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Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 09-09-2010


Product Description
Bill Maher incurs the wrath of multiple religious zealots of myriad faiths in Religulous, a snarky but unexpectedly powerful documentary. Maher bluntly disputes the value of religion in a world made increasingly dangerous, on the one hand, by fanaticism of all kinds and the human race’s environmental self-dest… More >>


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Comments (5)

You don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate.

If you build a diorama with animatronic dinosaurs and children coexisting, it must be true.

Dialing a phone on Sabbath is forbidden, dialing a phone with a stylus on Sabbath is allowed.

You will learn all this and more from Bill Maher’s hilarious mockumentary, Religulous.

It is not often that a movie is so subversive, funny and educational all at once. Bill Maher certainly has his fair share of ego, but he has the comic chops to support it. In some of his interviews I wish he had gone further, but to do that he would have to have been more serious, less funny and ultimately have made a different movie.

But the movie he makes is brilliant, it shines a spotlight on some of the serious questions and inconsitencies in religion that people allow themselves to ignore. And his ultimate message is one that everyone needs to hear; there are things in this world that are not explained, and that’s OK! Not every gap in human knowledge is God-shaped. Doubt is good, doubt makes us ambitious and inquisitive and humble. And that’s not a bad way to be.

Rating: 4 / 5

I watched this movie during a very key time of growing out of my Christian upbringing. I needed this movie to be able to laugh at not only how ridiculous religious dogma is, but to laugh at MYSELF for having once believed something that brought so much grief to my life. This movie was a breath of fresh air and a great stepping stone from a Bible-based upbringing here in the, “Bible belt.” For this alone, I give the movie 5 stars. If you’re teetering on the edge of belief and non-belief, this movie should pretty well give you the confidence to finally lean to one side or the other. Laughter and Bill Maher’s predisposition aside, these people make their very own beliefs look ridiculous.

Highlights for me include parts like this one guy who claims he knows God because of the many, many miracles he has experienced; yet, when Bill asks him to give examples, the guy is unable to intially give any. In response, Bill questions how significant these miracles could’ve really been if the man is unable to recall even ONE when asked! When the man finally does come up with an example, it’s incredibly laughable and you’re left thinking, “wow, this guy should’ve kept his example to himself!” Granted, the man may have very well come up with his example just seconds after saying, “I don’t know,” but here again, the example he did give is preposterous.

Touching back on something I said in the first paragraph, this film also gave me permission to laugh at myself. Like many who lose their faith when they broaden their world view, this film was a resounding, “ahhhhh,” when I realized issues like injustice and suffering don’t fit in the equation of faith in the Judeo-Christian God for a reason.

Without going into a diatribe about how selflessly selfish I find many religions to be, suffice it to say, I have finally broken the divisive chains of ignorant and ill-founded faith. The ties that binded me were typical of many religious moderates; fear of death, desire to see loved ones beyond life, personal divine guidance and support through hard times, et al. I lived my life in a superstitious and indoctrinated fashion that narrowly shaped my world view and when I dared to step out of this narrow world view, the questions I asked were usually satisfied with cliche ignorance such as, “God has a plan for everything” or, “my feeble human mind cannot possibly comprehend God’s plans!” Rubbish! Now I see this world for exactly what it is and I have been humbled 10-times beyond that of what religion ever did. But I digress…

Back to the movie, Religulous isn’t for those of you who are intellectuals well-versed in the thoughts and works of people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. You may get a number of chuckles but the underlying message (the one in which Bill ends the film with) is exactly that of religion being a detriment to humanity. You will more than likely wish Bill had taken the message a bit deeper, but because I saw this movie at the point I did in my shedding of religiosity, I stand as an example of person who found this to be exactly what I needed to solidify the ground beneath me during my leap from faith to rationale.

With that being said, if you identify at all with how I have portrayed a part of myself to have been, I *HIGHLY* recommend this film! If you’ve seen this film and you’re looking for a much more in-depth explanation or rationale of the message Bill ends the movie with, I recommend the following things to you:

1 – “Root of All Evil?” Documentary by Richard Dawkins: http://richarddawkins.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=7 (One of the most engaging and definitive documentaries on the ill-founded grounds of religiosity and spirituality as defined by the superstitious and dogmatic today)

2 – Sam Harris’ Lecture on Religion: http://rapidshare.com/files/175676905/Sam_Harris_-_The_View_From_The_End_Of_The_World.mp3 (This is a VERY informative and engaging lecture. Sam’s calm, cool and collected disposition – with his effective use of the English language – really drives his point home)

3 – “Jesus Camp”: http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Camp-Becky-Fischer/dp/B000KLQUV2/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1233848044&sr=8-1 (If you want to see just how messed up it can get with the Christian fundamentalists raising children, watch this documentary)

4 – “Who Wrote the Bible?”: http://atheistmovies.blogspot.com/2009/01/who-wrote-bible.html (An excellent documentary regarding the creation of the Bible)

And with that, I will end this review. Apologies for weaving in and out between reviewing this movie and divaricating off into other topics, but I wanted to write something relevant to the whole topic and give people who want to dig further, a place to start. Thanks for reading.



