Saturday, October 25, 2008

Religulous: The Joy of Being With Friends

Like all good Athiests, I had to see Bill Maher's commentary on religion. All I can say is: Brilliant! Well done!

But what really made me happy was not the movie, but the audience reaction. It was like a huge, communal exhalation, a massive sigh of relief, a place where sensible, rational people could all simultaneously feel free to finally laugh out loud, to express their true feelings about what's going on in the world today.

This experience made me realize that, even though I think of myself as an out-of-the-closet Atheist, there is still discrimination all around. I'm surrounded by Christians who think of me as peculiar and misguided at best, and evil at the worst. I can't really be myself most of the time. Normally I just live with this repression, and I didn't even realize I was doing it. It wasn't until I was suddenly among friends, free to really express myself, that it was clear just how much we Atheists have to suppress our true opinions.

My wife is Jewish, and I always wondered why the Jews stick together so much. Now I have a better idea – it's not because they don't like their Christian friends and neighbors. It's because when they're together, that's the only time they can truly relax and feel free. We Athiests are ten times their numbers, yet we're still an oppressed minority. It took Religulous, and being among friends, to bring that message home, to make me realize just how much I feel the repression on a daily basis.


  1. We are many!!

    The only place I find other atheists though is on the internet. In the UK its just not the done thing to discuss religion or politics, this is sadly still true today.

  2. Thank you, I agree, it was really comforting to be amidst like minds. Christians have their churches, Jews have synagogues. We atheists have no real safe haven outside the internet. It was great to be sitting in that audience, knowing that I wouldn't be judged for snickering at the religious folks in the film...!

  3. What exactly was brilliant about it? The fact that Maher lied to get his interviews and was proud of it?

    Or did Maher go ahead and critique his own worldview answering questions such as how something came from nothing and how life came from non-life and how intelligence came from non-intelligence?

    Or did he interview the leading scholars in each of the religions he critiqued?

    No? Then what exactly was so brilliant about it?

  4. So, too follow the bronze age myths and superstitions of Abrahamic religion then?

    Have you seen the movie yourself?

  5. the wigan crossfitter:

    Seriously, did Maher interview ANY leading scholars in their respective religious fields? Did Maher seriously consider any of the scholarly issues related to Christianity? Did he honestly and truthfully look for answers as to why so many people have a religion?

    Did Maher tackle questions about his atheism such as how something came from absolutely nothing or how life came from non-life? Did Maher discuss the evolution of human rationality and logic and explain how it is possible to reason with any accuracy whatsoever given that we are simply accidents? Did Maher show how morals are anything but subjective and meaningless?

    If the answer is "no" I don't see how this is a film that any atheist (who always claim intellectual superiority over religious people) could claim it as "brilliant".

    Did he (as I suspect) simply preach to the proverbial atheist choir with no intention of honest inquiry? He did lie to obtain his interviews. What is so brilliant about the film that would make me want to spend $10 on it? I'm willing to go see it but you give me no reason to think that Maher is a serious thinker and not a polemic hack.

  6. Its difficult to see how a 'scholar' of religion can exist. I could for example, proclaim that I am a leading scholar in the field of talking mice.

    Proffesor Dawkins pointed to the fallacy of theological qualifications in his book "The god delusion".

  7. wigan crossfitter:

    I'm still wondering if Maher did any of the things I've listed. I guess not since you refuse to answer. And what do you make of his lying to obtain information? Again, tell me how that is "brilliant". You have failed to do so thus far.

    Its difficult to see how a 'scholar' of religion can exist.

    In all sincerity, I'd be happy to debate you formally on the rationality of atheism vs. Christianity. I think you're dead wrong and you think I'm dead wrong. Let's talk about it. It might be fun! Name the forum or place. I should be an easy opponent for an intellectually superior atheist such as yourself.


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