I thought Religulous was fantastic and should be required viewing for anyone who considers himself a person of faith. Some may ask why I would watch something considered blasphemous at its worst and agnostic-proselytism at it’s best. Answer: If a 90-minute documentary based on asking skeptical questions is enough to shake your belief in a particular God, religion or principle, you probably didn’t have much conviction to begin with; in which case, the movie actually did you a favor. Though implied, the movie rarely provided a direct argument as to why faith or religion was wrong or illogical. The agenda was not to impose an argument against belief, simply to question it. Inquiry is not a sin, not in my book, anyway. I thought Maher asked the right questions, the same ones that I struggle with on a daily basis as a believer. He never came across as antagonizing, malicious or even irritated, but his interview subjects definitely did, and that is unfortunate. The movie also chose to interview some of the more extreme and antiquated examples of religious wackos fundamentalists who would eventually trip over their own lack of logic while attempting to answer even the most basic questions regarding their beliefs. In that regard, the film was significantly biased and showed a lack of objectivity in its production. To that point, however, countless numbers of faith-based propoganda do the same thing - decrying/mocking all atheists or agnostics as militant, hateful, dumb, or unhappy. Fighting cheap shots with cheap shots, I suppose.
I knew Maher had a point when I found myself agreeing with him more often than not, but I wasn’t discouraged by this as I believe systematic theology has run its course in the [post]modern world (gasp!). Yes, I doubt - all the time; it occurs in differing degrees, sometimes bordering on shame or even, blasphemy; but utlimately, it is my doubt that affirms my human-ness and thirst for truth. I embrace the challenge of faith and cherish the committment I’ve made to goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
Bill Maher, closing monologue of Religulous:
I agree: “The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big question is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble.”
In my opinion, doubt is a pre-requisite to faith. Ask the 12 Disciples about that. Ask the father with the long-suffering son, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.”
I disagree: “… those who consider themselves only moderately religious, really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you actually comes at a terrible price”
One of my favorite quotes from Seventh-day Adventist theologian, David Larson, “The best medicine for bad religion is not no religion but good religion.”
I agree/disagree: “Religion is dangerous, because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do.”
Religion that goes unquestioned and usurps common sense and decency is dangerous. So too is religion that falsely claims to know all and monopolize truth. However, what if religion were to be more malleable than that? A church or doctrine that teaches “we don’t have all the answers, but let’s get there together in love, fellowship and sincerity.” Is that so dangerous?