Monday, March 2, 2009

Review of Ridiculous

No, I didn't misspell the title of the movie. Bill Maher did. Complete rubbish. Don't waste your time or money on this "documentary".

Bill Maher goes around to different people and talks to them about their faith. Or, at least, offending them and laughing at them while he pretends to be rational. It is very interesting his choice of interviewees. The only intellectual person of faith he consulted was Dr. Francis Collins. However, much of the interview with him was about the historicity of the New Testament. And Collins field of specialization is in genetics. So it seems like Maher set the deck at the beginning so that all people of faith would appear to be dumb.

Let's recount the faith's represented. As I recall, Christians are represented more than any other faith. This is understandable because that is the most popular religion, I think, in this country. He visits a trucker's chapel, a messianic Jew (who apparently converted to Catholicism), an ex-homosexual (which is possible despite what Maher would have us believe), Frances Collins, and the Holy Land Experience theme park. While at the theme park, the person playing Jesus asked him what would happen if he died. That is a really good question. New atheists like Bill tend to blow this off by saying, "if God wants me to believe He would make Himself more obvious." More obvious! How could anything be more obvious than the existence of God. Of course, if one refuses to look at good solid apologetics (and Bill did not look at any) it is easier to tell oneself that they do not really believe.

Now onto Judaism. He interviewed two Jewish persons. One who looked like an orthodox Jew but was anti-Israel. The other a man who invented gadgets to work on the Sabbath without violating Rabbinic tradition. For example, a steam powered wheel-chair (for example, a telephone which, I think, you select which numbers aren't dialed so you avoid dialing numbers but you can still make calls. This hardly represents Judaism accurately.

For Mormons, he went to Salt Lake City. He interviewed two excommunicated Mormons but no actual Mormons. Apparently he couldn't find any willing to talk to him. How likely is that? Not very.

For Islam, he spoke to, apparently, a tour guide at the Dome of the Rock. This man was about the only person Bill treated with respect. A young Muslim man in the mosque said, in Arabic, that Bill was not funny and his show sucks. That is about the only part of the entire movie that was actually true.

Then he talked to some weird guy who worshipped marijuana.

Is this very representative of mainstream religion? I think not.

If one does not heed my warning and actually watches "Religulous" then one will definitely need a close pin for their nose and hip-waders up to their pits because the bull crap is piled so high in this movie. On top of the propagandizing, Bill is very disrespectful to people of faith and blasphemous against faith.

But perhaps my biggest problem with this movie is the call to arms. New atheists are getting way much more attention than they deserve. Religulous is riding the coat tales of the movement. Even worse, it is encouraging people to become proactive in their disbelief. For the uneducated masses, they may even think the new atheists are on to something. However, the not-so-new atheists lost very badly a generation ago and now agnostics, who refuse to accept defeat, conveniently forget those who have gone before them and pretend they are saying something new. Well, theists have been successfully defending their faith for at least the last 2,000. We've heard it all before and have provided answers to it all before.

For example, Mr. Maher thinks that faith is a bad thing and reason is a good thing. But faith, ideally, is based on reason. They are not mutually exclusive at all. That is the kind of propaganda we'd expect to find "Religulous" or "The God Delusion" but not in the real world.

By the way, nowhere in the entire movie to Maher offer an argument for atheism. He just laughs at individual faiths and assumes atheism is true. Who is the one using faith and not reason here.

If somebody is gullible enough to be taken in by Samuel Harris, Richard Dawkins and others, then they may find "Religulous" enlightening and informative. For those of us in the know, however, it, like all the rest of the recent flood of fundamentalist atheist hogwash will see it for what it is. A piece of PR totally lacking in substance.

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