Religulous [R], 2008
— VIA —
So, while some of my colleagues may be judgmentally inquisitive of me for watching this film, it seems good to me to understand life in its full…and yes, Bill Maher and Religulous must be taken into account as a part of the fullness of this life. To discount them is in many ways to discount your faith, if you believe your faith makes claims to all of life.
It was a little disturbing for me to have quite a few things in common with some of the sentiments of this film, specifically…
- a criticism of the confluence of religion and politics
- being disturbed at the realities of religion and violence
- the ridiculousness of the Creation Museum and the Holy Land Experience theme parks
- the questioning of the physical buildings of our religions and what Jesus really intended
- the exposure of the hypocrisy of Christian wealth in light of Jesus’ teachings
- the faithful’s ignorance of the Scriptures
- the unthoughtful and illogical theologies that dominate much of the religious world
However, with that said, there were many things about the film that were dishonest and disturbing that must also be noted.
- It is clear that the film is not a “documentary” but rather an extremely biased and affronting “expose” of sorts seeking to find idiocy that substantiates their notions and perspectives.
- The quick editing doesn’t really allow us to truly understand the interviewee’s points of view. (I found this especially troubling with the Francis Collins segment)
- Anyone can expose the illogicality of any ideology, expose its weaknesses or ridiculousness, and then dismiss the whole of the ideology. That is itself, dishonest. And so, the filmmakers perform a different kind of hypocrisy.
There were a few moments that I found genuine that were of interest. Maher mentioned a couple times that he himself has been on somewhat of a faith journey and up until the age of 40 still had “doubts.” I appreciated that honest, albeit brief, transparency. And several times he called out his interviewees on not truly “following Jesus” in his teachings and his life. Is there an appreciation of Jesus in Maher? The film is unclear, but I also appreciated a few of those items as well.