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Bill Maher and chicken entrails

I attended Baptist church three times a week growing up. By the time I was 17, I had attended church approximately 2,652 times. My ultra-churchy upbringing left me with both an aversion to organized religion and distaste for outright blasphemy. I’m a Bill Maher fan, so I decided to watch Religulous last night and risk a potential guilty conscience.

Religulous opens with Bill Maher standing in Israel on the site of the prophesied apocalypse. He points out that during Bible times God was the only one with the power to end the world. These days, man can do a fine job of destroying an entire planet.

From there, Maher interviews loads of colorful characters including truckers at a truck stop chapel with a sign that reads “Jesus Love You” (one of the truckers claims to be a former Satanist priest), an ex-homosexual pastor who’s married to an ex-lesbian (I wonder how that marriage will end), a Jew for Jesus, a couple of gay Muslims and a two ex-Mormons.

Maher made several points that I already agreed with. My crisis of faith has been going on for quite a while and I’ve had time to ponder these sorts of things. First, the Bible should not be taken literally. Second, if were to follow all the beliefs from the dark ages, we would have to say the earth is flat. Third, the history of Jesus Christ is eerily similar to other deities such as Krishna and Horus. Maher backed up his opinions with humor and facts.

This documentary is not blasphemy, but Maher’s attempt to talk sense into people who question nothing. As he puts it: “Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking.” Religion is an excuse to treat the earth like garbage, to murder people who don’t agree with you, and to be a total asshole. People can have a belief system and even be spiritual without abandoning rationality. Unfortunately, the most vocal religious folks are rarely the most logical.

Viewing Religulous allowed me to consider my doubts with humor instead of sadness. There are also lots of great quotes.

“The plain fact is religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having key decisions made by religious people – by irrationalists – by those who would steer the ship of state, not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken.” — Bill Maher

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Penni Jones is the author of The Utopia of Noah Lazarus. She spends her days chasing preschoolers (her own children, not random preschoolers) and spends her nights reading and writing until she passes out from exhaustion and red wine.

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5 Responses to “Bill Maher and chicken entrails”

  1. kormantic says:

    We saw this in the theater when it came out. I used to drive past that creepy Holy Land place on my way to work every day. I have a friend who is always teasing me, saying, “oh, kormantic, you want everything to make sense.”. And yeah, I do. And growing up Catholic, religion was confusing to me – and makes less sense now.

  2. Matt says:

    I do like Bill Maher quite a bit, although I admit to being a little freaked out by how much pancake makeup they always have him slathered in.

  3. Penni says:

    He definitely needs to lay off the foundation a bit. Maybe he has really bad skin underneath.

    I agree kormantic- it continues to make less sense the more I know. That used to bother me but I’m okay with it these days.

  4. Nate says:

    My experience with (and point of view on) religion is somewhat different…but that’s a discussion for a different blog.

    My only real experience with Bill Maher was the early days of “Politically Incorrect”, where he was a breath of fresh air in what seemed to be a pretty intellect-free television landscape at the time. Also, Dave Barry was on his show from time to time, and that can’t be anything but awesome.

  5. Scott Pairan says:

    “[Religion is] the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken.” – Bill Maher

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27

    We seem to have a difference of opinion…

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