Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Illogic of Postmodernity in Action: Penn Jillette on the Gift of a Bible

Penn Jillette, of Penn and Teller fame, uploaded a short message relating an experience he had with a proselytizing Christian after a show. Penn is an admitted atheist. The video is a good study for those dealing with Postmodernists.

Mr. Jillette said that he has no respect for Christian believers who don't proselytize. He, rightly, believes that if you believe someone is going to hell and you don't tell them, it adds up to hatred. He said,

If I belived beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was going to hit you, and you didn't believe it, but that truck was bearing down on you, there's a certain point where I tackle you...and this is more important than that.

So this man understands what would be at stake, and its importance, but then negates it all with a statement of unbelief. To him, a polite Christian is relative to politeness in any other person. There is no underlying purpose (or at least not one that matters). Yet he calls the Christian a "good man." What seems to make the man "good" is the sincerity of his convictions. Mr. Jillette felt cared for.

Finally, Penn Jillette communicated that being a "good man" is "real important". Here is the major logical disconnect in his argument. There is a purpose to how the Christian lived, which evidenced itself in care, evangelism, and being a good man. But Penn took the evidence without the purpose. The question then becomes, why is it "important" to be good? What standards do we measure good by and what is the end result? If there is no grand purpose and no end goal, why should anyone pursue goodness? To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, Penn's argument cuts its own throat. The very thing that brings goodness is the thing rejected.

So, a question for you, Mr. Jillette, If a man has poured his whole life out for you and you turn away from him, how much must you hate him? That man, Mr. Jillette, is Jesus Christ, and he is the only reason for goodness to exist within the world. He is the reason because the entire corpus of Scripture, the only true guide on goodness, points directly to him. It is my sincere hope, sir, that you kept that Bible and that you read it.

There are some Scripture verses that are particularly relevant here.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).

[T]he Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God (John 3:14-21).

1 comment:

Jerald said...

My constant prayer is that more people would be so bold as to find a way to connect with even the most unconnectable. Just having the moxy to hand an avowed athiest a Bible is what more and more "church folks" should do.
I think that this video is also a good study for anyone who would share the saving faith in Jesus Christ with the world. It's really not that hard. And, who knows, maybe Jillette did read some of it. And, who knows, maybe something he read might click with him some day. And, who knows, maybe it will change his life.