Religulous with Bill Maher

religulousI’ll give Bill Maher some credit. Knowing it wouldn’t be a hit, he took his religious (or agnostic) views and made them as public and available as possible on this DVD. Most Christians wouldn’t touch a movie that ridiculed the one thing in life they hold most dear, the God and Creator that they love. I knew what kind of film I was going to be watching once I saw on the cover that the director was also a part of Borat (one of the less intelligent movies I’ve ever seen) and that the company who helped create the film, Lionsgate, made very clear that the views expressed on the film weren’t theirs.

Bill, if you’re unfamiliar with him, is the prime example for your children if you’d like them (and their mouth) to stay 13 for the rest of their lives. Speaking of 13. That’s when Bill was dumped by his girlfriend and left the church, hinting that the catholic church wasn’t a fan of masturbation (which he enjoyed) and that the God they worshiped should have been “working for Bill” for the relationship to work out. Throughout the film he attempts to prove that he understands God, but obviously that’s already thrown out the door after the first few minutes.

He went about the film in the usual God-bashing way that most do, sticking to these lame arguments that have gone around the block and back:

  • Suggests that Christianity is all about being good (apparently doesn’t listen to those of us that admit we’re sinners)
  • Pushed the spotlight onto Catholic priests and televangelists (mainly because they fail publicly)
  • Blasts Christians for “hating homosexuals”, but didn’t attempt to understand what sin really is
  • Hinted that Christ found Catholicism – wrong for many reasons, for another post!
  • Believes that a monotheistic God is immoral, and shouldn’t be jealous
  • Pointed the finger at Christians and how they judge people by suggesting they need Christ

I’ll do Bill a big favor and let him on a tip that would have made this movie worth watching, maybe even bring in a decent profit or be a hit. When blasting a specific religion, go to the current leaders that are most respected, rather than dropping bombs on a Trucker’s Chapel or book store owner. Might have been more respectable if he started a dialogue with James MacDonald, John Piper or Mark Driscoll? A shining example of this is when Ben Stein went for the jugular with evolution in the Expelled movie. He went straight to the most respected leader of the day, Richard Dawkins, and made his point extremely clear. No reviews needed, and those who opposed him were in an uproar. If Bill’s film would have been worth his time, I (a devout Christian) would be furious and asking people not to watch it. Instead, I urge you to check it out. Thanks for the laugh Bill! I thought for sure I’d be laughing at your humor and not the result of all of the time you put into this film with your thoughts and direction.

PRAYING that God will connect Bill with those who actually understand Christianity sometime soon. PRAISING God for never changing, and being the answer for every curious life.

  1. What do you think about what Maher said about the parallels in the Egyptian god, I forget his name, but i guess this diety was basically also born of a virgin, died on a cross and was raised from the dead, walked on water, etc ? It’s not accurate to say as you did at the end of your post that your, “praying that God will connect Bill with those who actually understand”, are you saying that none of those interviewed understood God, I thought the truck drivers in the opening scene appeared to have a strong faith, as well as the guy who portrayed Christ at the amusement park. Christ did “found” Catholicism, as the word refers to the church univerisal which started with Peter after Christ ascended into heaven, although Christ did not “found”‘ the Roman Catholic church, big difference. Lastly, why is it worth mentioning that Maher enjoyed masturbation? Is it to imply that his enjoyment only confirms that this guy is damned to hell?

  2. I’m disappointed that after a very good introduction, the first piece of your review is nothing more than an ad hominem attack on Maher. Then you move on to the methods Maher used to make his points. You never once critique the content of his arguments other than offering a vague statements that seems to amount to, “That’s not _my_ Christianity Maher’s insulting.” That’s great, but the brands of Christianity he is attacking are the exactly the ones that many Americans (and others) practice.

