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Laughing religion off the planet with Pat Condell

Laughing religion off the planet with Pat Condell

With over 5 million hits on YouTube, and another couple of million on LiveLeak, Pat Condell is a leading voice of atheism on the internet. He is also a stand-up comedian, a playwright, a former lumberjack, a talk-show panelist, and a subscriber to The Freethinker.

We tracked the blaspheming infidel down to a garden shed in London and asked him a few questions.

The Freethinker: Your first Youtube video was a response to the Blasphemy Challenge. Was this your first foray into the world of internet video? If so, did you imagine that it would snowball like it did?

Pat Condell: Yes, it was. I didn’t know what to expect. I was looking for ways to publicise my stand-up show when I heard about the Blasphemy Challenge. It looked like fun, so I devised a little rant about how much I deny the holy spirit (quite a lot, as it happens), made the video in my garden shed and posted it on YouTube. The positive response convinced me that this was a medium I should explore further.

I didn’t know much about YouTube, but I guessed that most of the audience would be in America, so I made ‘Hello America‘ about how I see the relationship between our two countries. Again the response was very positive, especially from Americans. It was viewed thousands of times in a few days, and I realised I could reach a lot more people like this than in a lifetime of performing in small theatres. So I mothballed the stand-up show, much of which was topical anyway, and decided to make more videos.

Then somebody alerted me to LiveLeak, a site with a more newsy edge than YouTube. I posted my videos there and ‘The trouble with Islam‘ took off. To date it has had more than 1,750,000 hits, and with 380,000 on YouTube, it’s now been seen well over two million times.

FT: What do you like about internet video as a medium?

PC: It’s open to anyone. We no longer have to ask someone else’s permission to communicate with a wider audience.

I’ve been criticising religion for years, but only in comedy clubs. Whenever I tried to do it in the mainstream media I was censored, especially by the BBC where jokes about the subject are always heavily edited, and it’s virtually impossible to say anything at all about Islam.

The internet allows all of us to bypass these self-appointed gatekeepers and communicate our ideas without interference.

FT: How has becoming an “internet celebrity” changed your life?

PC: Thanks, but I’m not any kind of celebrity. I’m just speaking my mind. My personal life hasn’t changed, I’m glad to say, because I’m very happy with it as it is.

FT: Your attacks on religion in general, and Islam in particular, have led many people to describe you as “fearless”. Are you?

PC: No. I get death threats and I take them seriously. However, I’ve never responded well to bullies, and I have no intention of starting now.

FT: Christian evangelist Dinesh D’Sousa has accused you of being smug. How do you respond to this?

PC: People have called me a lot worse. I’d never heard of this guy until someone directed me to his blog. Since then I’ve read his book on Christianity, and I didn’t see anything in it to warrant respecting his opinion on anything, so he can call me whatever he likes.

FT: Do you still do stand-up?

PC: I haven’t worked the circuit full time for years. I wrote my last show specifically to say something about religion. Confronted first hand by the political correctness at the BBC, I felt the subject was being falsely represented and legitimate opinion was being censored. As a result, religion, and Islam in particular, was getting an inflated idea of its own importance. Stand-up was the medium I knew best, and as I didn’t see anybody else in the comedy world queuing up to address this situation I elected myself.

FT: How would you describe your personal philosophy?

PC: I’m a vegetarian and I strongly support animal rights. (I hope that’s OK with Jesus.)
I find it hard not to smile at religion’s conceit that we’re superior to animals on the basis that we have souls and they don’t, when five minutes in a slaughterhouse would convince anyone that, if anything, it’s animals who have the souls and human beings who don’t.

As for my opposition to religion, it’s not about theology – I couldn’t care less whether God exists or not – it’s a civil rights issue. I believe everyone should be free to determine their own experience in life and not have it imposed by someone else. We don’t need our reality filtered through religious dogma any more than we need spring water adulterated with chemicals.