PS – I forgot to mention the obvious: If you’re religious, you will get from this movie exactly what you expect to get out of it: Being offended. If you’re religious and you’re watching this movie merely to see a bully supposedly picking on poor little innocent religious people, then prepare to walk out of the theater pissed off and having completely missed even the most obvious of notable points made in this movie.
Rating: 5 / 5

Immediately after watching Religilous, I wanted to rate it a five. After I had a day to think about the film, I wanted to rate it a four. Now, a few days after that, I am going to rate it a three.

Religilous is a film tracking political comedian Bill Maher as he strolls about the country and world interviewing various people of faith in order to show how stupid and funny they are. I will say that the film is quite successful on both scores. The film has a very “Michael Moore”ish flavor to it, where the real delight comes from watching the interviewee’s get skewered (while only a few seem to catch on that this is what Maher is doing, which makes it even funnier).

All of this is good and bad. As a non-believer, I have no problem with laughing at religious people and some of the whacky beliefs that they hold with a straight face. As one of moderate tempermant, however, I think that (a) Maher often picks easy targets (the anti-zionist Jew, the Trucker Christian Chapel). Secondly, after an hour and a half, Maher’s interupting and coarse brand of interviewing becomes slightly less than charming if not, sometimes, simply abrasive. Much like Penn and Teller’s Bullsh#t, the film is very funny for a while, but wears on you the more it plays on.

That accounts for one star. The next star deduction is because Maher’s point – think Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens here – was very poorly made. Much of the film is a comedic laugh at religion only to suddenly turn very serioiusm cautioning about religion’s detrimental effects and penchant for evil. The problem is that there is no build up from the first part (90 minutes) to the second part (20 minutes). The second part simply came out of nowhere and really lacked support from the first part of the film (where we only see that religion is stupid, not an evil, threatening, force.) The director should have made up his mind on which direction he wanted to go and stuck with it.

I would still reccomend that people see this film. It will make you think. It will spawn discussions. It will make some angry and others relieved. Hopefully, it will make all of us (except for Pat Robertson and Osama bin Laden) laugh. It could simply benefit from a little more substance.

Rating: 3 / 5

More than any in recent memory this is the movie I have been waiting for with great expectations… and it doesn’t disappoint. No holy cows are spared, as Bill Maher ridicules Christianity, Islam, Judaism and a few smaller religious sects in the name of rationality and intelligent doubt.

The film is a documentary largely carried out through a series of interviews conducted with religious leaders, believers and a few skeptics. Highlights include an interview with evangelical, and none too bright, Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor and a Jews for Jesus believer who hopes that the end of the world will occur in his lifetime. The laughs are side-splitting and they just keep on coming throughout the movie.

One thing I particularly enjoyed about this theater going experience was how the audience seemed to bond through the shared moments of laughter. Living in the South, those of us who are not religious are vastly outnumbered by the fundamentalists that this film so joyfully satirizes. So to feel that sense of camaraderie with my fellow skeptics was a wonderful feeling. As Maher says, it’s time to come out of hiding and let our voices be heard!
Rating: 5 / 5

Now for a documentary movie, this has to be one of the most entertaining of its kind and there’s no doubting it’s because of Bill Maher. In this he sets out around the world to question those who believe in religion on a literal basis. Those who believe in Jesus (literally), those who believe in the garden of eden (literally) and also believe in the stories of Jesus (literally) despite no evidence and huge inconsistencies.

Bill appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to advertise this movie a couple of months ago. He cleared up the fact that he’s not saying people are stupid for believing in God, he’s just questioning those who believe in religious stories on a literal basis despite no proof. He goes around the country and indeed the the world to question important figures in the religious world.

What he does is he manages to expose those who hold beliefs that they simply can’t back up. Predictably some of the lower level figures and believers react badly to Bills probing questions and decide not to continue the interview. Quite surprisingly a lot of higher up figures keep to the interview, acknowledge the probing questions and even a vatican priest states a lot of the Bibles stories and threats are nonsense.

Although this film is meant to be a comic film, it actually exposes a lot of serious flaws in religion and exposes the heights of desperation that people have when seeking out something to believe in. Some people may just see it as a film that pokes fun at religion, and those people would be the religious nuts who blindly believe. However, those with legitimate thoughts will see that it’s a film that, yes pokes fun at religion, but in an open minded way and just seeks to question those who don’t like being questioned.

A highly enjoyable documentary which I would recommend that anyone buy on DVD upon its release.
Rating: 5 / 5

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