important thing.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Reality #Differences #Brain

  • Cheerios bring back memories. I actually don't think I ate them much as a kid, though; maybe it's some sort of Jungian memory, I don't know. But they have so much sugar, it's great.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Memories #Kids #Thinking

  • No one can tell you the rules of 'Celebrity Apprentice.' No one. Donald Trump just does what he wants, which is mostly pontificating to people who are sucking up to him, while the network people try to manipulate him into making the highest-rated show they can.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #People #Trying #Want

  • One thing you learn doing magic tricks for a living is how close every performance of every magic trick is to disaster. There are no robust magic tricks. They're all hanging from a thread - sometimes literally.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Magic #Sometimes #Disaster

  • Performers have the right to say what they want to, and anyone paying money has the right to accept or reject the art and entertainment that's available.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Art #Want #Entertainment

  • But it's much more exciting to make Die Hard. One of the reasons that I think that movie is so successful is it deals with those very important blue-collar relationship themes. But it's more visually beautiful to show things blowing up. It just gives you more on the screen.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Beautiful #Successful #Thinking

  • The secret truth of 'Celebrity Apprentice' is that it isn't very hard... 'Celebrity Apprentice' is easy like junior high is easy. All the arithmetic, the creative writing and the history are super simple, but like junior high, you do that easy work surrounded by people who are full-tilt, hormone-raging bug nutty.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Writing #Simple #People

  • Teller and I worked Renaissance Festivals and street performing - actually more real, no kidding around, Philadelphia street performing than we did Renaissance Festivals.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Real #Philadelphia #Festivals

  • The cliche of the nerdy kid who doesn't go outside and just plays games is completely untrue. And it's also true for the nerdy kid who studies comic books and turns into this genius, and it is also true for the nerdy kid who listens to every nerdy thing that Led Zeppelin put out. That kind of obsession in a 16-year-old is not ugly. It's beautiful.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Beautiful #Book #Kids

  • Everybody wants clean, safe energy. Some people think nuclear is the way to go. Some people think coal is the way to go. Some people think wind is the way to go. And there's always balances on that.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Thinking #Wind #People

  • Everyone's goals are the same with very small differences. I mean, the goal of a socialist and the goal of a libertarian are exactly the same. The goals are happiness and security and freedom, and you balance those.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Mean #Differences #Goal

  • My tolerance for crazy people is, I think, high a tolerance as you're ever going to find. I love being around David Allen Coe. I would have loved to hang out with Tiny Tim. I can listen to Sun Ra on a tape-recording rant.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Crazy #Thinking #People

  • I don't want anyone as president who promises to take care of me. I may be stupid, but I want a chance to try to be a grown-up and take care of my family.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Stupid #Promise #Trying

  • I had e-mail in 1984! I had an e-mail address then, which means that all you could write to was Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. There were three of us, writing to each other.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Jobs #Mean #Writing

  • I like movies that are scary, but I don't want them to be dirt dumb. I want a movie that gets my blood racing, makes me laugh, but also gives me something to think about, with maybe a little sexy thrown in. Hollywood doesn't make movies like that.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Sexy #Thinking #Blood

  • I live in Vegas, and I see people by the side of the road with cardboard signs who seem like they might have tried that spending their way out of debt thing.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Vegas #People #Debt

  • I love when violent, dangerous art is done by people who are not violent and dangerous. I love that when George Romero was making 'Dawn of the Dead,' he was coaching his son's little league team.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Art #Team #Son

  • I believe the fast track to atheism is reading the Bible. I've read it three times all the way through. It's a big part of our culture, a big part of our history. I don't just read things I agree with.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Reading #Believe #Track

  • I am a huge fan of proselytizing. I am a huge fan of speaking your mind. The only way we can share the universe... is by talking very strongly about what we believe.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Believe #Talking #Mind

  • I think one of the things about Donald Trump that's interesting is he lives in a rarified atmosphere where it's possible that he doesn't get enough feedback, enough people rolling their eyes at him. It's a danger more in show business than it is with wealth.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Eye #Thinking #Interesting