FT: What is your favourite thing about religion?

PC: If nothing else it is genuinely inclusive. Nobody is rejected, as it doesn’t require intelligence, only faith. Not that some intelligent people aren’t religious. There are people with biochemistry degrees who devote their lives to proving Genesis true. Nobody could call those people unintelligent, but they are fools.

The best thing about religion is that it’s so transparently absurd it can’t possibly last forever. I’m convinced it will only take a small shift in human consciousness for it to be laughed off the planet, and I hope I’m still around when that happens.

FT: What about the future? Will we see a collection of your videos on the market?

PC: Yes. The Richard Dawkins Foundation is issuing a non-profit DVD of my first thirty-five videos which should be out soon.

FT: What can we do to resist the growing influence of religion?

PC: We can speak out. That’s what the internet is for, and it’s the only reason my voice is being heard. We need to make as much noise as religious people do, and with as much certainty about our right to do so.

Nobody should be bullied into showing respect they don’t think is deserved. If you hear somebody claiming special treatment because of their faith you’re entitled to say: ‘No, I object to this. It offends me, it insults my beliefs, and it’s a violation of my human rights.’

Use their tactics if you feel strongly enough. Make a nuisance of yourself. Make an official complaint. Take it to a tribunal. As an atheist you’re part of a minority whose beliefs are constantly ignored and marginalised while religious prejudice is pandered to and encouraged, and you have every right to be offended by that.

Also, I would urge everyone to join the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association, both of whom do excellent work in the cause of sanity.

Remember, one person on their own can’t do much, but a million people each doing a little every day can change things very quickly.

UPDATE (1/4/08): Here is Pat’s latest video, a comment on the uproar surrounding Geert Wilders’ anti-Koran film Fitna:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3_qelW5qp4[/youtube]

175 Responses to “Laughing religion off the planet with Pat Condell”

  1. […] The Freethinker blog has an interview with atheist YouTube celebrity Pat Condell. […]

  2. MelM says:

    I always look forward to Pat’s priceless comments about religion. Really, ridicule is a valid mode of attack. It’s necessary that people who are engaged in preposterous modes of thought and end up with heads full of religious rubish, gain no respect from unbelievers. Make them look at themselves.

    As an example of what could happen if freedom of speech is lost in a bid to stop “hate speech”, here’s a paragraph from an email argument with a member of the “Peace and Justice Commission” in my city–a city well known to Pat. I was defending the idea that a religion is not a race. The commissioner wrote:

    I understand that race is not religion, but I think I made my point clearly enough and believe the term
    “racism” is being used more and more the way I did. As to how that has happened, it is intuitive. It feels like racism and ones natural response (at least mine,
    and others I’ve heard use the word similarly) is that the term applies.

    Unbelievable!! Imagine what would happen if a mentality like this were to be able to sit in judgement about “hate speech”.

  3. ziggy says:

    What I would dearly like to know is why Pat Condell gets so much – enviable – attention on the Internet.

    It is rather important, because one wants voices of reason and atheism generally to reach as many people as possible, and that in as positive a way as possible, too.

    Promoters of atheism need to ascertain and then emulate his formula for success.

  4. Steven says:

    I have been watching Pat’s videos when they come out ever since he came on to YouTube. He is saying what a lot of people are thinking and he does it in an amusing and entertaining way. Keep it up Pat.

  5. john blackburn says:

    thanks Pat.

  6. “I hope one day we can wean ourselves off oil and Saudia arabia can return to the stone age”

    I do beleive i’ve just become a Green voter…

  7. oliver says:

    When I saw Pat’s ‘The Trouble With Islam’, I thought, ‘that’s what I’ve been waiting for!’ Unadulterated reality, with a heavy dose of wit, unencumbered by crap about ‘diversity’ and other strategic diversions – and not coming from a neo-Mosleyite. It’s a shot of acid that cuts right through the flab in the liberal mind. It is worth ten thousand copies of the crapola ‘yes but, no but’ Guardian. Of course he’d get death threats! Those Islamo-tossers wouldn’t be doing their pathetic work if that wasn’t the case. Someone should bury it in the ground for exhumation in 100 years time, so that we can blanche that we gave Islam any time of day whatsoever.

