Is There A God?

Throughout history, humanity has sought to explain the unexplainable through spirituality and science, grappling to glean truth from competing ideologies. In a complicated and conflicted world, it would help to at least be assured in our faith, comfortable in the knowledge that we can follow the spiritual blueprint espoused by our favorite entertainer. These responses to the question "Is there a God?" don't form a cohesive answer, so readers will have to draw their own conclusions. For example, those with unwavering faith in a higher power can take solace in the beliefs of Rick James and Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton, while atheists can share a common bond with director Todd Solondz and Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon. Those who remain undecided should scour the 40 remaining answers—gathered over the course of the past two years—and base their religious beliefs on those of the celebrity they like best.

Conan O'Brien can be seen every weeknight on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, repeats of which now air at a respectable hour on Comedy Central.

The Onion: Is there a God?
Conan O'Brien: Yes. Wait, hold on. No.

The former lead singer of Talking Heads, David Byrne is an author, musician, and head of the world-scouring Luaka Bop record label.

The Onion: Is there a God?

David Byrne: Um... whoa. I'm going to resist trying to go for a flip and funny answer. [Pauses.] I would say yes, but in a form so strange and so convoluted and so unusual for us that we will never, ever comprehend it.

John Leguizamo is an actor and monologist known for his one-man shows and appearances in Summer Of Sam, Carlito's Way, and The Pest.

The Onion: Is there a God?

John Leguizamo: Yeah, but there's not just one God. There's a whole lot of gods, because one God couldn't have possibly made so many mistakes all by Himself. This had to be done by committee.

Emo Philips regularly tours the nation's comedy clubs, and recently released a CD titled Emo.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Emo Philips: Well, the God question, you can never know for sure. 'Cause let's say you died, and you're in heaven for, like, 600 trillion years. There still might be an announcement over the PA system, "Well, everyone, this is the best we could do. Sorry, we gave it a good go, you know, but we're imperfect." Mortal beings always need faith that God exists, that a perfect God exists. Like [mathematician Blaise] Pascal said, do you choose to believe, or do you choose not to believe? If you choose to believe, you have nothing to lose, but if you choose not to believe, what are you really going to get? That's Pascal's Wager, and that should be taught in kindergarten.

Nick Lowe has written and recorded hundreds of songs, some of the best of which can be found on 2001's The Convincer.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Nick Lowe: [Long pause.] Yes.

Milwaukee-based filmmaker Mark Borchardt was the subject of the 1999 documentary American Movie.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Mark Borchardt: Why ask me?

Mike Binder is an actor (Minority Report), director (Blankman), and creator/director/writer/ star (HBO's The Mind Of The Married Man).

The Onion: Is there a God?

Mike Binder: There is a God, but He doesn't like show business.

O: That's why show-business people don't have money or fame or success.

MB: Absolutely, absolutely. That's why we suffer so.

A member of the famed Upright Citizens Brigade, Matt Besser was in the cast of the comedy troupe's excellent Comedy Central series.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Matt Besser: [Long, lingering pause.] No.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, label mogul, and rock icon Ani DiFranco just released a live double album called So Much Shouting / So Much Laughter.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Ani DiFranco: Well, it depends on how you mean. In my book, no. I guess the quick answer would be "no" for me. I think, whatever my spiritual leanings are, that the deities are many and that we possess them. I do not assign responsibility to a higher being. I think that we're responsible to each other, and God is a metaphor.

Actor and Phantom Planet drummer Jason Schwartzman is best known for his role in Rushmore.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Jason Schwartzman: I don't know. I hate to get religious, but I know I'm talking to somebody. When I was a little kid, I was talking to someone when I was in Little League and I was all, like, "Please, may I not drop the ball?" So there's hopefully someone out there that I was talking to.

O: So you're saying you have a personal relationship with God.

JS: I have his phone number.

The jangly guitar of Roger McGuinn, former leader of The Byrds, remains one of the most unmistakable sounds in rock music.

The Onion: Is there a God?
Roger McGuinn: I believe God exists, absolutely.

Performance artist, musician, and author Laurie Anderson's most recent studio album is 2001's Life On A String.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Laurie Anderson: Yes.

O: Do you want to elaborate on that?

LA: Well, okay, at the risk of being completely corny, it exists as a potential in every single person. That's what attracts me to Buddhism, because it's the only belief system in which there is no God at all. There is no big authority figure; there is no ultimate anything. You are God. And that's really terrifying. Suddenly, you realize, "Oh my God, that means I'm responsible, and there's nobody to grovel in front of, no one to blame, and no one to praise. I need to do this myself." That's almost more than anybody can take, but that's what I admire about Buddhism.

Chuck Palahniuk wrote Fight Club and four other novels, including the new Lullaby.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Chuck Palahniuk: Yes.

O: Care to elaborate?

CP: Boy. Let me get back to you when I'm dead.

