Bill Maher’s Religulous was almost exactly what I expected and worth seeing. He makes no attempt to be comprehensive, cherry picking from among the wealth of religious extremists in the Abrahamic traditions as well as some more mainstream folk. The movie is often hilarious and just as often makes you wonder how our species has survived. He presents an even balance between examples of all too scary reality and the “are you kidding me?” moments.
Maher asks most of the Atheist 101 questions that non-believers consider when either rejecting the religion of their childhood, or attempting to understand theist positions at all. Sometimes, he is just being Bill Maher, a snarky comedian poking fun at the fringes and speaking out against perceived hypocrisies and injustice. Other times, his questions strike at the heart of human need for what religion has to offer and how churches often pervert that desire to gain power and control. Engaging were his own autobiographical narratives, outlining his own religious journey.
For the most part, I agree with Maher’s conclusions. The only caveat I would add, which you loyal readers know from my previous posts on dis-organized religion, is that I believe that we can create a religion without the faults of organized religion but that provides people with the loving, covenanted community that can heal, sustain, and transform us into better people and toward a better society. Maher heads toward the conclusion that many atheists adopt, which I believe throws the baby out with the bath water.