Tonight on The Glenn Beck Program, Glenn invited two of his favorite people, atheist Penn Jillette and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, onto the show to debate morality, faith, and religion. It was an amazing discussion and the three didn’t agree on everything, but it was a thoughtful and deep conversation that is a must watch for anyone interested in honest conversations about ethics and God.
“What unifies is certainly not our theologies but it certainly is our ethic,” Rabbi Lapin said before turning to Penn Jillete,”But when we say religion can make good people do bad things – I think we’ve got to not lump all religions together Here’s a really blunt question: Would the world be a better or worse place if a billion Mulsims became evangelical Christians tomorrow?”
Penn was stunned and left speechless, and Glenn jokingly grabbed a bag of popcorn and ate it laughing as he waited for answer.
“All other things being equal? Then I think yes,” Penn said.
He continued, “The argument is made by me that the celebration of faith, the glorification of faith, and faith being defined as The Bible does as belied without proof is not something that i feel is good to celebrate. To answer the question about evil – I always find that evil takes responsibility away. I want to have -whether it’s me or a criminal – I want to have full responsibility of my mistakes. And I think when you have this image [of an angel and a devil]…pulling you one direction or another. That idea of evil is an idea that is anti-responsibility.”
Glenn agreed that religion can go bad, noting that there are people in each and every faith who can be an embarrassment through their actions.
Glenn also said that in his faith it is really important to be a a good example and that he has a problem with “saying ‘let’s go get people baptized'”. Instead, he believes it’s important to be a good example and a good person and if others are led to ask questions about faith as a result then that’s great.
Rabbi Lapin, Glenn, and Penn also delved into where morality comes from when you are an atheist. Penn said that there is a morality that exists outside of God, and he joked that whenever he is asked what stops him from doing something evil – like raping or killing – it’s that he simply doesn’t want to.
“There is a logic to morality, there is a heart to morality, and I think you can do it. I think the number of people that you should want to rape and kill should be zero,” Penn said.
Rabbi Lapin said to some extent he agreed with Penn, but he’s not sure that it’s true on every corner in America or the world and doubted that everyone defaulted to the same morality.
“I’m a little skeptical of it because there are so many instances of smart and intelligent people…who if there is an intrinsic and automatic natural morality implanted into humanity – why aren’t they feeling it?” Lapin said.
The three also discussed coincidences and how they work from the perspectives of an atheist and from people of faith.