DALLAS — An recent episode of a national late-night stand-up comedy show featured a segment where two popular American comedians debated the existence of God and their problems with “fundamentalist Christians.”
John Fugelsang and Jamie Kilstein appeared this week on Totally Biased with Kamau Bell, and sat down to participate in a discussion segment entitled “Does God Exist?” The program airs on FX, a channel owned by FOX Entertainment Group.
While Kilstein identified as an atheist, Fugelsang told the audience that he grew up in a Catholic family, as his mother was formerly a nun and his father was a Franciscan brother.
“I’ve come to view Jesus much the way I’ve come to view Elvis,” Fugelsang stated. “I love the guy, but a lot of the fan clubs really freak me out. … I think God is a little too hip to join unauthorized fan clubs.”
Kilstein then stated that he sees religion as being a tool used to justify one’s dislike of other lifestyles.
“I feel that a lot of people will use religion to sort of solidify their agenda,” he asserted. “You do look at the most prominent homophobia, sexism–all this stuff comes from religion.”
But Fugelsang contended that there is a difference between religion and the teachings of Christ, asserting that the beliefs and viewpoints of most Christians are in error.
“A lot of fundamentalist Christians read the Bible and they skip right from the golden calf to the Book of Revelation and then the Left Behind books,” he quipped, “and they leave out the fact that Jesus was pretty much the most extremely liberal guy ever in history, or literature, or whatever your belief system is.”
“Look at the character of Jesus: He scares the [expletive] out of conservatives even today,” Fugelsang asserted. “If Jesus came back today, you wouldn’t be able to hear Him talk over the sound of Christians calling him a socialist.”
The comic and actor then proceeded to claim that Jesus was not opposed to homosexuality, abortion and fornication as most Christians believe.
“[He] was a peaceful, radical non-violent revolutionary who hung out with lepers, hookers and crooks, never spoke English, wasn’t an American citizen, anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer,” Fugelsang declared. “Never anti-gay, never anti-abortion, never anti-premarital sex, long-haired, brown skin … homeless Middle Eastern Jew.”
As the audience began to clap and cheer, Kilstein spoke up.
“If that guy was real, I would totally hang out with him!” he exclaimed, eliciting laughter.
“My take is that if I get up to Heaven and there is a God, and He’s like, ‘You were wrong. How did you live your life?’ [I’ll say], ‘I tried to help people. I tried to give to charity. I didn’t know you were real. There was no evidence,'” Kilstein explained. “And if he’s like, ‘Well, you didn’t worship Me everyday,’ then I’m [going to be] like, ‘Fine. Send me wherever is as far away from You as possible. You’re a sociopath.'”
Reaction to the segment from online commenters has largely been negative.
“Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He was teaching about forgiveness, not abolishing chastity. He taught people to give of themselves to help the poor. He never said that we had a right to steal from others to help the poor,” one wrote. “Never taught against abortion? How about His comment that it would be better to drown yourself than to offend one of the little ones? … I have a hard time believing he would be in favor of killing 3500 babies a day or surrendering our agency to the tyranny of government.”
“Liberals ignore Jesus’ call for us to be holy–without sin. They read ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ but ignore Jesus’ next line, ‘Go now and leave your life of sin,'” another stated. “I used to be one who took God’s forgiveness for granted–living life for my own ultimate pleasure–even if it meant living outside if God’s plan. Do I know His plan? I know His plan doesn’t include me injecting heroin into my arm, womanizing and stealing.”
“Jesus was not a liberal. He was not a conservative. He was and is the Son of the Living God. He is the perfect lamb and the perfect sacrifice. He is all knowing, and is perfect. He died to save man’s soul from Hell,” a third commenter declared. “When He returns, He will return as a King.”