In Bill Maher’s movie, Religulous, he aims his agnostic skepticism, cutting humor and unwaveringly bad hairstyle at the subject of religion.
More precisely, Maher focuses his ire at the Judeo-Christian-Islam extraction of organized religion.
As a documentarian he makes the mistake that is so tempting to make: he uses extremists as indicative of the whole. It’s sort of like making a documentary about comedians and only interviewing Robin Williams and Steven Wright (actually, that sounds like a pretty good idea). Although it may be funny, it doesn’t represent the vast religious practitioners whose faith is simple and healthy.
Actually, as documentary, Religulous makes about the same statement as Supersize Me. They both show what happens when you do too much of a thing that should probably only be done once a week.
But that doesn’t make Religulous a bad movie. It’s funny and entertaining but it also poses an important question: why believe when belief seems to be so harmful? And: is it possible that we are beyond the usefulness of religion?
Maher offers the haven of doubt as a luxury to practice in opposition to faiths that seem only to lead to destruction. He plays fast and loose with his ability to question those who claim to have all the answers and his vision is refreshing.
It’s a totally post-modern thing to do: not to have answers.