    You also miss the point of the move. The main goal wasn’t engaging in debates with “the current leaders that are most respected,” but to create humor at the expense of religion. Of course his targets aren’t going to be leaders that no one outside of subset of Christianity are going to recognize. Rather, the more humorous targets are everyday religionists that resemble ones that we’ve all met, highly public figures most of us know, or ones that hold extreme views that are easy to ridicule. A movie based on intellectual engagement with leaders of various religions would be an interesting one, but it was certainly not the one Maher set out to make.

    Finally, I’d like to note that Christianity isn’t the only religion Maher rips into – a point completely lost in your review. It was, however, the first religion Maher goes after. It makes me wonder if you even finished watching the movie before writing your review. Or, perhaps, you are under the opinion that your religion is the only one that matters to you and/or your readers.

    In short, your review missed the point, content, and scope of the movie. It’s full of religio-centric reactions that fail to defend your offended religious sensibilities in any credible way.

    If you’d like, you can rip my own review of the movie apart here: http://www.sidfaiwu.com/blog/index.php/2008/10/bill-mahers-religulous/

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    Philip – The individuals who he interviewed did have a faith that was real, but why not discuss at a deeper level with those that lead? Just a bit obvious to me why he wouldn’t want to get into that type of a scenario. If someone wants to always win, they attack an opponent they know won’t give much of a battle.

    sidfaiwu – Do you think Christians should just be goody-two-shoes all of the time? I’m just calling Maher out, and simply asking him to man up and start a dialogue with those I read and study from. I’m well aware that the film was a rip on many religions. This is a Christian blog because I am a Christ-follower. I am responding to the ripping that was made in our direction. And yes, we are praying for Bill. You might not “get that”, but it’s sincere. Not just a joke.

  4. I thought this was well said. I picked up “The God Delusion” at the recommendation of an atheist friend just to see what arguments were put forth. So much hand waving and conjecture surely impresses those who are ‘on your side’ but really doesn’t do a thing to sway the person who is attacked. I’ll definitely be checking this out to see what sort of mockery Bill puts forth. I have seen him try to attack Christianity on multiple occasions on his show (usually while traveling) and he’s just not got anything but spit and vinegar but his passion doesn’t reveal hope, it reveals angst, which may move some folks, but is not a long term solution to the social problems he pretends to want to fix.

    Thanks for the review!

  5. “Do you think Christians should just be goody-two-shoes all of the time?”

    I admit I don’t get the connection but no, I don’t. But I do expect anyone critiquing one’s opinions to stick to content and avoid personal attacks. An ad hominem argument is a method to change the subject and not actually address the topic.

    “I’m just calling Maher out, and simply asking him to man up and start a dialogue with those I read and study from.”

    Ignoring the inherent male chauvinism inherent in the phrase “man up”, I’d be interested in the same. Who wouldn’t want to hear more of the opinions of experts they already largely agree with? It’s the egoist part of our nature as humans.

    “I’m well aware that the film was a rip on many religions. This is a Christian blog because I am a Christ-follower. I am responding to the ripping that was made in our direction.”

    Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to tell you what to do with your own blog. I certainly appreciate people who can stay on topic in their posts (I certainly can’t). It’s just that other religions were a major part of the movie. Even from your Christian perspective, there must be plenty worth commenting on there. Was the film similarly uncharitable towards other religions or do you think they were fair (or a mix)? A post that leaves such a large part of the movie out fails as a ‘review’.

    “…we are praying for Bill. You might not “get that”, but it’s sincere. Not just a joke.”

    I didn’t comment on that portion of your post. I know it was sincere and not a joke. Prayer is a rational behavior given your world-view.

  6. sidfaiwu – As far as the attacks on the other religions represented in the film goes, I can’t make a statement that’s worth much regarding those. I have a small understanding of most of them, but do feel the need to speak out more on the differences between Catholicism and Christianity (future post).

    There’s quite a bit of difference in the style of “Catholic just-go-to-mass religion” Bill practiced in his early years and the relationship-based faith that I practice today. Thanks!

  7. Pingback: Christianity and Homosexuality - justlivingthelife.com

  8. I enjoyed your review, Gabe. It’s great to be a Christian.

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