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ReligulousFair Use

Bill Maher’s Religulous (2008) is a funny, provocative documentary that takes the viewer around the world to different holy and perhaps not so holy sites.

Maher interviews, cajoles and lampoons not just the man on the street but countless big wheels in the multifaceted and often wacky world of religion.

His method is that of doubt, one going back to René Descartes and arguably as far back as Socrates.

As a progressive Catholic there are a few scenes and quick transitions implying things I don’t like. But I’m not one to get too reactive (not for too long, anyhow) and throw the baby out with the bath water.

There is a lot of really good material in this film, and Maher is to be commended for highlighting the hypocrisy, silliness and violence often legitimized in the name of God.

On the down side, the film needs someone to expose Maher’s mistakes. And yes, he makes a few. In fact, at times he seems just as monolithic as some of the religious figures he is satirizing.

While it wouldn’t be fair to expect a comedian to be up on all the complexities of religious scholarship and scientific debates, his support crew might have spent a little more time doing their homework.

Other than that, the film is broad in scope and doesn’t take pot shots at any one particular faith group. Rather, religion as a whole is uprooted and examined.

While I may not agree with all of Maher’s opinions, I learned a great deal.

Religulous is highly recommended for those strong in their faith. Fundamentalists and fanatics, however, might walk out of the theater.

–MC

Religulous – Trailer