  • I was always a little embarrassed when there was an act on television that requires a great deal of skill but is a little goofy, and the host comes over and acts like the person doing this skill is some sort of fool for having learned to do something that's very, very difficult.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Skills #Television #Littles

  • I'm not bothered by the idea of getting old, or I guess you could say by having arrived at old. I was 10 when my mom turned 55. For 1955, she was a very old mom.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Mom #Ideas #Bothered

  • Having a Hummer is stupid. It's stupid to waste that much gas. It's stupid to waste that much money on gas. It's stupid to parade your insecurities on public roads. Hummers are stupid-looking.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Stupid #Insecurity #Waste

  • I'm really happy with all the art that was inspired by religion, and I think I'd be tickled to little tiny pieces if art in the future was inspired by other things.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Art #Thinking #Littles

  • If I had to imagine omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent power in the universe that chose to make my mother suffer, I don't know how I would make that make sense in the universe.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Mother #Suffering #Imagine

  • In my run-ins with Christians... I find that they really are good moral people. And we overlap on everything, and they don't seem to be the kind of people that are waiting to hear voices to tell them what to do.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Christian #Running #Voice

  • It wasn't success, because Teller and I, by the time Asparagus Valley got together - within a year, we had achieved all our goals. I mean, our goal was to earn our living doing exactly what we wanted. Which is many people's goal.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Congratulations #Mean #Years

  • From 1985 to 1994, I lived in Manhattan in a big old loft right off Times Square. I could walk to work, which was in a couple of Broadway theaters, to Howard Stern's studio, and to 30 Rock for 'Letterman' and 'SNL.' Even in New York, walking to work is homey and folksy, like living in a small town.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #New York #Couple #Squares

  • My hair is way, way long. I've hitchhiked across the country a zillion times. I've ridden in every car. I was never a hippie. It takes more than long hair.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Country #Hippie #Hair

  • I do believe that a belief in God is crazy, but that doesn't mean that the people who believe in it are crazy. Those are two different things. Ideas can be stupid and crazy, and the people who hold those ideas are not necessarily stupid and crazy.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Stupid #Crazy #Believe

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Believe #Reality #Ideas

  • The end never justifies the means because there is no end; there are only means.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Mean #Ends #Justify

  • We are only here for a little while, and our bodies belong to ourselves and no one else.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Body #Littles

  • The whole world is pretending the breakthrough is in technology. The bottleneck is really in art.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Art #Technology #World

  • Make deals with people, not paper.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #People #Paper #Deals

  • My whole take on libertarianism is simply that I don't know what's best for other people.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #People #Libertarianism

  • You can't believe how pro gay and pro freedom of speech I am. I'm way out beyond anyone on the Left. And as for fiscal conservatism and small government, I'm so much further to the right than Glenn Beck. Nobody is further left and further right than me. As I'm fond of saying, if you want to find utopia, take a sharp right on money and a sharp left on sex and it's straight ahead.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Sex #Believe #Gay

  • If you've gotten yourself into a situation when Clay Aiken is going to talk about his feelings with you, it's time to kill yourself.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Feelings #Clay #Time To Kill

  • I don't believe the majority always knows what's best for everyone.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Believe #Majority

  • The purpose of art is to collide the intellectual and visceral together at the highest speed possible.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Art #Intellectual #Together

  • I, my own damn self, am not a Tea Party supporter. I disagree with them on social liberties, our overseas wars, Obama's birthplace, Sarah Palin, and the conspicuous absence of tea at their rallies.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #War #Party #Self

  • Fear is the politicians dance partner.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Politics #Politician #Partners

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Bible #Religious #Atheist

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Religious #Believe #Heart

  • Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Believe #Mean #Helping Others

  • Thou shalt not take anything on faith
    -- Penn Jillette

  • Channeling is just bad ventriloquism. You use another voice, but people can see your lips moving.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Moving #Voice #People

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Thinking #Two #People

  • Freedom means the right to be stupid.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Stupid #Mean

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

    #World #Rational #Wanted

  • If you can just convince the dope people that the gun people are right and the gun people that the dope people are right, we could actually live in a lot more freedom.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Dope #Gun #People

  • 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.
    -- Penn Jillette

    #Smell #Diversity #Rude

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