Penn Jillette, of the Penn and Teller comedy magic duo, named the Bible as one of his six favorite books in a column for “The Week.” Anyone who reads all of it will become an atheist, Jillette asserts.
Besides entertaining audiences with his friend Teller (born Raymond Joseph Teller), Jillette is well known for being outspoken about his atheist and libertarian views.
“If you’re considering becoming an atheist, read the Bible from cover to cover,” Jillette wrote. “No study guides, no spins, just read it. Sometime between when God tells Abraham to kill his son and when Jesus tells everyone to put him before their families, you’ll be an atheist.”
Jillette’s other five favorite books were also tied in different ways to his atheism.
Herman Melville‘s Moby Dick is Jillette’s favorite book, which he views as an allegory about a foolish search for God because “the white whale is God, and Ahab is wasting his life chasing God.”
A book about World War II “proves there’s no God” and a book about the “green revolution” describes people “doing God’s work, because God isn’t going to.”
Jillette has also written books about atheism, including God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales and Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales from the Author of God, No!, which was released this month.
Jillette and Teller are both libertarian in their political views and fellows with Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
In a YouTube video that went viral three years ago, Jillette criticized atheists who argue that Christians should not share their faith with others.
“I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize,” Jillette said, “I don’t respect that at all.
“If you believe that there is a Heaven and a Hell, and people could be going to Hell … and you think 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? I mean, if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it, … there’s a certain point where I tackle you, and [everlasting life] is more important than that.”