Andy Richter, the former co-host of Late Night With Conan O'Brien, has gone on to act in countless movies and TV shows.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Andy Richter: I don't think so. I don't know. I don't think about it much, because I figure, what's the point? I don't know if it's agnosticism. There are things that are beyond our comprehension, so why bother? That's sort of my spiritual feelings. I feel like there might be some design. You can't think, like, "Well, how did everything get here?" I don't know. That's how it is. "I don't know, next, now what's for lunch?" When you pray, I don't think anyone's listening. Besides other people, I don't think anyone cares if you murder people or masturbate or shove things up your butt. I don't think there's anybody sitting in the sky watching you. You're on your own. All you have is other people around you, and how you treat them. I actually think that not having a focus on God would make life better, because there would be more of an imperative to be nice to each other. There would be no more brand-name wars over stuff, and pointless arguments over east side/west side, go-fight-win. But I don't know. People have got to worry about something, and there's obviously some kind of anthropological, almost zoological need. This particular animal does this particular thing. Instead of constructing a hive out of paper that they chew up, they create a God. It's just something that they do.

Marvel Comics godfather Stan Lee has been a comics-industry icon since the 1960s.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Stan Lee: Well, let me put it this way... [Pauses.] No, I'm not going to try to be clever. I really don't know. I just don't know.

Stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in Half-Baked, and recently appeared in Undercover Brother.

Dave Chappelle: Yes, indeed.

O: Do you want to elaborate on that at all?

DC: There's no doubt in my mind. If a guy like me can leave home with nothing and eat every day, there's a God.

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Richard Thompson has performed by himself, in Fairport Convention, and with ex-wife Linda Thompson.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Richard Thompson: Well, I can't think of a clever answer. Yes. Do you need more elaboration than that?

A contributing editor to the radio show This American Life, Sarah Vowell has written three books, the latest of which is The Partly Cloudy Patriot.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Sarah Vowell: Absolutely not.  

Tobe Hooper directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, and most recently worked on the SCI FI Channel miniseries Taken.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Tobe Hooper: Yeah. I feel that there is a collective power and energy that some people call God. I have no idea what it is, but I feel that there is something. It may just be the collective energy of life. But, yeah, I do. I do feel there's something.

Murray Langston is a writer, actor, and comedian renowned for his stint as the paper-bag-wearing Unknown Comic on The Gong Show.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Murray Langston: Well, I used to be an atheist, until I found out I was God.

Paris is a rapper and activist best known for the song "Bush Killa."

The Onion: Is there a God?

Paris: Definitely. I definitely think that a higher power exists. God definitely exists.

Stand-up comedian Steven Wright is known for his deadpan delivery and absurdist one-liners.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Steven Wright: Ahhh... You'll have to ask Jesus.

Elmore Leonard's books include City Primeval, Stick, Get Shorty, Out Of Sight, and the forthcoming When The Women Come Out To Dance.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Elmore Leonard: Yeah.

O: Do you want to elaborate on that at all?

EL: Well, I was brought up Catholic, with 16 years of Catholic school. When I had to enter AA 28 years ago, I had no trouble at all accepting a higher power. It works. I'll tell you, it works.

Advertising magnate Herschell Gordon Lewis is widely considered the godfather of gore, having directed Blood Feast and 1000 Maniacs.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Herschell Gordon Lewis: Is there a God? I don't think that's for me to determine.

America's greatest living writer, Neal Pollack is the author of The Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Neal Pollack: God does not exist, unless you are my mother-in-law and are reading this, in which case I definitely do believe that He exists, and will raise my children accordingly. But if you're not my mother-in-law, and she's not reading this, then He does not exist.

A singer and songwriter, most famously with The Kinks, Ray Davies tours the world with an autobiographical one-man show called The Storyteller.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Ray Davies: I think in some form or presence. There's a great one-liner on my next record that I can't give you.

British comics writer Alan Moore is the creator of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and From Hell.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Alan Moore: [Laughs.] Well, I can't move for them, quite frankly. I'm looking at about 12 of them from where I'm sitting at the moment. I'm kind of swamped for choice. Yeah, there's probably tons of them. There's probably a swarm of gods. I've had sort of passing acquaintanceship with a few of them. Whether there's one definitive one... Yeah, there probably is. But how the celestial-league table stacks up, I'm not sure.

Singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega explored grief and isolation on her latest album, 2001's Songs In Red And Gray.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Suzanne Vega: I think so. We can leave it at that. That'll do it.

Humorist David Sedaris frequently contributes to the radio program This American Life and has written the books Naked, Barrel Fever, and Me Talk Pretty One Day.

The Onion: Is there a God?

David Sedaris: Yes.

O: Any elaboration on that?

DS: I think that He exists. I don't know that there's just one God who pays attention to some people but not to others. But I think that if you want God to exist, and if you tell yourself that He does, then He does. I don't think of God as a person with sideburns or anything—I think I just think of Him as an idea. So if you want that idea to exist, then it does.

Documentarian, actor, author, and all-around raconteur Michael Moore's newest film is Bowling For Columbine.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Michael Moore: Yes, there is. I don't know how you define that, but yeah. I'm a Catholic, I believe in God. I don't believe in a lot of what the Catholic Church believes in, but...

