By Kathleen Gilbert

  December 22, 2008 ( – Departing from the usual atheist response to proselytizing believers, Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame mused aloud in a video monologue: if you believed eternal life was at stake, why would you remain silent? In other words, they wondered why Christians are so strangely reluctant to share what they believe is necessary for the eternal salvation of every person.

  Penn, a magician and entertainer, is known for irreverently debunking the Bible as a hoax on a list with such items as alien abduction and ESP on the popular “Penn & Teller: Bulls**t!”, one of his many television projects co-hosted by partner Raymond Teller. 

  In his latest “Penn Says” series of video commentary, however, Penn warmly praised a man who approached him after a show to compliment his performance and hand him a small copy of the Psalms and New Testament.

“If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and that people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward – and atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize ‘just leave me alone, keep your religion to yourself,’ – how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?” Penn asked. 

“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?”

  To view the YouTube video, go to:

  Penn seemed taken aback by the well-spoken believer, whom he called “polite, and honest, and sane, and he cared enough about me to proselytize and give me a Bible.

“Now, I know there’s no God, and one polite person living his life right doesn’t change that,” Penn said.  “But I’ll tell you – he was a very, very, very good man. … I still think that religion does a lot of bad stuff, but man, that was a good man that gave me that book.”