I saw a movie!


  1. “[Maher] regards religion as a dangerous mass delusion.” So did Karl Marx and all philosophical disciples. This is nothing new. Maher is struggling with his powerful dual identities, East Coast Irish Catholic and Jewish. So he’s decided both are crap. But he’s not stopping there. All religion is crap, he says, and somehow saying that is a balm on his childhood wounds.

    To prove his point, Maher talks to a bunch of overmatched simpletons whom he lied to to get them in from of the camera. Powerful journalism that. The one guy who stood up to him, a rabbi, angered Maher so much that Maher stormed out. That’s interesting on two levels: 1)it was a Jew, one of Maher’s dual identities, and 2) his reaction to a serious thinker wasn’t a serious response, but childish inability to control his emotional response. Bottom line is Maher is a big child suffering from an identity crisis, and from what my dad calls the plight of the partially educated, which is, you hear an idea that tickles your fancy and makes you feel good and you fall hard for it. How is that more rational than my faith?

  2. Great article…

    I liked the Moliere/Dane Cook bit…It’s good to see an entry here.

  3. j. christian says

    It’s an article of faith among secularists/atheists that religion is a force for intolerance and therefore has to die if we’re to live peacefully together. I admit that I uncritically held that belief in my younger days. A lot of supposedly smart people think this way, but it’s just not true.

    Never mind the fact that doing away with capital-G God only amounts to replacing Him with little-g god(s). Even if all the religions were to disappear overnight, there would not be everlasting peace, harmony and brotherhood among all the peoples of the world.

    Let me share a simple example from my own experience. High school is famous for being cliquish; by my senior year, I was ready to be done with all the silly groupings — jocks, smart kids, headbangers, art class dorks, etc. I couldn’t wait to go to college, because college offered the promise of an entire campus full of like-minded people. No longer would I have to sit through classes with people who thought Shakespeare was boring and too hard to understand; now I’d be with other smart people who’d be interested in learning just as I was. Wouldn’t that be great?

    So I went off to Prestigious University and, lo and behold, the people there *were* really smart, loved learning, didn’t snicker at Shakespeare, etc. But here was the unexpected catch: never before had I experienced more cliquishness, less diversity (on many fronts), and less willingness to step outside one’s familiar peers. The tiniest differences became magnified to the point of sorting persons into narrowly-defined identity camps:

    “Oh, you like 105.3 FM? I’m more of a 97.5 FM kind of guy.”

    It was a huge letdown, and a big eye-opener. I’m not an anthropologist or psychologist, but I think it’s fairly deeply rooted in human nature (another thing that secularists won’t admit exists) that we need to achieve belonging by defining the “out-groups” in relation to ourselves.

    I suspect that once we’ve done away with the major differences — like religion — we’d be busily trying to set ourselves apart by some other accidents of our culture. It’s not that we despise each other because one says no to pork and the other says fish on Fridays; it’s in our fallen nature to reject the image of God in “the Other.” We’d do it over clothing if nothing else…

    Far be it for an irrational religionist like me to offer such a rational, empirically testable hypothesis such as this, however… Let’s just stick to the knee-jerk, emotive “Religion=Hate” conceit, shall we?

    Take that and smoke it, Bill Maher.

  4. All,

    I’m just now diving into St. Irenaeus’ “Proof of the Apostolic Teachings” – his apology against gnosticism – and it strikes me how atheism (which it must be conceded is sourced as a disorder of the will not an error of the intellect) is very much a form of gnosticism – a gnosticism without God. (Maher and more profoundly people like Richard Dawkins are always preaching the word of secular humanism through the esoteria of modern science. “If only these religionists understood what we understand…”).

    …like Hazel Motes’ Church Without Christ.


  5. Great post j. Christian. By the way, Lickona fit into all of these groups: — jocks, smart kids, headbangers (in an alt rock sort of way), and art class dorks.

  6. Johnny Vino says

    You prolly packed a whole Lent’s worth of sacrifice by watching that flick. Nice review.

    On a related note – nothing annoys my athiest friend more than when I call him “irrational” for refusing to even discuss the “person” status of an in-utero fetus. Similar visceral response to calling Sarah Palin a “woman”.

  7. Cubeland Mystic says

    Maher’s people contacted me to set up an interview for the film. I told them sure, and gave them directions to the desert hillock upon which I pray at sunrise. I told them to be there two hours before sunrise and I will give an interview on the subject of the great mystery.

    No one showed the next morning. They contacted me again to apologize saying that they could not find the hillock. But I knew they never tried because that they were afraid of the desert, and in their pride concealed their fear from me. But I saw their fear and assured them that they should not fear being eaten by wild dogs or being dragged into hell by hordes of demons because I would ask my angel to protect and guide them. They laughed, and said that they would not be coming.

    I don’t understand why they laughed. But I do understand that their pride blinded them so they could not overcome their fear, and failed to understand that one cannot recognize the great mystery unless one first crosses the desert.

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