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Funny . . . . Fluff
on March 6, 2009
Bill Maher has produced a very clever, very funny, and very well edited documentary that satirizes religions of all colors and stripes. He asks many questions and interacts (as only he can) with a wide, if not imbalanced range of religious people. During this exercise, Bill brings up and reveals many embarrassing issues and hard questions that all people of faith must ask themselves and struggle with in today's world, like: the problem of Evil, the relationship faith has with science, the evils of organized religion: violence, repression and discrimination, talking snakes and many more. And he makes us laugh out loud as we watch.
The most qualified person that he interviews is one of the first on the film. Bill talks with one of the world's greatest geneticists and avid defender of the Christian faith, Francis Collins. The interchange is disappointingly short and shallow, allowing Bill to get his two cents in while avoiding any real discussion. This interchange sets the standard for the rest of the movie. Bill is not going to deal with the intellectual field of religion, which is much larger and more mainstream than you'd ever gather from watching this feature. In fact besides the interview with with Dr. Collins, this film completely ignores philosophical-religion with its enormous history and focuses instead on the fundamentalist-inspired religious masses, which, bless their hearts, are mostly a product of a culturally-processed faith that has no tradition of serious thought. I'm not questioning the authenticity or depth of the faith of Bill's subjects, but there is no question that these adherents are not qualified to defend or in many cases even understand the details of their own religious systems.
At the conclusion of the film, after Maher has appealed so strenuously to our logic and common sense, he then stands tall and full of righteous indignation as he pretends to have actually made a case against ALL faith and religion. Really he's only managed to make us laugh at blue collar fundamentalism and extreme organized religion, while completely ignoring any real intellegent discussion of faith issues.
In the end, while making some good criticism, this entertainment proves to be an interesting satire of our culture and mostly just . . . good entertainment. Enjoy