Bill Maher is not everyone’s cup of tea but I absolutely enjoy his shows. He pulls no punches when it comes to ridiculing monotheism. But then you may say it is an easy job considering that monotheistic religions are ridiculous. Here’s the opening paragraph of a Salon.com review of the movie:
What if there was a religion, asks comedian Bill Maher, in which an all-powerful god from outer space decided to send his unborn son on a suicide mission to planet Earth? So this space-god impregnates a human female in some mystical, not-quite-physical fashion, and she gives birth to a baby who is both a human being and a divine incarnation, simultaneously the space god’s spawn and the space god himself. (Oh, space god also has a third manifestation, one that’s totally invisible.) So space-god junior is born on Earth destined to be killed, even though he’s a space god and therefore immortal.
Read the rest of the space-god story in the New Testament (aka the Bible). Check out the Old Testament and the Quran (Koran) for the other versions of — to borrow a phrase from Richard Dawkins — breathtaking inanity.
India, being the land of people who are more Catholic than the Pope and more Mullah than the Ayatollahs (remember, India banned “The Satanic Verses” and thus set in motion the reward for the murder of Salman Rushdie), there is no chance of “Religulous” being shown in theaters in India. The government would not allow it. Only books and paintings denigrating Indic religions are allowed by the “secular” government of India.
So I do my best to counter the “secularism” of the government of India by ridiculing monotheism.
A bit more from the Salon review below the fold.
Excerpts from the interview with Bill Maher:
You’ve been pretty consistent on TV and in your stand-up routines in criticizing Islam, in arguing that the religion and its followers really have a problem they don’t seem to be dealing with. You go after Islam again in this film, and you aren’t especially delicate about it.
No, you can’t be. You can’t pull your punches, and you wouldn’t be respected if you did. We show a little of the Theo van Gogh film ["Submission," which apparently led to the Dutch filmmaker's murder by an Islamic radical], which is pretty rough stuff. You see that woman with her face all beat up, saying, “This is what my husband does to me in the name of his religion.” And we talk to a number of Muslim people and you hear me saying that I think when they talk amongst each other they’re more honest about the predicament of their religion, but they won’t say it to a stranger. I’m sure some of this is going to ruffle feathers, but you know what? The Christians don’t love what we say about them either.
You’ve been called anti-Muslim from time to time. How careful are you, do you think, about raising criticisms that don’t cross the line into prejudice and stereotype?
I don’t think I’m involved with prejudice. Prejudice comes from the words “pre” and “judge,” and I don’t think I’m prejudging. I’m judging. I reserve the right to make judgments. We all have to make judgments.