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So, we were sitting around having some Indian food the other night and a friendly conversation came up about religion. Sure, it’s not one of the best topics to talk about over Saag Panneer, but what the heck. Before you knew it, people got offended and emotions ran hotter then a serving of Chicken Shawarma. People got mad..like “I’m going to throw this big hunk of rice pudding in your face” kind of mad. If there is one thing we learned from the whole experience it’s this: If you question a person’s religious faith…expect some anger…and a very large dinner tab.
Bill Maher takes us on his own spiritual journey during Religulous. The best thing about his view on religion is that he doesn’t really care how sensitive you are about it. If you ever doubted what Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism or the Islamic faith were all about…you’ve come to the right place. Mr. Maher doesn’t just stick a fork in everyone’s holy belief system…he puts it on a skewer, sets it on fire, slaps it around a little, kicks it to the curb, and throws it in the river…and laughs about it the whole way through.
Don’t get us wrong though, there are some great points made in this documentary about religious beliefs. Directed by Borat mastermind, Larry Charles, Religulous has done some serious homework. From organizing interviews with some of the top theologians, scientists, and crazy nut jobs…to doing some intense historical research. We use the word organize loosely, because it turns out that most of the interviewees had no idea Bill Maher was involved in the movie until he showed up. But, that is Larry Charles’ M.O. and he does it well.
There are some great moments in this little gem of a film. One of the most startling revelations is the reminder of ancient Egyptian literature that was allegedly written hundreds of years before the bible. That’s the main scope of the film. Is all religion fictional? Is there really historical fact to back all of this up? Those questions alone would raise a high fever all the way from the bible belt to your atheist friend down the street…but this goes even further. Mr. Maher really takes it up a notch and questions everyone who is willing to listen.
He has some valid points and it’s very hard to ignore the facts that he lays down on the table. But, religion is more about faith in the unknown. It’s the “not knowing” that makes it compelling, sustainable and viable. Bill doesn’t really care about any of that. He thinks that’s utter nonsense. He just wants to tell us that there is no way it could have happened the way our spiritual leaders taught us. It’s pretty much one big belief system banana cream pie in the face. But, if nothing else, it’s very entertaining.
If you’re in the mood to forget about any guilt and confession for a couple of hours…check this baby out. Religulous will certainly question things you’ve come to know as truth and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.