Guest Author - Jamise Grace Liddell
You can pray for television personality and now film maker, Bill Maher, but he just thinks you are crazy!
Host of the show Real Time with Bill Maher, the pop culture commentator has made it no secret that he thinks religion is ridiculous. For this reason, many people of faith would never go to see Maher’s new film Religulous. But I went because I wanted to know why Maher, who is always bashing the religions of the world, disliked Christianity and faith in general, so much, he decided to make a documentary about it.
The title comes from combining the words “religion” and “ridiculous”, and the film is a satirical attempt to focus on the problems in the world that are due to religion. Which makes this film a perfect vehicle for director Larry Charles, the man who brought you Borat.
An equal opportunity faithbasher, Maher spends screen time attempting to understand religion by finding the right wing, silly, and absurd aspects of as many faiths as he can explore in a 101 minutes. Few higher powers are left unquestioned as Maher travels to a Muslim temple, the Vatican, and a Christian holy park.
So what does this film have to do with action? Well, violence is the result of most religions, according to Maher, who incorporated into the film, footage in of all sorts of threats from religious leaders, and people and places blowing up and people being wounded because of religious beliefs and differences.
What Maher misses in his search for understanding is the common folk and their personal relationships with their higher powers. He really didn’t delve or speak to everyday individuals about their faith experiences. When Maher did speak with an average person about their beliefs, the footage was edited to make them sound like absolute fools.
What really touched me is that at one point in this film, Maher sits with his mother and they speak of their limited Jewish and Catholic background. And I remember Bill Maher saying, that he didn’t know what to believe. “ I don’t know. I just don’t know,” he repeatedly said. And while he ridiculed faith, I saw and felt a guy that seemed very lost.
And while Religulous is an extension of Maher’s continuous inquiring of religion, he does bring up some great questions, which he couldn’t seem to find anyone to answer. Religulous is without question a film that is worthy of debate and long discussions because viewer reactions to the film are so varied.