Here's an excerpt from an article in Saturday's Toronto Star [Penn Jillette and the gospel of disbelief ]. I agree with Penn Jillette about the meaning of "respect." This point about respect and confrontation comes up in a discussion on John Wilkins' blog [Tone Wars]. Penn may be impressed by how many people get it but I'm more impressed by how many people don't.
If you know Penn & Teller — the famed magicians, humourists and debunkers, stars of the cable series Bullshit! — you know, broadly speaking, what to expect from their long-running show in Las Vegas and their appearance Wednesday at Massey Hall. If not, you might be surprised by Penn Jillette: first of all by how positively evangelical a man can be about atheism, and secondly by how happy he is to clash with genuinely who fervently disagree.
“We get a lot of people coming up to us after shows and saying ‘I’m a Christian but I really enjoy your passion,’ ” Jillette, 55, says on the phone from Sin City, where Penn & Teller’s show has been running at the Rio Hotel for nine years.
“There’s a big difference between tolerance and respect. Tolerance is you saying something crazy and me smiling and saying ‘that’s nice.’ Respect is when you say something crazy and I say ‘you’re out of your f---ing mind.’ Direct confrontation, direct conversation is real respect. And it’s amazing how many people get that.”
[Hat Tip: Canadian Atheist]