July 1, 2011

Religulous: A Second Look

Religulous I watched Bill Maher's Religulous again recently, and think I enjoyed it even more the second time. I thought it might be fun to go back and re-read the post I wrote after I saw it the first time and see how my initial impressions compared to the second viewing.

One difference was that I found Maher far less annoying this time. Yes, I noticed once again that he does not seem to understand the difference between atheism and agnosticism. But while I continue to find this unfortunate, it did not detract from my enjoyment of his film nearly as much as it did previously.

On my second viewing, I found that I really appreciated Maher's use of multiple beliefs to demonstrate to the religious just how absurd their beliefs were. Sure, he used the common Santa analogy, but he went far beyond that. By doing so, he highlighted how persons of one religious tradition have an easy time recognizing what is silly about other religions but seem almost blind to their own. This ended up standing out to me as one of the most effective aspects of the film.

The end of the film where Maher called upon humanity to come to our collective senses as discard religion seemed even more poignant on this viewing. He is absolutely correct to suggest that our survival depends on our willingness to do so. I'm not sure why, but this message hit me harder than it had before.

I really do wish more religious people would see Maher's film. I do not think it would cause them to de-convert, but it just might provoke them to ask some questions.

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