Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Brian and I finally got around to seeing Bill Mahr's film, Religulous. In it, Mr. Mahr satirizes world religions by visiting various religious people and places and asking them questions like, "Seriously, man and dinosaurs co-existed? You really believe that?" Hence the title of the film which merges the words religion and ridiculous.

It is meant to be funny and to make us think. He has a rather Michael Moore-esque approach to the film meaning he tends to make fun of those he disagrees with in order to prove his point. Perhaps right-wing Conservatives do the same thing in their documentaries. I wouldn't know. As a bleeding heart liberal I tend to stick with my own kind.

(For full disclosure I will add that I do believe in God. I'm not so sure about religion. I was brought up Catholic but have questioned my faith on and off through the years, most recently when a colleague said she had a hard time belonging to a religion that did not accept her as a full member.)

The movie was pretty funny but I don't feel that Mr. Mahr made his point well. For one thing, he kept interrupting the person with whom he was speaking. He'd ask a question and before the other guy could respond, Mr. Mahr would be off on a tangent. The other guy, usually a religious figure, would keep saying, "Let me finish." But Mr. Mahr seemed to full of his own witticisms to let anyone make their case.

He did enlighten us (or at least me) on several interesting topics including the Egyptian God Horus who was also supposedly born to a virgin, performed miracles, rose from the dead and predated Jesus by 1500 years.

While it was a pretty funny movie and Mr. Mahr is extremely intelligent, I feel that the best part of the movie came in his summation. He delivered a monologue at the end of the film that I feel truly drove his point home in a way that the film did not. I can't re-print it all here but I've a few quotes. His entire summation can be found on the quotes page of IMDB.

"Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking."

"Religion is dangerous because it makes human beings who don't have all the
answers think that they do."

"And, anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you
die, I promise you they do not. How can I be so sure? Because I
don't know and you do not possess mental powers that I do not."

"The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not
the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt
is humble, and that's what man needs to be considering that human history is
just a litany of getting shit dead wrong."


  1. Religion. The big elephant in the room that everyone walks around, including MY mother. Not yours, since YOU still go to church. I got a lecture today, by the way. Anyway, regarding the Church of Rome, I have had many a discussion with very intelligent women. The conclusion, and I agree with them, is this: Ignore the men. Take the good from the Bible, the good from the Church, ignore the idiocies that the XY genes have pronounced over the years and discard the stupid teachings of men that further their power for the sake of it. We are smart enough to know better. Regarding Faith. We all know what faith is. It comes to us. It is the most difficult and illusive noun to explain.

  2. I'm an anti-religion fanatic. Unfortunately it has turned me away from God too. But once in a while I get a glimpse of what might be...like the Episcopalian Church allowing homosexual bishops...that might actually make me shout hallelujah and look up the nearest Episcopalian church near me. Open arms and acceptance? No judgment? That's the church for me.

  3. Great post. I love to see the Agnostic/Atheist viewpoint getting press. One of the points that Bill makes is that this group is receives fairly short shrift in our country. Many, many people are ready to be inclusive of different beliefs and denominations, but those of no belief or denomination are rarely considered. Point in case is that belonging to a religious group is considered table stakes for running for any kind of office, yet many of us would actually prefer the candidate be unaffiliated. Of course, those of us that belong to this group are probably not doing enough to make ourselves heard. Anyway, go Bill!

  4. I am thinking I should respond with a comment about naps on this post as I responded to your "I Believe In Naps" post with a comment about Bill Maher. I should never ever try to make sense after 10PM at night...because I don't.

  5. haven't seen the film yet, but one of these days will....

    good to read your review!

    I'm a regular watcher of bill's show and I find he seems to do his best work in those summing up monologues of his.

  6. Love all the comments and yes, Brian, I had meant to include Bill's comments regarding Atheists needing to speak up but like Cali Girl, it was late at night and it slipped my mind. I agree with Wenderina and have been thinking about joining the Episcopal church because of its acceptance. And Jane, yes that means I don't go to church. I also don't talk to mom about it either (why go there?) : )

  7. Is there a stage in there somewhere? :)