October 29, 2008
for confirming the title of this blog. Obviously, you guys won because Jesus hates the Rays.
October 10, 2008
I headed out to see Religulous on opening day. I don't know if it was my excitement to see the film or the fear that it would be out of theaters so quickly that had us there, popcorn in hand, on the first day.
The overwhelming crowd of seven people--yes, seven--thinned to five as two people walked out of the theater. My guess is that they didn't know what they were going to see. I would imagine that for the rest of us in the audience, this movie was like preaching to the choir. After all, if you have ever seen Real Time you know what Maher's stance on religion is. He makes no secret of it. Actually, I found that he was less comedic, less dismissive, of religion in the film than he is on the show. I think that has a lot to do with format and with the fact that on Real Time he is performing in a manner that is closer to stand up--playing for the quick laugh. But in the film, even with the crazies, he was just asking questions.
It was odd to me how defensive even seemingly rational people get when you question their religion. It isn't disrespectful to be curious, is it? When we don't understand and ask "why?" why should that be such an inflammatory thing? Yes, for the sake of entertainment, Maher chose some of the wackiest of people out there. But religion lends itself to these people, the people who believe unquestioningly. In Maher's defense, not that he needs defending, he also spoke to some intelligent, well-spoken religious people. The Vatican scientist and senior priest were rational and willing to answer questions.
I just wonder why the simple act of saying that you're an atheist or agnostic is considered an attack on religion. Why is it that you saying you are a Christian isn't an attack but my saying I don't believe is?
Here's a quote for you: I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts
Religious people easily dismiss polytheistic religions and mythology based. They do so without feeling guilty that they are insulting anyone or attacking anyone. Why is it attacking then when I do the same?
This movie wasn't saying that there aren't people who take comfort from religion, in fact it clearly points that out. But it was also pointing to the fact that there is no way around religion being completely based in mythology. It is. Was the movie a bit heavy-handed in places? Sure. But sometimes you need to be to make a point, to get people talking. Funny thing is that not many are willing to talk about this. That either you agree or you feel in some way attacked. It's just a point of view.
No one is forcing anyone to see this film. However, if you come to my house, after it is released on DVD you will have an opportunity to see it. Because when someone wants an explanation of what I believe or why I believe it, Maher did a good job at coming closer to that explanation than I have ever seen on the big screen. For all the religious rights' complaints that Hollywood is a place that ignores Christian values, when was the last blatantly Atheist movie you saw? (And no, Golden Compass doesn't count since they dumbed it down before release) And it isn't because people dont' agree. It's because while the number of people that disassociate themselves with organized religion continues to climb, it is still, unbelievably, socially unacceptable to discuss it. Because, obviously, being a disbeliever must be a direct attack on everyone else. Seems like being defensive out of fear to me.