Bill Maher vs. organized religion: a grudge match

ReligulousLarry Charles(LIONSGATE)3.5 Stars”One question,” Jesus asks, “What if you’re wrong?” Bill Ma?her looks incredulously at Jesus. “Well, what if you’re wrong?” Maher doesn’t shy away from questioning people’s faiths, in fact, that’s entirely what his new flick “Religulous” is all about. Although the questioning at most points ventures into the territory of bashing, Maher definitely represents an opinion that has want of serious expression within our country. Maher starts off saying that 16 per cent of Aicanscans are self-described atheists, or at least have no desire to be affiliated with any religion. “That is larger than any other minority [in our country],” Maher points out, and offers that as such, the atheists and the anti-religion people deserve to be heard. Broaching such a sensitive subject as religion has long been considered taboo, but Maher is simply attempting to represent those who oppose organized religion, and to point out the blatant ignorance of the so-called separation of church and state within our country. Speaking of politics, Maher brings up a very frightening point: do you want your country completely run by people who believe that the world is going to end soon anyway? He interviews Mark Pryor, a senator from Arkansas and a believer in creationism. This interview leaves audience members laughing because they are so flabbergasted, as something to the effect of, “Well they don’t require an IQ test to be on the Senate” actually comes out of Pryor’s mouth. This is Maher’s intention, to show that people like this are controlling our country, and religion is the cause.He points out the mounting number of environmental issues, the threat of nuclear weapons, and every day it seems like society is that much closer to the end of times. “I hate prophecies, especially self-fulfilling ones,” Maher grumbles in a passenger seat of a van, from which half of his commentary is done. Throughout the movie he interviews several pertinent people, such as George Coyne, a former director of the Vatican observatory, who within his interview says that religion is not a science, and is not meant to be taken literally. This contrasts with interviews with Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, which focuses on interpreting creationism and the Book of Genesis literally. There is also the Muslim British rapper “Propa-Ghandi” and Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at University of Pennsylvania, to suggest the array of characters.Bill Maher is ruthless. Through all his interviews, whether it’s the man for the ex-Jews for Jesus, or the anti-Zionist Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, Maher makes everyone look like an idiot (some more easily than others). While undeniably biased, the movie provides an outlet for those who are forced to remain politely quiet.