Armistead Maupin's Tales Of The City newspaper serial ran for more than a decade, spawning six books and three television miniseries.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Armistead Maupin: No.

O: Anything further to say?

AM: [Laughs.] What further is there to say?

Singer, songwriter, showman, and producer Rick James recorded such hits as "Mary Jane" and "Super Freak."

The Onion: Is there a God?

Rick James: God exists totally with me. God exists 150 percent.

Chris Matthews hosts Hardball With Chris Matthews every weeknight on MSNBC.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Chris Matthews: Yes. In 1978, I was in a plane situation, flying in a plane without air pressure. I'd never been in a situation where the air was disappearing from the cabin, where you had to put the mask on, and I was scared to death. I didn't know whether I could get air, and I remember putting on the oxygen mask—scared to death that it wouldn't work—and at that moment, I imagined God. He was a guy with a beard, Jewish probably, although not overly ethnic, from 2,000 years ago. I imagine Jesus as God. That's my only response to that question.

Todd Solondz wrote and directed Happiness, Welcome To The Dollhouse, and Storytelling.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Todd Solondz: Well, me, I'm an atheist, so I don't really believe there is. But I suppose I could be proven wrong.

Directors, producers, actors, and enfants terrible Trey Parker and Matt Stone are most widely known as the minds behind South Park.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Trey Parker: Yes! Absolutely.

O: Do you believe in more of a nebulous spirit world, or a big man in the sky?

TP: Wow, you know, this would be an eight-hour conversation, and you'd have to get me a little more drunk. I can explain exactly what's going on, but I need to be a little more drunk. I really do have it figured out. I figured it out about a year ago, and it's great. It's all good. We're fine.

O: But the central thesis is that there is a God.

TP: No. There's a God, and there's also this table, and it's the same thing.

O: Matt Stone, is there a God?

Matt Stone: No.

TP: Oh, there's also a God, and his name is Prince.

Prolific comics writer/artist Frank Miller is best known for The Dark Knight Returns and his Sin City books.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Frank Miller: I don't think so.

O: Any elaboration on that?

FM: No. Well, let's put it this way. This month [not long after Sept. 11, 2001], I don't think so. It's been a long couple of months.

Joss Whedon is the creator/producer of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the new Firefly.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Joss Whedon: No.

O: That's it, end of story, no?

JW: Absolutely not. That's a very important and necessary thing to learn.

Until this summer, Bill Maher was host of the ABC late-night talk show Politically Incorrect.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Bill Maher: I think there is. We did a show last night about God and religion with Dave Foley, who I love, and we were arguing against this one woman who had a book called I Like Being Catholic. Someone said, "Oh, boy, a lot of atheists on this panel." I said, "I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need. But I'm not an atheist, no." I believe there's some force. If you want to call it God... I don't believe God is a single parent who writes books. I think that the people who think God wrote a book called The Bible are just childish. Religion is so childish. What they're fighting about in the Middle East, it's so childish. These myths, these silly little stories that they believe in fundamentally, that they take over this little space in Jerusalem where one guy flew up to heaven—no, no, this guy performed a sacrifice here a thousand million years ago. It's like, "Who cares? What does that have to do with spirituality, where you're really trying to get, as a human being and as a soul moving in the universe?" But I do believe in a God, yes.

Comedian, singer, and Dolemite star Rudy Ray Moore has been hailed as the godfather of rap and the king of party records.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes, there is a supreme being, and I do believe that I've been watched over by some great spirit, because I couldn't have done what I did without having that to assist me.

Everybody Loves Raymond co-star and Feminists For Life spokeswoman Patricia Heaton just released her first book, Motherhood & Hollywood: How To Get A Job Like Mine.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Patricia Heaton: Oh, yes! The whole thing is about Jesus.

O: So you're not just talking about some sort of spirit world...

PH: No, no. He's coming back. Yes. [Laughs.] That's what I'm waiting for. The whole thing revolves around that.

Judd Apatow has written and produced several wonderful-but-canceled TV shows, including Undeclared and Freaks And Geeks.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Judd Apatow: [Pauses.] I hope so.

The phantasmagorical novels of horror writer Clive Barker include Imajica, Weaveworld, and the new Abarat.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Clive Barker: There is an organizing force to the universe, but I don't believe it has a gender.

Children's author Berke Breathed is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the comic strips Bloom County and Outland.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Berke Breathed: Well, I bloody well hope so. Like Ricky Ricardo used to yell, "Luuuucy... You got some 'splainin' to dooooooo." I'd start with Hitler surviving the childhood flu in 1902. I'd end with mosquitoes and rap music. What's the plan, fer Chrissake? No offense.

Actor, director, writer, and occasional singer William Shatner is best known as Captain James T. Kirk on various incarnations of Star Trek.

The Onion: Is there a God?

William Shatner: There is, but we don't know where. Or who. And, indeed, why.

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