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.