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?
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.
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What I have a problem with is not so much religion or god, but faith. When you say you believe something in your heart and therefore you can act on it, you have completely justified the 9/11 bombers. You have justified Charlie Manson. If it's true for you, why isn't it true for them? Why are you different? If you say "I believe there's an all-powerful force of love in the universe that connects us all, and I have no evidence of that but I believe it in my heart, " then it's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that Sharon Tate deserves to die. It's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that you need to fly planes into buildings for Allah.
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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?
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Nobody that has seen a baby born can believe in god for a second. When you see your child born, and the panic, and the amount of technology that is saving the life of the two people you love most in the world, when you see how much stainless steel and money it takes to fight off the fact that god wants both those people dead, no one, no one can look into the eyes of a newborn baby and say there's a god, because I'll tell ya, if we were squatting in the woods, the two people I love most would be dead. There's just no way around that. If I were in charge, no way. We need technology to fight against nature; nature so wants us dead. Nature is trying to kill us.
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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.
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.
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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.
'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.
There is this tremendous amount of arrogance and hubris, where somebody can look at something for five minutes and dismiss it. Whether you talk about gaming or 20th century classical music, you can't do it in five minutes. You can't listen to 'The Rite of Spring' once and understand what Stravinsky was all about.
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.
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.
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.
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When I was a kid, politicians wanted to avoid talking about religion if they could. John F. Kennedy couldn't duck the issue, being Catholic and all. So how did he address it? By reminding Americans that religion shouldn't be an issue, that he was concentrating on big things like poverty and hunger and leading the space race.
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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.
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.
When 9/11 hit, the second thing I said to myself was, 'This really is what religious people do.' Those people flying the plane were very good, very pious, truly faithful believers. There's no other way to paint them. Of course, they are extremists by definition, but they certainly aren't going against Islam in any real way.