Last night the Humanists went to watch Religulous, Bill Maher’s documentary about religious belief. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s the trailer:
We all thoroughly enjoyed it and it was very funny. Actually a lot of the laughs weren’t even at the expense of religious belief. So for example when some truckers in a chapel put their hands on Bill to pray for him when he was leaving, he walked away and said “Hey! Where’s my wallet?”, and after a conversation about hallucination, he told the cannabis-worshipping Dutch guy that his hair was on fire, and he shat himself. Brilliant. Some of the best parts were when someone said something stupid or ironic and he just sat in silence, like in the trailer where the senator for Arkansas says “well, you don’t need to take an IQ test to get into Congress”, or when Ken Ham said “Well, he is God. Are you God?” as if he’d won some big point, and Bill just shook his head and quietly said no.
Now I’ve heard a lot of people saying that it was biased, that it only dealt with the craziest beliefs, that it didn’t poke fun at atheists too (‘Schindler’s List’ didn’t show the Nazi side of the story either, so what?), and I agree! The whole thing was slanted against religious belief, it was obviously edited to make the people he was interviewing look more stupid, but it’s a comedy documentary about how ridiculous religious belief is! It’s kind of in the title! Besides, you can’t deny that some of the things those people said, no matter how they were edited or what context they were in, were ridiculously stupid. Things like “I’m gonna go up to heaven and come back on a white horse!”, or ‘No, it wasn’t in here, Mohammed kept the winged horse outside in the courtyard!’, or that the Messiah was going to come, raise people on the Mount of Olives from the dead, hop over a wall and go through the Golden Gates. WTF?!
Anyone out there, especially theists, I encourage you to go and see it. Maybe it’ll show you a glimpse of how ridiculous some of your beliefs seem to people on the other side of the fence, people who don’t just make some of their beliefs immune to scrutiny or evidence, just because it comes under the label of ‘religion’ or ‘faith’. Maybe you can laugh when he pokes fun at a different religion, but remember that they’ll be doing the same thing to you too.
At one point Bill seemed to be making the point that lots of religious people will happily laugh at beliefs like Mormonism and Scientology saying they’re stupid, but they need to take a look in the mirror! Compared to the daftness of their own religious beliefs, Mormonism and Scientology are only a tiny bit more stupid. I sketched a quick chart, hopefully it’ll come out ok.
(You may ask why I don’t think Islam is as stupid as the other Abrahamic religions. Well this isn’t exactly to scale, I think it’s less less stupid than Scientology is more stupid [if you can follow that], but at least we are more certain that Muhammed existed than we are Jesus did.)
So yeah, go see it.