Directed by Larry Charles
Many have said it before, faith is a funny thing. Like “The Last House on the Left”, “Religulous” is a rather difficult movie to discuss, simply because (as this documentary points out again and again) arguments about religion are some the most dangerous things in the world. Sure, most people can keep a level head, realizing the contradictory nature and impossible conundrums raised by their beliefs, but a startling number of people are far too willing to become violent to defend what they believe. It’s truly frightening. In fact, despite how witty Bill Maher often comes across in the film (and at times, sleazy too) I ended up being more terrified by the film than I was entertained by it.
If faith is a funny thing, religion is a scary thing. I’m pretty much of the same mind-set as Bill Maher, I preach “Doubt.” Would I like to believe that there’s a greater purpose to everything? Sure, of course I would. Who wouldn’t? I’d feel safer. (And there in lies the true power of all world religions, we’re just too scared not to believe in them.) But the truth is, there is absolutely no way that I believe any world religion has it right. It’s just not feasible. If, if, there is a greater power at work in our world, we sure as hell don’t have the resources or the capabilities to understand it. All religions take and steal from each other’s stories (but of course, never admitting to it) so much that there is simply no way, one religion could be the true way. Why? Because at their heart, they’re all the same damn story. They preach the same morales. They want to make the world a better place. But the problem is, they want all the credit it for it on their own. So Christianity has to be the path of the light. And there can be no truer path than the path of Islam, and so on and so forth, until we all just kill ourselves. And that, that’ll show us .
And of course, even if we somehow manage to avoid the heat seeking missile that is a religious war destroying all of mankind, in the meanwhile, we have churches covering up acts of pedophilia, or executions of artists for questioning or representing religious figures. In short, for all the good that world religion does (and it does do some) I worry that it causes more harm than anything else. We should all be able to simply put faith in each other and make this life we’re living right now, a deserving one. And the after life? I think we’re all going to be too dead, to really let it bother us.
Shit… this was supposed to be a review for “Religulous” wasn’t it? Okay then… it was pretty good. It could have been funnier, and it could have been more informative. As clearly intelligent of a man as Bill Maher is, I found that he refrained from asking the more thought-provoking questions (though he did ask some) and was simply always looking for a way to insult whomever he was talking to. Sometimes the insults worked, sometimes they just come across as juvenile. But despite the shortcomings of the film, I give Maher (and Larry Charles who appears to have shot most of this film by himself) all the credit in the world for having the guts and the balls to make this documentary. Religious people can be a scary bunch, and during a few of these interviews, I know that I would not have been feeling particularly safe. The message of the film is certainly worth it though, if Global Warming in an Inconvenient Truth, than World Religion is becoming an Inconvenient Fairy Tale.
And I swear, this isn’t just a hate filled rant on religion because I had to go to Catholic School for most of my life. (Though that’s certainly where these ideas began to foster.)