  8. Josiah says:

    Condell is yet another product of a secular, dysfunctional, justice starved society. He has allowed himself to be manipulated by the system, and has been led astray by HaSatan into pointing the finger of blame at all the wrong places; he is a rancid, malicious prophet of hopelessness, with which the Atheist creed is replete: offering nothing constructive; no hope, no reason, no dignity, no honor, no moral fabric, no brotherhood; no Ahavah/agape/love for the brothers of the nation; no answers, no solutions; just the wages of G-dless sin- death! Condell virtually foams at the mouth whilst spewing out his insults, a fanatical “whacko” with few peers in the religion of Atheism.

    In all honesty, I actually believe you to be a closet shylock. I notice how you have refrained from picking out the bones of Rabbinical Judaism. You’re just a Pharisee in the guise of Hitchen’s ventriloquist dummy. I pity you for your enslaved state of mind.

  9. Bendigeiduran says:

    Golly gosh, Josiah, who did you say was the one foaming at the mouth?

  10. Bob Roberts says:

    Good satire Josiah!

  11. Zonker says:

    @Jebediah …er, Josiah

    Yes, it’s so obvious that Mr. Condell is the one with the “enslaved mind”.

    Right… irony, anyone?

  12. Marcus says:

    Let’s see if I’ve got this right, Josiah. Pat is an anti-semite, albeit a closeted one, because he has “REFRAINED from picking out the bones of Rabbinical Judaism.” This smacks to me of rampant paranoia. Clearly your religion militates against you reasoning logically.

  13. Dick says:

    The only problem I have with Condell’s stuff is that it’s not that funny.
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan, I enjoy it and very occaissionally it might raise a smile in me, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it comedy.
    It seemed like a very good move for him to leave the club circuit and concentrate on his video messages.
    I hope he continues and can make a good living out of it.

  14. sid says:

    so whats ur opinion on israel in palestine..after all the land belongs to palestine

  15. joe kearney says:

    ime very interested in activism for atheism and look forward to pats video,s there is a genuine fear among ordinary people and it is expressed as an unwillingness to confront the unreasonable demands of religouse factions. ime sure most muslims are decent people but then so probably werte most germans under hitler and we all know what happened there. keep up the good work pat.

  16. Daisie says:

    I’ve been a fan for several years and pleased that at last he is able to hit a wider audience.

  17. smilingface says:

    I have always been listening to Pat Condell through iTunes and i really love it. Especially the one about Judaism was too good where he ends with “Shalom – i know it makes sense”.

  18. Nicolai says:

    Pat Condell’s point that religious people are mostly stupid is interesting.
    I beleive that many intelligent people can be religious. In fact they can think very much much for themselves in just about any topic, but they cannot allow themselves to really think freely with respect to their religion because of their brainwashed upbringing. These people could never be converts to religion, just born into it.
    However, with time and education and if they are allowed to take time away from their religious peers, chances are they would start to dispel the fear and then begin to think. There is not chance of that happening with stupid people.
    Conversely I don’t believe that there can ever be stupid atheists. Eventually, they will be converted by someone into a believer.

  19. darren james white says:

    well done pat, keep it up mate. about time us atheists had our say, i am sick of the religous sheep having it their way for so long, now its our turn and they hate it, they need to realise that if they can dish out they have to learn to take it too, we need more people like you and richard dawkins, sam harris etc to fight our fight against the virus that is religion.

  20. Josiah says:

    Condell makes only biased, provocative and sarcastic attempts at character assassination; not a modicum of intellect and “humour” is contained in such base sport. Condell exhibits the lowest form of wit. In fact, when sarcasm is vomited out with Condell’s vile acerbity, it merely amounts to hate speech. Condell is a hateful bigot, a fanatic for his Atheist creed.

