Monday, October 13, 2008

Are We Religulous?

Ridiculous+Religion=Religulous a docu/movie by Bill Maher.

Bill Maher made this film to address his obsession with his views that religious beliefs and dogma suck all the common sense out of people. He has such a problem with how people, especially those who are otherwise smart thinking folks, can believe in such fantasy. It's like how can a doctor who specializes in lung disease, smoke. To him it defies logic. (Ummm yes it does Bill.)

This is not a review, you've got to see it yourself. I'll just say I enjoyed it and will definitely see it again when I can control a pause button because there are tons of discussions here. To say this film is thought provoking doesn't begin to describe it. Maher does not ambush people or try to trip them up. He asks tough, direct, intelligent questions about beliefs, and gets answers or non-answers that raise even more questions. He travels the globe in this film talking to clergy and lay folk of many faiths and really seems genuinly curious.

You'll need that pause button, not only for discussion but for laughter. Just know Religulous is also a very funny movie.

Maher does not really seem anti-God though. He admits he's, "from the church of I don't know". His beef is not with God or really the belief in God, but how peoples of the world use that belief. His fervent quest (which is as passionate as any fundamentalist snake handler) is aimed at a world strongly influenced and run by religions.

There are some people who I'm sure will not go to this movie just as some people walked out on Maher's questions. He seemed to understand that for some, questioning and examining anything about God is scary.
Bill is irreverent as hell, but he really believes his quest is for the betterment of us all. He makes good points about wars and hypocrisies etc. and he's thought about how some religious beliefs impede social progress and fuel divisions.

He does not address how the removal of faith based beliefs would crumble the foundation of most people's lives and even societies.

In the movie it was addressed whether without the ten commandments, would we even know it was wrong to kill. Could we be a civilized society without religious laws to guide us? Is that the point of religion, to control people? Can you think about it?

I wonder if your entire belief system is shaken, and you lose confidence in everything you thought was true, what happens? What would it be replaced with? Can you imagine it? Would you still be a good person? Could you understand, love and appreciate the Bible's wisdom without taking it literally? Can you even discuss that without fear?

I believe in God. Bill Maher's documentary did nothing to shake my faith. I belong to a church that invites questioning. Doubts, discussions, study, etc has enhanced my understanding and relationship with God. I believe God would love for us to do some thinking. That's what this movie is about. I believe God is doing a happy dance for Bill Maher. Maybe he is a tool to get us to use the common sense God gave us and as Bill says, "be Christ like, not Christian like". Maybe God will be overjoyed for us to stop using him for every war, excuse for bigotry, crutch, and Grammy win.


Stephen Rader said...

I can't wait to see this movie!!! I totally agree with you about Bill Maher. He's asking these tough questions not because he wants to end religion, but because he is trying to understand how something that proclaims such love can be used to create such hatred.

Your last line is the best...

"Maybe God will be overjoyed for us to stop using him for every war, excuse for bigotry, crutch, and Grammy win."

Amen, sister. Amen!

jjbrock said...

Jackie great article. I am one of those who most likely will not watch the movie. Not that something is wrong with the movie I don't care for movies that are like a documentary.

Annabel said...

Jackie said...

Damon Linker's article is right on.
I absolutely agree that there are other people Maher should have sought out. Heck, I could have put him in touch with some biblical scholors. He is intense about this and really is missing a lot of understanding in his intensity. I just took the movie for what it is and how Bill is and yes he would be more effective in his quest if he would calm down a little. Perhaps there's a sequel coming with a more Linker approach.