I went to see the Bill Maher's Religulous over the weekend. It was only playing in one out of five major theaters in the 10-city area.
The film was, for me, very funny. A great movie with a wonderful, logical conclusion. It was also very frustrating at times.
It attempts to expose the ridiculous beliefs of religions, their contradictory ideas and the vehemence with which the believers hold to their beliefs, even in the face of logic and rational thought to the contrary.
"It worries me to have a national leader who believes in talking snakes" Bill laughed at one point, referring to the tempting serpent in the garden of eden.
At one point, I did have to yell out at the screen. I thought it was a clip of George Bush, but apparently it was John McCain saying, "I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation," to which I loudly responded, "Bullshit." (see my second post on this blog) (McCain, Bush, whats the difference? 10%?)
Bill Maher 'interviews' people of various faiths and asks some hard questions about their beliefs. Sadly, he just makes fun of their answers instead of actually giving them room to speak. Granted, most of the answers are funny and deserve to be made fun of. Including the woman in Florida who is all peppy about dying, being raised to heaven and 'come back on a white horse.'
Still, I would have appreciated a more serious debate or discussion of religious beliefs and goals.
He is met often with the "you are questioning god!" mentality for defense of their beliefs. After one exchange where Bill points out how silly a belief in some 'miracle' is, the answer is, "He IS God." As if that explains everything. There is, indeed, no making a rational argument when someone has that defense, "its magic." "You just have to have faith."
The interview with the Vatican Bishop who scoffed at most of the church's tenants, including the 10 commandments could have been a lot more interesting. Why the segment with the Gay Muslims in a bar was even included, I have no idea.
If the purpose was to show that religions have no good answers, the movie showed more that Bill wouldn't let them give full answers. Granted, some of them refused to answer or gave blank looks.
I did enjoy the reactions to questions about the stories of Osiris and Mithra comparing them to Jesus.
I was a bit disappointed that there was no mention of my pet scripture - Matthew 15:21-26 - but, thems the breaks.
The conclusion of the documentary was basically that Religion in all its forms is destroying the world. Wars and hatred are all rooted in religion. Rational, thinking men who do not obfuscate reality with religion, will run the world, their own countries, better. Basically, Bill states that in order to save the world, we must eliminate religion.
Mostly, I can see his point and somewhat agree. Getting rid of the organized religion that preaches "One Truth" and that everyone else is lesser or in some way the enemy, would cut down on a lot of the killing and hatred in the world.
Religion is indeed a crutch, but people are lame.