So, Daniel and I went to see the movie Religulous Friday evening. If you watch The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or Real Time with Bill Maher, you have no doubt seen the trailers and commercials.
If not, here's one for your viewing pleasure:
Good stuff. Seriously good stuff.
Okay, first of all, this film is playing at ONE, yes ONE, theater in the entire city of Nashville and the surrounding areas. Welcome to the Bible Belt. Secondly, I don't care if you find Bill Maher's humor funny or not, he raises some interesting and intelligent arguments about organized religion in this documentary.
He makes it very clear throughout the film that he does not hold atheist views. He is not out to disprove the existence of a higher being. What he's saying is, 'hey, I DON'T KNOW. I am not so arrogant as to be absolutely certain that I know the nature of god'. What he does point out over and over again is how religious practices and beliefs have been the root cause of so much destruction in our world. He exposes the ridiculous, the arbitrary, the illogical, the contradictory.
True enough, he manages to find some real crazies to interview, and even though he purposely seeks out the more fanatical believers, some of the "normal" people he talks to are so familiar in their arrogance and stupidity, that it's scary.
The interviews, discussions, and monologues of the film take place all over the world, from the Vatican and Jerusalem, to the Creation Museum in Kentucky and the Holy Land amusement park in Orlando Florida. He's not afraid to call people out on their beliefs. And while he's not belligerent about it at all, he doesn't back down or simply accept the bullshit rhetoric that people offer him. If you're thinking this is a 'Pick On Christians' film - it isn't. Trust me, he is not selective in his criticisms.
Does his tone reek with condescension at times? Well yeah, duh. It's Bill Maher after all. But he genuinely attempts to engage religious believers in constructive, intelligent dialogue.
Despite such a serious and thought-provoking topic, the film is hi-larious. While there are plenty of frightening and sobering undertones to the message, there is also plenty of witty satire and comical film montages to keep the audience entertained. I love Bill Maher's irreverent sense of humor combined with thoughtful, probing questions.
Ultimately, he humbly suggests that religious organizations and religious believers practice genuine humility and tolerance before the 'end of days' prophesies become self fulfilling prophesies as we continue to destroy our world in the name of god.
It's a great film and you should go see it. Now.