  21. Pieter says:

    FITNA the Dutch controversial movie has a trailer since this week. Although it’s a French trailer I am sure the meaning of it’s content is sure for a few people out there.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzrcuynGYxE

  22. Ivan says:

    Pat, your very much my hero. I think the way you present your views on atheism are as entertaining as they are vitally important. Please keep going mate.

    Ivan

  23. Ben says:

    Thank you very much for being the voice of Atheists and people disgruntled with the behavior, and more importantly, the flaunting of native laws by Muslims. Great work Pat!

  24. Dirty Leftie says:

    Keep on telling it like it is, Pat.
    You express so eloquently what I and (I am sure) many others think, especially about the “religion of peace”.
    More power to your elbow.

  25. H. Twerda says:

    Dear Pat Condell,

    What do you think about the swift recognition of the Independence of Kosovo? Is it also an example of apeasing Islam, or is it totally separate from the apeasement, and simply done because they believe that this is necessary to be fair towards the people of Kosovo?

  26. Ray says:

    Your “Appeasing Islam” video is right on the mark.
    I’m glad to hear someone in Europe poking a finger in the eye of multi-cultural morons!!

    Thanks from the USA

  27. Ben Thomas says:

    Keep up the great work. I love your videos. Your sarcastic wit is wonderful and had me laughing until I almost cried. I agree with you on just about every aspect of your videos, and have for many years given almost as deep a thought as you have evidently done, except that you are far more elequent than I in expressing your moral outrage of the stupidity of humans to believe whatever they are fed by those they supposedly admire.
    Idiots almost all…….

  28. Ian Oliver says:

    A very clear, sensible chap. However, I dislike the videos. A picture of a person saying words is (largely) visually redundant.

    I shall stick to the reading bit.

    Cheers,

    Ol.

  29. MS says:

    Hey Josiah, if it’s hate speech you want then you’ll find monotheistic religion absolutely crammed with it.

    And that’s just the ‘holy’ books, imagine the sheep… sorry, followers…

  30. SMSreporter says:

    Hello everyone

    What surprises us here in occupied Europe is that Pat Condell, who is living in UK, is still a live.

    SMSreporter

  31. Garry says:

    Hello Pat

    Would 1stly like to say that I enjoy very much watching your video blogs on You tube. On the whole I totally agree with many of your views on religion, its influences on & within society. I can see that this is simply more than just a sarcastic stab at this relic of delusional & insidious aspect of human mind control. You are obviously a man of conviction so as a fellow atheist & a free thinker keep up the blogs, keep pumping put the message that religion represents nothing more than backward thinking and evolutionary regression. The world needs more atheists and less bigots!

    All the best
    Garry Haynes
    England

  32. BlackOak says:

    Yikes Josiah … sounds like you’ve been enslaved by your imaginary gods.

  33. Dinesh de Souza says:

    I am a smug little jesus freak who seeks world domination. Someone should smack me in the mouth many many times.

  34. Tim Hollis says:

    I actively promote Pat’s videos from my news satire and bookmarking sites. I watched ‘Hello America’ and was an instant fan. Humor that’s highbrow is the most challenging to create and he does it in seeming stride. All of the videos are wonderful.

  35. USBeast says:

    As an agnostic I find it hard to believe that any god capable of creating such a huge, multi-faceted universe would give a rat’s rump what his/her/its/their creations thought about it. The notion that there is only one “true religion” would be hilarious if so many people weren’t ready to kill non-believers over it.

    Pat has become a family favorite here at Beastly Manor and the cry of “Pat’s got a new one!” is greeted with shouts of delight and a stampede to the computer. Long may he rave and may all the gods he doesn’t believe in keep him safe.

