Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

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The Most Religulous Item of the Day

Last night, bethje, Dorothea, and I went to see Bill Maher's movie, Religulous, which was quite enjoyable. Some people have said that Maher is basically preaching to the choir, which might well be true, but it seems like he's also trying to get the people who agree with him to come out of the woodwork. As far as Maher's own opinions on the subject go, he sometimes gives the impression that he wants to have it both ways. He'll talk about how his primary view on the supernatural is that we just don't know, but he'll also sometimes say stuff like, "Oh, still talking to your imaginary friend in the sky, huh?" I get the feeling that his views are kind of similar to mine--not feeling that I have the authority to say that I know what's going on behind the scenes any more than anyone else does, but thinking that most perceptions of God don't really hold water--but he'll often go more in one direction than the other when he thinks it works. But then, he IS a comedian, and the movie WAS funny. I found his talks with the televangelist and the Latin guy who claims to be the Second Coming because he's a blood descendant of Jesus to be particularly amusing.

A lot of Maher's arguments were ones I've come across many times before, like the one about how most of the elements in the Jesus story had already existed in other religions. I know that, at one point in history, the common argument against this was that Satan must have looked into the future and come up with parodies of the truth, so as to drive people astray. The more amenable C.S. Lewis preferred the idea that these older myths were meant to prepare people for the true gospel. But then, we ARE talking about a guy who had Bacchus working alongside his Christ figure, in a scene that I'm quite disappointed didn't make the film version of Prince Caspian. Another argument that Maher didn't come up with but that I thought was good was the one that, if God is all-powerful, why He sees the need to communicate through prophets, instead of just talking to everyone all at once.

As might be expected, several of the people interviewed resorted to the Apple Jacks defense ("We just DO, okay?"), while others just walked out (or, in the case of the Mormons, had Maher thrown off their property). In fairness, we don't know how much material from these scenes was left on the cutting room floor, but I do have to wonder how strong people who aren't even willing to hear any arguments against their religions really are in their beliefs. When some religious group urges people to boycott (or, in extreme cases, declare a fatwah against) anything that mocks or debates their faith, can they really be that certain in their own faith, or do they have an ulterior motive? I mean, I doubt anyone with a really strong belief in Christianity would say, "What? Some comedian said Jesus might not have existed? I guess I have to throw away my entire belief system, then!" On the other hand, people who have just always believed because that's what they were brought up to do might, and I'm sure the religious authorities don't want to lose those people.
Tags: movies, narnia, religion
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