Saturday, October 04, 2008

Go see this movie

Normally I don't post in the wee hours of the morning, but Larry and I just got back from meeting some friends in Raleigh and I could not turn in without recommending the documentary we went to see.

It's called Religulous, and if you are a thinking person who sometimes finds yourself puzzled over the crazy, outrageous or dangerous stuff religious people think and do, then do yourself a favor -  find the nearest theatre showing this film and go. Today.

Given the nature of Religulous, most people who want to see it will already agree with its premise, which is that religion is a kooky and can even be damaging. But it's not the non-choir this documentary needs to preach to. Believers really need to go see this movie. So when you go, try to take along one of your fundamentalist friends.

 Now, be advised that this fundamentalist friend will initially balk, tell you that Bill Maher is evil and say that they refuse to support his work. If they do, offer to buy their ticket. If they still refuse, call them a pussy - or better yet, a gay pussy - and taunt them until they agree to go.  I guarantee that once in the theater, even they will end up laughing at some point, no matter how far that God-stick is shoved up their ass. 

This move was the funniest thing I have ever seen. Some have accused Bill Maher of poking fun at religion, but the beauty of this movie is that it's the very religious people who hand him the stick. The statements made by the Believers themselves are their undoing; all Maher does is ask the questions - both of his interview subjects and of the audience. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology - few religions are spared.

It's hard to say which part was my favorite, but I think it may have been the interview with the ex-gay Christian who tried to convince Bill Maher that he wasn't born that way.

There are a lot of atheists out there who take themselves way too seriously and who engage religious people - especially Christians - in long-winded, arrogance-fueled debates about the existence of God. Those people are on a fool's errand. Condescend to religious people, tell them they are stupid and that God isn't real and they'll only roll up like some righteous armadillo. 

The existence of God isn't really so much the issue, anyway. There's no way to prove or disprove the existence of God. The real issue is the existence of the mindset that invented religion, the mindset that fuels it and keeps it going. Bill Maher does a masterful job at exposing that mindset for what it is, and asking the questions that will spark healthy doubt in anyone who isn't afraid to consider them.

If you're not religious, Religulous will simply reinforce what you already believe. If you are, it may make you think. And even if you don't agree, by thinking then you've at least you will have taken a step in the right direction.


Christopher said...

Even after laughing hysterically at Bill Maher on The Daily Show the other night, I ended up going to see another movie today. In fact I was surprised that Religulous was playing at the theater I went to. I still plan to see it, but seeing it today would have meant hanging around for two hours.
It surprised me, though, that it's playing here. I think it's slipped in because most people don't know what it's about. The theater I went to was the one where, four years ago, Farenheit 9/11 was playing. A friend of mine who went to see that documentary told me there was a cop outside the box office asking to see the ID's of anyone who bought tickets to it. I can't believe he honestly thought he was going to intimidate anyone, which makes it that much stranger.

laughingwolf said...

methinks this is more 'preaching to the choir', cuz it won't change anyone's mind... 'believers' will continue to believe, non-believers, not believe... and tons of $$$ will roll into bank coffers, again...

cynical? moi? go on!

i'll wait til it's out on dvd....

laughingwolf said...

damn google! grrrr

methinks this is 'preaching to the choir', the 'believers' will continue to believe, non-believers will not... and $$$ will roll into bank coffers, yet again!

cynical? moi? go on witcha!

i'll wait til it's out on dvd....

Morgan said...

Christopher, I don't believe it's playing in my neck of the woods, which is why we went to Raleigh. It should eventually make it here, and when it does I plan to take my older kids to see it.
I can't believe a cop would actually be in front of a theatre checking ID's. I'd tell him to fuck off, get his badge number and then find out who authorized him to do that. If no one had, I'd make it my personal mission to get him fired.
I'm not particularly fond of cops. Bad ones are especially noxious.

Morgan said...

Wuff, it really is preaching to the choir, but I see its value in reaching fence sitters who are afraid to ask "why" because it will mean alienating themselves from God. The message is that asking "why" is good.
There was a point in the movie when Maher asked a woman at a religious theme park whether - if Jack and the Beanstalk - were in the Bible whether it would be accepted as fact. I mean, think about it, a lot of the other stories make as much sense. I'm thinking that if that fairy tale were in Genesis today preachers would be giving sermons on the bravery of Jack, whose faith in his beans led him to be able to slay the evil giant.

Citizen of Earth said...

Great stuff
I’ve been waiting for this movie / movement to come along for quite some time

I have understood for a long time that religion = bad

At some point I discovered that spirituality is good
Just as long as you keep religion out of it

See my post on “No Commercial Potential” for the great
“Noah” Question that has my fundamentalist friends flummoxed…

laughingwolf said...

verily, indeed :(

Andrea said...

Have you read this cheery story about "modesty patrols" in Israel?