  36. Joe Kaffir says:

    Pat: Your “Appeasing islam” is fantastic ! I hope that Geert Wilders’ film “Fitna” is as spot on in our war against islamic insanity.

  37. Neil McGowan says:

    I don’t see you standing up for human rights in China, Pat?

    Is that because you’re a gutless cunt?

    You claim to be a fearless atheist – so that puts you on the same side as your Chinese Commie pals who are torturing and murdering the Buddhists, doesn’t it???

    So when are you going to come out and admit that you love seeing Buddhist monks being beaten-up by your Chineese pals, you gutless fucking ARSEHOLE, Pat???????????

  38. Ron Williams says:

    I don’t doubt that Pat will have something to say about hypocricy wherever he sees it! And there is plenty of this evident in the West’s attitude to China these days.

  39. Gino de Vries says:

    Neil McCoward is missing the point here and I take it that good old Neil has himself a airplain ticket to China to go and tell the Chinees to stop that crap and whill he’s at it he can fly to Zimbabwe to tell that rightwing batard of a Mugabe to stop his shit.
    I bet you’re one of those rednecks who’se in favor of the war in Iraq.
    Wise up Neil and don’t get a heartattack.

  40. Charlie Dyer says:

    That was a despicable comment Neil and totally unjustified. I cannot for a moment imagine that Pat doesn’t stand up for human rights… of course he does! He bangs on about it all the time – you obviously haven’t been listening!!! Anyhow, you obviously have a bee in your bonnet and just feel like taking it out on someone for the sake of it (we-hay… let’s target Pat Condell!) and find an outlet for such disgusting and immature language. I believe that Pat Condell, like most of us, condones what is happening in China. But then, Pat would have to put his current topical videos to one side and start reflecting and commenting on human rights in general… the question is, where does it end, and how long can one live to discuss everything?

  41. Dave McKeegan says:

    Neil, you are so obviously brimming with love and spiritual peace. What are you – Christian or Muslim?

  42. Heathenistic Sinner says:

    I am so grateful to be living in a time that finally, once and for all, atheism is being brought to the forefront by wonderful individuals like Pat Condell, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, et al.

    They have the incredible capabilities to speak and write what we other fellow ‘heathens’ have been thinking/feeling all along, but do not possess said talent to successfully accomplish the virtually impossible task of calling a spade, well, a spade…. and debunking the mass fairy tales(with such vim and vigor, I might add) as these fine gents have managed to do thus far.

    And to top it all off… without the usage of euphemisms or patronizing fluff.

    Thank you Pat !
    You do an atheist proud !

  43. Mark says:

    Great job Pat.
    Thanks for all.It’s time to stand up. Your videos are like fresh air. keep up!

    Mark

  44. Sorry. I just don’t find Pat Condell funny. Just too many untruths in his videos. Once you start actually looking into the facts and figures of what he says, simply unravel. Is he genuinely ignorant about what he is talking about? Or just downright disingenious?

  45. Jurij says:

    If I don’t stop watching your videos on youtube, I’ll probably laugh myself into popping a brainvessel. FUCKING GREAT!!!!!!

  46. T.Anderson says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed all of Pat’s video rants, except for the occasional sniping at the one nation’s efforts to confront the Islamic threat. One need not be a “redneck” to support the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    While I do not agree with how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been prosecuted, I agree unequivocally that they had to be waged. As predictable as usual, the duplicitous Democrats and sundry other ultra-liberal armchair quarterbacks decry “wrong war” in between their mindless screeds about “blood for oil,” but they never offer any viable alternative solutions (and they refuse to admit that neither of the Persian Gulf wars were about stealing Iraq’s oil). Bush could certainly have chosen to wage war on one of the other offending nations such as Iran, but then the moonbats would simply be screaching about that war instead of the one in Iraq. There are several candidate countries in desperate need of a serious ass kicking, but in response to escalating global terrorism our nation’s leaders had to make a choice, and for myriad reasons the strategic desision at that moment was made to take out Saddam. No matter the decision, the Dems would condemn it, and they would still not offer a viable alternative solution, just more of their incessent idiot and inane whining.

