A Co-worker mentioned to me this movie called Religulous. I found it very blasphemous and horrible, so I would not recommend it to anyone! I probably can’t adequately explain why this movie is wrong, but I’ll try to give my thoughts as best I can.
I don’t know anything about the making of the movie, but it appeared as if Bill Maher edited it heavily in his favor. I got the impression that he did not care about what the people said; he just wanted to make them look bad while making his point. For example, he asked a pointed question of the Senator he was interviewing. The question was something along the lines of why should we work to improve or do anything in this world when we know the world will end at any moment. Now consider the implications and the charge behind such a question for a person whose job depends upon the opinions and election of his constituents. Don’t you think you would stop and think through any answer you gave to such a question? The movie’s editing gave the senator just enough time to let the magnitude of such a question to sink in and register on his face then cut out on to something else. Did he ever come back with a good answer? What was his true response? I didn’t feel that the editing did him justice.
Another thing that I noticed is that Bill spent a lot more time with the “Truck Drivers” that were having trouble refuting and putting into words their arguments to his questions. When he gets to Answer’s in Genesis and Ken Ham, he gives him just enough time to establish the fact that he believes in the literal story of the Garden of Eden. He doesn’t give him time to present his logical explanation of the facts. I think if you spend a good length of time discussing with Ken Ham or perusing their website, you will find that it takes just as much faith to believe that species evolved from one to another as it does to believe that God created everything in this world with a giant miracle.
Finally, I found this movie under the Documentary section of Amazon. Yet, does your typical documentary have “bad language” and questionable content? I understand that some of the topics were mature topics, but the mature comments were extended beyond those segments. If you were really trying to reach those involved in religion, don’t you think that you would try a little harder to avoid offending them before you get your message across? Does Bill expect to be taken seriously or is he just going for a few laughs?
Religion versus Relationship
I completely agree with Bill on one point. Religion only causes more problems. In my mind, religion is a set of rules that one must follow to gain favor with God. The Bible is clear that we can’t earn our way to heaven: “Our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6, Philippians 3:8, Hebrews 11:6).
Jesus criticized the Jews for all of their rules even in His day (Matthew 23:13-23). The Jews had taken the rules thing to the extreme inventing rules and ways around rules beyond what the Old Testament even commanded. I believe God just wanted us to realize that there was no way that we could keep a set of rules but that we needed a relationship with Him.
Where I disagree with Bill is that a relationship with God and Jesus is essential. The Bible promises that if we put our faith if Jesus, He will wash our sins away (Mark 2:5, Romans 3:23-26). Without those sins washed away, we cannot stand in the final day of judgement and expect anything other than punishment for the things we have done wrong.
After we have established that relationship with God (started by His washing away our sin), we will then want to keep his moral commandments. We then do these things not because we have to but because we want to please a loving God who mercifully spared us from the punishment we deserved. As an added incentive, we want to follow these guidelines because they were given to us by the creator who knows what is best for His creation. For example, He instructs us that marriage is between a single couple for life (Matthew 5:31-32) because He knows that divorce breaks a spiritual bond between the partners that will cause heartache for both the partners and the kids involved. He knows what’s best for us.
Authenticity of the Bible
One of Bill’s assertions is that the Bible is nothing more than a bunch of fairy tales. Belief in the Bible is pivotal. If the Bible is not true, this is all just man-made religion and I would agree with Bill on all points. But, I believe the Bible is true and accurate. Without God’s Word to rely on, we are just believing in our imagination of what God wants or a man-made idea of God.
During an interview, Bill claimed that the writers of the stories about Jesus didn’t even meet Jesus. How can he say that? Were Matthew, Mark, and John not disciples of Jesus? These guys spent tons of time during Jesus’ public ministry seeing what He was all about. Furthermore, God included in the Bible four eye witness accounts from four different people. Wouldn’t four different accounts of an event that agree be conclusive evidence that it happened?
Stating that no historical evidence exists for Jesus’ existence is a mere matter of opinion. That view is a choice to reject the evidence that does exist as “non-historical”. Probe ministries details evidence in a nice article called Ancient Evidence for Jesus from Non-Christian Sources.
Bill also made the allegation several times that the Bible had errors in it. I disagree. I know there are some discrepancies, but I think they can all be explained. For example, I have seen where numbers are reported differently where the same story is told two different places. The logical answer is that the two different authors are counting different things or including different groups of people in their count.
So, Bill chooses to write off the Bible as a fairy tale because the stories don’t sound real enough to him. I wish he would spend some more time with ministries like Answers in Genesis. While the stories are fantastic and amazing, I think when you really study and understand them, you’ll see that they are real.
Counterfeits Do Not Disprove
Bill interviewed a number of religions. Some of the people/organizations I highly respected and others I strongly disagree with. He lumped them all together and considered them equal. To him, the guy who believed he could have a religious experience with Marijuana was just as crazy as the Holy Land Experience who could make the Bible come to life and illustrate the culture and reality of the Bible events.
Bill needs to remember that a counterfeit does not disprove the real thing. Rather a counterfeit only proves that the real thing exists. If I receive a counterfeit hundred dollar bill, should I claim that hundred dollar bills do not exist or that money has no real value. Quite the opposite, people only try to create counterfeit money because the real money has real value. I disagree with Mormon, Islamic, and Marijuana worshipers’ beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that I disagree with all faith! They are just trying to copy something that is real.
I think that Bill should not have come to the conclusion that all people of faith are crazy, but that there must be something to it. I understand that it is hard to know, but I think it is possible to find the truth in the middle of all of it.
Where’s the Hope?
The saddest part about this video was the fact that it was quite hopeless. Bill ended with no answer other than we cannot know the truth about spirituality and about death.
The video had lots of laughs. People were made fun of and called names. Material was presented with a sense of silliness. But, at the end, Bill doesn’t even make the point that we just cease to exist or we all are taken to heaven by a loving God. Instead, he says we can do nothing about death nor have any consolation about what happens afterward.
Bill, why should I even listen to you? I’ll give you the fact that if you rid the world of some of the religions, we might fix some of the religious hate. But, we would all be living for the moment because there would be nothing else. Our selfish living with no moral obligations creates more problems that would destroy this world.
How Does Bill’s Answer Work in Society?
Bill’s answer was clearly “I don’t know and no one else does”. He would throw away all religion and all concept of any deity outside our understanding. So, where does that leave us?
Without the Bible and God, we have no concept of absolute truth. That leaves everyone the ability to decide what they think is right and wrong. Are you sure people will naturally choose to follow rules that are best for society? Without any reckoning after our life, we are left to live for the moment. That leads to selfish living not to what’s best for society.
The Bible says that this world is deteriorating (Romans 8:22). I don’t think that is hard to believe. Look around even at natural events. We may improve our technology, but will it ever overcome this deterioration? Can you blame all of this on religion? Earthquakes and pollution are hard to blame on religion. If you get rid of all religion, do you really think society and all of the killings would be fixed?