DP: Hi, everybody, Dennis Prager here, the ultimate issues hour, and here is the ultimate issue today, which is receiving fascinating responses from you, and it’s interesting to me that the last caller, A) he was a terrific call, B) it was interesting that he didn’t predict my response. And I wasn’t sure he would. That’s why I asked him. I mean, how often do I say to somebody who ask me a question what do you think I’ll answer? Maybe once a year. And that was it for this year, perhaps. But it was a very interesting question to me. I’m advocating, folks, as follows: If you’re an agnostic, that means you’re halfway between faith and non-faith regarding God. So I’m saying to you, since you can’t live, or most people certainly don’t half-half, half the year as a believer, half the year as a non-believer, why don’t you choose to live a year as a religious person, because you’ve obviously, in the vast majority of cases of agnostics, chosen to live an irreligious life. But that’s not fair to your own conviction, because you’re not completely on that side. You’re in the middle. So why don’t you give yourself a chance for one year to lead a religious life. Then see if you’re still exactly in the middle. And then…so then, this young man from San Antonio called me, well, would you advocate the opposite, that somebody who has only led a religious life spend a year leading a secular life. And I said yes, I would be. I think it would strengthen their religiosity, or at least knock out just the habit part of it. There’s a lot of unthinking religiosity in this world, and that’s a big problem. So yes, I think the world would benefit from that. And if some left their religion as a result, it’s a gamble that I will just have to take. I’d rather have 75% of religious people be religious after having experienced secularism than 100% of them religious out of habit, yes. That’s correct. I am more interested in quality than quantity. That’s correct. All righty…let’s go to Steve, this is very funny, Steve is between 40 and 50 years of age. Is that correct, Steve?
Steve: Well, that sounds all right. Well, I don’t like my age being given out.
DP: All right, I was only kidding. He’s between 20 and 70.
Steve: I feel better now.
DP: Okay, fair. I knew it.
Steve: Yeah, you can experience God’s presence without necessarily believing in God. Now that sounds like an oxymoron, maybe.
DP: No, it isn’t. Wait, wait, wait. Oh, you can feel God’s presence without believing in God?
Steve: Without feeling that necessarily God exists, correct.
DP: So you’re feeling the presence of something you don’t think exists.
Steve: Well, do you ever feel the presence of time?
DP: Yes, but time does exist.
Steve: Does it? What’s it made out of?
DP: Well, the fact that it’s not made out of anything doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Steve: Okay, well, then there you go.
DP: No, no, no. Not there you go. The fact that it’s not made of something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I can’t…
Steve: Well, you better carefully examine then the meaning of existence then.
DP: All right, well, Steve, you know what? You got hung up in philosophy 1.7.
Steve: Well, you’ve got to…you’ve got…
DP: No, no. Steve, Steve, excuse me, I believe beauty exists, but it, too, does not have an objective tactile definition. The fact that something is not objectively definable doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Does beauty exist?
Steve: Well, do fairies exist?
DP: No, fairies don’t exist.
Steve: Well, why not? They’re a product of your thought.
DP: That’s right. So if God is only the product of my thought, then God doesn’t exist. You’re right. So what, I still don’t know what your point is.
DP: All let’s take another agnostic. Denton, Texas, Jonathan. Hello, Jonathan, Dennis Prager.
Jonathan: Hey, Dennis. Dennis, how are you doing?
DP: Good, thanks.
Jonathan. I may be able to answer your question as regards to a secular life and an agnostic. Gandhi, I’m told, I haven’t read, but in conversation I’ve been told said if you could show me a Christian, I would be one. And…
DP: Well, if he said that, well, well, to his, I just want to defend him, and he’s made some foolish comments, like he told the Jews of Europe to be pacifist, they would impress the Nazis. But I mean, that notion, if you find a Christian, I would be one, is actually not only stupid, and I’m not saying he said it, because I don’t think he was stupid, but that comment is stupid, because of course there are people who embody Christianity. I mean…
Jonathan: Well, I don’t think it’s…
DP: Wait, what is somebody said to him, if you find me a Hindu, I’d be one. I mean, it’s just absurd.
Jonathan: Well, then that’s how you view it if, like we said, he made that comment. But the reason I bring it up is to segue to where you were asking your question directly, and that is as an agnostic at best, and I am, I view manners and decorum and civility as cornerstones of how to best operate whether it’s for your own motivations and survival and advantage, or just out of respect for someone else’s personal beliefs and lifestyle, as well as other factors, not cheating in business, not…
DP: I believe you do. Yeah, I believe you, Jonathan. I’ve never in my life argued that you can’t be a moral person if you’re secular. So you’re not responding to anything that I’ve said. I mean, it’s a fine call, but it’s not related to a thing I’ve said.
Jonathan: Well, I don’t go to church is what I’m saying to you.
DP: I know what you’re saying…
Jonathan: Most of these values are attributed to a religious lifestyle.
DP: No, no, no. Jonathan, I didn’t even mention the concept of ethics or morality. All I said was if you are in the middle, why not give religious life a try for a year. I didn’t say you can’t be ethical if you are secular, or you can’t be ethical if you’re secular. I didn’t say that.
Jonathan: Well, why you wouldn’t give it is because you see it as a shallow, backward progression to where society in where you’re hoping it moves to. In other words, I’d rather see Muslims and Christians and atheists and agnostics moving in the same direction of manners, civility, decency…
DP: Oh, I would love them to do so. I don’t know why they have to abandon their faith to do that.