Thank Evolution for Bill Maher

Bill Maher’s Religulous deserves much praise for its boldness, wit, satire, and defiance of politically correct social mores, especially when it is made in the most religious developed country in the Western world (with half the population believing in Creationism, and about 85% believing in a personal God). Religulous (probably because of Maher’s association with The Reason Project) hit upon every talking point that Sam Harris regularly brings up in his lectures:

– Religion may have been useful in human evolution, but it is becoming increasingly maladaptive to Homo sapiens .

– Not only do people holding their beliefs with dangerous certainty elect our leaders, they are elected to be our leaders.

– Moderates give cover to fundamentalists by insisting that their beliefs assume the status of being immune from criticism. (In America, this most probably comes from the fact that the U.S. Constitution is neutral towards religion, and that as citizens of an open society, we should respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they want. This, however, does not mean that beliefs themselves should be accorded rights that make them off-limits for criticism. People criticize beliefs all the time, and only when the subject turns to faith do people demand no open inquiry into their beliefs.)

– Extremists in both Christianity and Islam continue to become more powerful, while moderates proclaim: (1) that the extremism is not inspired by the scriptures, but rather by some economic or political injustice, (2) denial that their religious moderation gives cover to the religious extremism.

– Many believers look forward to the end of the human race in hopes of a denominational salvation, and think that this event is (or could be) imminent.

– Skeptics are more honest than believers because the beliefs of the former are proportional to evidence. In Sam Harris’ words, “God’s enemies are more honest than his friends.”

In getting across these points Religulous was hilarious, but also didactic. The movie concluded with a clarion call for people to stand up for skepticism and clear thinking in order that we may avoid destroying the prospect of a thriving, peaceful civilization. Despite Maher’s previous media scandals, he more than makes up for them in his timely “mockumentary.”

~ by jsacc001 on December 4, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: