General Question

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Have you seen Religulous?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23959points) March 4th, 2009

When I was younger I used to think that Bill Maher was unnecessarily mean and condescending, but the older I’ve gotten, it makes more sense to me why he is the way he is. I thought Religulous was a great watch and I agree with most of the points he was making.

Anyway, if you’ve seen the movie, what did you think of it?

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41 Answers

chelseababyy's avatar

I’ve seen parts, and the parts I’ve seen were great. I love how the name of the movie is Religious and Ridiculous put together. He’s witty.

rawpixels's avatar

I saw it twice. Once alone, and once with my Born Again Christian girlfriend. I loved the movie, but my girlfriend was incredibly uneasy throughout the entire thing. I think it should be mandatory for everyone to see :)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@rawpixels I take it you’re not religious? Watching that with your girlfriend must have been interesting, especially because born-again Christians tend to be even more adamant than those who have always believed. ;)

AstroChuck's avatar

I’d like to see it but I am getting tired of Bill Maher plugging it everytime he’s on the television. I nearly shit pink twinkies when he brought it up on the Oscars.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@AstroChuck I don’t watch him on TV so I didn’t even know he did that. If anyone plugs something too much, it definitely starts to get old, but it’s worth a watch. :) Before I watched it, I had no idea that he cared so much about morality and humanity in general. I had assumed that he was just an angry, mean dude who didn’t give a shit about anyone.

AstroChuck's avatar

I like Bill Maher’s HBO show, as well as his politics. That being said, I think he’s a bit of a narcisist. I once asked the former owner of a local comedy club which comic that he’d had at his club was the biggest asshole. He didn’t even have to think before he answered. Can you guess who he said?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

That definitely doesn’t surprise me. Haha! :) I think deep down though, he cares, which is why he’s so mean and cynical. He goes too far sometimes, but I don’t really blame the guy. This is coming from someone else who has very little faith in humanity, too, though. :D

AstroChuck's avatar

Well said.

elijah's avatar

I liked it, I think it brings up a lot of great points. I like that it shows how most people don’t even know what it is they believe in.

Mamradpivo's avatar

I saw it and I thought he was pretty pompous. To me, his conclusion that religion leads to radicalism and stupidity is just not thaat radical. I feel like he just wanted to spend two hours lambasting religious people.
I agree with him and I felt that way.

rawpixels's avatar

I was raised Catholic, but I’m not religious at all. My girlfriend is strange, though. She’s born-again, yet she never goes to church and she enjoys sinning quite a bit. :) Yet, when I question Christianity and all other religions with her, she freaks out like I’m the devil.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Mamradpivo He definitely is pompous, there’s no question. But when faced with the stupidity that he’s seen (and had to deal with growing up the way he did), I don’t blame the man for being angry and not having a problem pointing out the stupidity of organized religion. All in all, I would rather people like him existed compared to those who don’t blink an eye whatsoever to all of the atrocities humans cause.

AstroChuck's avatar

@rawpixels- Interesting. Are you?
The devil, I mean.

elijah's avatar

@rawpixels ah so your gf is a convinient christian.
Worst kind, in my book.
(I’m not saying she is a bad person, just a hypocrite)

casheroo's avatar

I saw it recently and thought it was great.

I was not raised with religion. My mother was raised as Catholic, but decided not to expose her children to organized religion. I know she thought she was helping, but I was never able to make an educated decision about it. My husband was raised Catholic, and he teaches me a lot about it. And my best friend is Jewish and explains a lot of it to me. I find religion fascinating. But, I don’t follow in any religion.

rawpixels's avatar

She’s definitely a good person. I wouldn’t be with her if she wasn’t. But, she’s definitely hypocritical about religion.

critter1982's avatar

I have seen it, and let me just preface this by saying that I am a Christian and wanted to see what the opposition had to say. My initial thought after I saw the movie, was that it was funny but wasn’t really a quantifiable examination of much. Actually in general most documentaries these days don’t seem to document anything in an objective or journalistic sense (lets all thank Michael Moore). This documentary, produced by a self proclaimed “anti-religionist” was designed to make religious people look stupid and an attempt to prove that religious belief and intelligence are mutually exclusive. This is obvious from the interview at a truck-stop chapel in North Carolina where Maher quizzed truckers about biblical inconsistencies. Honestly, it’s not the hardest thing in the world to make a religion look silly when you only focus on the most grimace-inducing practitioners of it.

IMO, Maher lost any respectability he had when he exposed his amoral approach to life when he defended John Edwards extramarital affair by saying “people like new, you can’t stop human nature.”

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@critter1982 His goal, yes, was to make the people that have belief in it look kind of stupid, simply because there are so many inconsistencies in the Bible that to believe in it, you pretty much have to be stupid or willing to gloss over all of the parts that are hypocritical or flat out wrong, to believe in a “wonderful” god. I myself have no problem with people that believe in god. What I have a problem with – and also what I think his biggest message was – is that organized religion is stupid, corrupt and wrong because it really does only ruin the world. To say otherwise is impossible, unless someone chooses to be stupid and ignore the facts.

As for what he said about John Edwards, I had no idea. I can see where he’s coming from in the idea that monogamy may not be for everyone, but I definitely don’t think he should have said it that way. However, just because he said something like that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have very valid points about organized religion.

critter1982's avatar

@DrasticDreamer: This was just my opinion, I don’t think you need to take offense to it. However, I do take offense to the fact that you called me stupid. Depending on the source I have seen up to 2.1 billion people noted as believing or having faith in the bible. That is one of 2 things, either obtuseness at an obscene level or statistically logical?

Lots of people take things from the bible out of context and yes out of context there are lots of inconsistencies in the bible, yet reasonable explanations for all (if you want we can go through all of them).

I’m also not quite sure how you came to the conclusion that organized religion is stupid, corrupt, and wrong and that it only ruins the world? I can name tons of good things generated by organized religions (ie. food pantries for the poor, meals-on-wheels, counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, outreaches to wounded veterans, mentoring, disaster relief, home-building, CPR and First-Aid training, foster care and adoption, prison ministries, promotion of good values, charity, salvation, belief in something higher than oneself (typically promotes selflessness), promotes love, provides free counseling to those in need, America was founded on Christian principles, promotoes social leadership, inspires a sense of wonder in the universe, was and still is the largest crisis response team in New Orleans and is so by raising there own money not government funds, etc, etc, etc…..

Religions can be bad yes, but in general these “bad” religions consist of extremists. Extremism regarding anything is in general bad.

My intention was to not discredit Maher but to give my opinion on him. We have tons of brilliant people in the world say absolutely atrocious things.

syz's avatar

I liked the movie, and I liked his points, but I found myself wishing he had used a more organized, clear argument. By highlighting the uneducated religious who have no clue how to explain or defend their beliefs, he made it too easy to dismiss those failures as a lack on the part of those individuals, rather than the overall damage that organized religion can (and has) create. I also thought the ending was rather abrupt and overly pompous.

osakarob's avatar

I saw it during a business trip to Salt Lake City and felt that it was the best part of my trip.

Critter38's avatar

I really enjoyed it.

It was a hilarious polemic rant with 2 serious underlying messages,

1. Don’t claim to know the truth or convince yourself that you have a justifiable right to be certain about something while not possessing a shred of supporting evidence for those beliefs.


2. The world does not benefit from providing a conversational safe haven for the ridiculous and often destructive ideas which unfortunately persist in many of the religions of the world, especially when those same ideologies can be armed with devastating military arsenals.

There has been a fair share of serious books written addressing the risks of dogmatic belief, so it’s nice to see the message put out there in a humorous way which will reach a far larger audience.

syz's avatar

Nicely put.

Maverick's avatar

@critter1982 2.1 billion people can be wrong.

syz's avatar

@Maverick Hallelujah to that!

critter1982's avatar

@Maverick: I’m not saying 2.1 billion can’t be wrong. But statistically speaking there is some rationality and some argument for the fact that 2.1 billion people have faith in the bible. Faith inherently has the ability to represent something wrong, I’m not arguing that. But when you represent 2.1 billion people, the illogical debate – stupid debate is well somewhat, illogical.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@critter1982 I never once specifically called you stupid. When I debate with people, I purposely avoid name-calling because it automatically shuts people down and it’s extremely immature.

As for 2.1 billion people having faith or believing in the Bible, that does not mean it’s logical. There are reasons people choose to believe the same things, and not necessarily because it makes sense. In general, humans feel a need to conform and follow tradition, simply because it’s what people have always had to do to survive.

You can believe. Like I said above, I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is organized religion because it was only created so people could prove to themselves and others that they believe in god, which completely negates the kind of extremely personal and private relationship you’re supposed to have with god in the first place. The Bible itself says that prayer and worship should not be done in front of other people.

As for organized religion being stupid and wrong in my opinion, it only stops becoming those things when people pick and choose what they want to believe, instead of taking the entire thing for what it is.

critter1982's avatar

@DrasticDreamer: My point was that 2.1 billion people are not going to believe in something that is completely, utterly, and irrefutably illogical. I also disagree with your reasoning behind religion.

Religions exist because it is in the essence of the human experience to define and capture that which is unknown. All religions are beautiful attempts to define the etherial realm, they are artistic expressions and subjective portraits of God. Before religion there is a spiritual experience and spirituality in general. To go a step forward, religion seeks to define and explain the spiritual experience and spirituality in general. It is an attempt to eliminate some of the confusion and open-endedness of agnosticism. All religions are beautiful and contain elements of truth, as they are all based upon somebody’s subjective experience.

Regarding your comment about the Bible stating that prayer and worship are not to be done in front of other people. I think you are referencing the verse that says something to the effect of, “when you pray, go into your room and pray, and what the father has seen as done in secret, will reward you” (Not exact quote). Jesus also tells his disciples to pray alone. This is the problem though like I said earlier, that you get mixed meanings when taken out of context. Jesus is speaking to the motives of the Pharisees. Their motive for praying publicly was to attract attention to themselves and not God. Prayer is not for placing focus or attention on oneself. There are tons of verses in the Bible which identify with group prayer.

So you believe religion is only okay when people pick and choose what they want to believe?

AstroChuck's avatar

So we are all agreed. There is no God. Now let’s eat!

critter1982's avatar

Only after we pray AC

AstroChuck's avatar

Whatever. As long as there’s food at the end.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@critter1982 No, I don’t think organized religion is okay at all. But it’s even worse when people do pick and choose what they want to believe, because then they aren’t following their self-proclaimed religion at all. They’re turning it into what they want it to be, which defeats the entire point. They pick and choose and mold and chip at god to turn him into what they want him to be. It’s hypocritical and they’re believing in a god that doesn’t exist, according to anything, not even the Bible itself.

critter1982's avatar

@DrasticDreamer: Ah, I must have misread your thread.

Maverick's avatar

I just want to point out the painfully obvious—just because 2.1 Billion people believe something with absolutely no proof does not validate that something in any way whatsoever. I know I shouldn’t have to say that, but something tells me it needs to be said anyway.

Also, there are 6 Billion+ people on the planet, so according to your numbers 3.9 billion people don’t believe. I don’t really see how that helps support your position.

critter1982's avatar

@Maverick: My point was not that the shear number of believers validates any religion. My point is that by shear numbers alone it does invalidate the stupid and/or illogical argument against it. Nobody would be able to get 2.1 billion people to believe in something that is completely, utterly, and irrefutably stupid/illogical. It is possible to get billions of people to believe something that is incorrect, which is inherent to faith, I wouldn’t argue that, but you wouldn’t get 2.1 billion people to believe in something that is irrefutably wrong.

Critter38's avatar

In the same sentence you argue that billions of people can believe “something that is incorrect”, and finish the sentence off with “you wouldn’t get 2.1 billion people to believe in something that is irrefutably wrong.”

Would you mind explaining the distinction between being “incorrect” and “wrong”.

Frankly, this all seems to be getting muddled in the semantic.

If millions or billions of people are content claiming something to be the truth without a sausage of evidence in support of those claims, then that seems to tell us all we need to know regarding the reliability of using humanity on mass as a litmus test for logic or truth.

critter1982's avatar

@Critter38: If something is irrefutably wrong then there is no doubt to whether that “thing” is wrong/incorrect. For example if i were to tell you that George Bush was female, I would in no doubt be absolutely wrong. You could prove to me, although it would not be necessary, that George Bush was in fact a male. Now if somebody were to tell you before the election that McCain was going to win, they would have been wrong, but you in no way could have 100% refuted the fact that Obama was going to be President. It is also possible to be wrong in somebody elses mind but not in your own. If for example somebody told you that the sky was gray, but from your point of view you see blue, you would tell them that they are wrong. Perhaps you’re both right. From his point of view he only sees black and white and you can see in color.

Do you really believe that there is absolutely no evidence for the divinity of Jesus Christ and his claims to be the son of God? Are you 100% sure that God does not exist?

AstroChuck's avatar

My $.02: Nobody knows anything 100%. Some just think they do.

Critter38's avatar


With regards to the first part, Astro Chuck sums up my views succinctly.

Notably though, we are now changing topics. My post was in regards to the usefulness of large numbers of people believing something as an indicator of logic or truth. You merely have to consider the Hindu and Muslim religions to see that if 800 million people believe something that consists of a fundamentally different worldview from another 1.3 billion people, that the number of people who believe something doesn’t tell you much.

BUt at the end of your post you’re now asking me something else.

In my view the strength of a belief in a given proposition should have some relationship to the evidence available for that proposition or closely related propositions. Relatedly – as summed up by Carl Sagan – acceptance of extraordinary claims should require extraordinary evidence. So another way to say it is the strength of acceptance of a claim, and evidence for that claim, should be positively, not inversely, correlated.

So, to answer your question, using my standards of evidence, no I do not see any convincing evidence for the divinity of Jesus Christ, or for any other claimant to this post. This of course has nothing to do with whether or not others see there being sufficient evidence for for Jesus Christ’s divinity. It just means our standards for what counts as evidence are fundamentally different. It also means, in my opinion, that if Christians’ argue for a standard of evidence that is sufficient to claim Jesus Christ’s divinity, then they are on shaky ground trying to justify discounting what others see as evidence for their own slants on their respective dieties…be that Vishnu, or Muhammed flying to heaven on a winged horse.

With regards to your second question. No, I am not 100% sure that a god, your god, or any god does not exist. Just as you you cannot be 100% sure that Apollo or Thor do not exist. It is actually impossible to be 100% sure of the non-existence of anything…be that a fairy, or Dumbo the flying elephant.

critter1982's avatar

@Critter38: Again though, I’m not using 2.1 billion people to reflect the correctness or rightness of my belief. I am purely claiming that large numbers of human population wouldn’t tend to believe something irrefutably false or illogical.

I think I can agree with the statement “requiring extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims”, but the problem with that is that it is subjective. The fact is that a person’s presuppositions strongly affect how and to what degree the statement is applied. In Jesus’ resurrection, for example, Christians presuppose that God exists and that He could easily have raised Jesus from the dead. The evidence of fulfilled prophecy, eyewitness records, and changed lives of the disciples is enough to convince many people who believe in God that Jesus rose from the dead. This is a logical conclusion based on the presupposition and the evidence.

Atheists, on the other hand, would negate the resurrection by default since their presupposition that there is no God1 would require that God involvement cannot occur. Therefore, for an atheist the extraordinary evidence would have to be “exceptionally” extraordinary in order to overcome his atheistic presuppositions. In other words, evidence would need to be presented that was rock solid and irrefutable.

IMHO, if Jesus did in fact perform miracles as is outlined in the Bible and if he did raise from the dead, then I believe that his extraordinary claim to be part of the Trinity is backed up by irrefutable extraordinary evidence. You can’t expect to have other evidence than that of historically accurate written accounts. I’m curious though, since this evidence is not “extraordinary” enough for some, what would you anticipate being that particular extraordinary evidence required for his claims? Secondly, regarding your comment, “It just means our standards for what counts as evidence are fundamentally different”. Perhaps it’s not that your standards are different but your experience/knowledge is. You could have 2 people with similar standards in determining whether something is true, and based on both their experience and knowledge, come to 2 uniquely different solutions.

Regarding your comment, “discounting what others see as evidence for their own slants on their respective dieties…be that Vishnu, or Muhammed flying to heaven on a winged horse”: Similarly as you cannot use faith to argue for faith you cannot use faith to discredit faith. I wouldn’t discredit Vishnu, or Muhammed based on their faith being irrational or stupid. I discredit their faith based on my own experience and knowledge of the Bible, Koran, and Rigveda/Karma (which I admit I don’t know much about).

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