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Illusionist Penn Jillette Has a Message for Secretive Atheists Who Are Concealing Their Secular Worldview

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"We are really not punished very much for saying we're atheist."

Penn and Teller, the popular comedy and illusionist duo comprised of entertainers Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller, have a message for secretive atheists and agnostics who are concealing their non-belief from friends and loved ones.

They released a video Friday as part of the Openly Secular initiative — a campaign aimed at creating a more positive image of secularists in American society — proclaiming that they have both been vocal atheists for their entire adult lives.

"I don't think there was ever a time we denied it," Jillette said, noting, though, that he believes those currently concealing their non-belief have every right to do so.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12:  Castmembers illusionist/magician Penn Jillette and singer Dee Snider attend the 'Celebrity Apprentice All Stars' Season 13 Bus Tour at  on October 12, 2012 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images Castmembers illusionist/magician Penn Jillette and singer Dee Snider attend the 'Celebrity Apprentice All Stars' Season 13 Bus Tour at on October 12, 2012 in New York City. (Getty Images)

"You can keep it quiet, you can go to church you can sneak around. It won't do you any harm," he said. "Certainly you're not going to be punished by the atheist god for not saying you're atheist, not saying you're a heathen, not saying you're an apostate."

But Jillette did want secretive atheists to know that "coming out" isn't so bad and that he and Teller haven't experienced any negative repercussions for openly sharing their rejection of a higher power.

"Over the years, we've noticed — like a lot of things — it's getting a lot better," he added. "We are really not punished very much for saying we're atheist."

Teller stuck by his typical routine of remaining silent and corroborating Jillette's proclamations with positive facial expressions and nonverbal agreement.

Watch the video below:

Find out more about the Openly Secular campaign here and read our past interview with Jillette about his atheistic worldview here.

This story has been updated.

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