    The only solution to date even suggested by the dumbass Dems is to invite the worst tyrants and dictators to the White House to “talk” (read: attempt to placate and appease through bribery — see Neville Chamberlain, WW-II). This is more of the same failed policy of the past 60+ years. You want “change”? G.W. Bush provided it as Ronald Reagan would have done.

    Please recall Jimmy Carter’s Iran Hostage Crisis that lasted 444 days and ended THE DAY Ronald Reagan took office. Please recall that Willy Clinton failed to offer an appropriate response after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, he failed to do anything at all about the attacks and bombings of the Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex in 1996, Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy in 1998, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania U.S. Embassy in 1998, and the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden, Yemen in 2000.

    The current cadre of Democrat candidates would bring more of the same failures; after Truman and JFK they’ve all become invertebrates. The Democrats would have us continue this practice of cowering and kowtowing to punks and bullies the world over, just as Pat rails about in Europe. THIS is why we’ve lost respect, this is why “they” hate us; terrorists do not fear attacking us because they know can do so without risk of reprisal. No Democrat candidate offers to change any of this.

    My hope for change is that America will re-grow its spine. Democrats offer no hope for our security let alone our survival; they barely acknowledge the threat. Given the choice between the foreign policy and crisis management skills of Carter or Clinton vs. Reagan or Bush, I’ll choose the latter every time.

    Cheers!

    We make war that we may live in peace.
    —Aristotle

    A bad peace is even worse than war.
    —Tacitus

    Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.
    —Benjamin Franklin

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    —Thomas Jefferson

    If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.
    —George Washington

    I have never advocated war except as a means of peace.
    —Ulysses S. Grant

    The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.
    —Theodore Roosevelt

    To insist on strength is not war-mongering. It is peace-mongering.
    —Barry M. Goldwater

    It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
    —John F. Kennedy

    “For too long, the world was paralyzed by the argument that terrorism could not be stopped until the grievances of terrorists were addressed. The complicated and heartrending issues that perplex mankind are no excuse for violent, inhumane attacks, nor do they excuse not taking aggressive action against those who deliberately slaughter innocent people.”
    —Ronald Reagan

    Now the world has to learn the lesson all over again that weakness in the face of a threat from a tyrant is the surest way not to peace but to war. Looking back over 12 years, we have been the victims of our own desire to placate the implacable, to persuade towards reason the utterly unreasonable, to hope that there was some genuine intent to do good in a regime whose mind is in fact evil.
    —Tony Blair

  47. Pieter says:

    It is said that the controversial movie FITNA will be broadcasted before the first of april. I think the tension is heating up somewhat, because Dutch and Danish embasseys already brought their flag down in Beirut. All because of some individual is supposedly going to say something bad about islam. The world crumbles before it’s shown.. So enjoy the new trailer from the thing to come soon..
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=rDN3CL7vcWg

  48. Jake Atkisson says:

    Most alleged adults are far too childish to grasp most of what Pat is both saying and pointing out, often preferring instead to feel insulted or to nit-pick irrelevant details as a means of distracting themselves from having to spend the least bit of time actually thinking about it.

    I, personally, find Pat’s willingness to cross over-emphasized “boundaries” of etiquette and deliver the machete’s edge of wit-honed reason to the very overgrown verdigris of utter nonsense and superstitious psychological terrorism that is religion.

    Pat Condell, I salute you; you are a patriot of the same cut as Benjamin Franklin himself.

  49. LEN says:

    MR. CONDELL…..THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU. I HOPE YOU LIVE TO BE AT LEAST 100 YEARS OLD TO KEEP THE VIDEOS COMING. WHAT A BREATH OF FRESH AIR WITHOUT ANY BS.