2/18/2009

Let's Talk About Religion!...

Last night I watched Bill Maher's movie Religulous which just came out on DVD. Now, I completely understand why many people are turned off by Maher (Megan can't stand him). He can be pretty smug and condescending. You know what, though? It's refreshing to see the smugness and condescention going in the other direction for a change. There have been many times where religious-types have implied that I am somehow incomplete because I don't subscribe to any organized religion (mainly theirs).

I remember riding the chairlift with a guy who was on my ski racing team last year. I don't know what triggered it, but he asked me which church I went to. Note that he didn't ask me IF I went to church, but which one. I try to be patient with people like this, so I explained that while I was raised Lutheran, I no longer attend church nor do I consider myself a Christian. His response: "Well, that's no good." Had it not been for my polite Midwestern upbringing I would've told him to go fuck himself. No good? For who? I find it odd that I'm the one who has to explain why I don't believe something rather than the other person explaining why they do. In the film there are many people who get uncomfortable having their beliefs challenged. I say good. Without challenging beliefs, there's no progress.

The thing is, I'm fine with beliefs. I have some of my own that I can't prove. For instance, I believe in life after death. Am I 100% positive that it exists? Hell no! For me it's 50-50. It's the certainty that people of faith have that's so maddening and leads to so many problems in the world.

If you're new to this blog and you'd like to read more about my "spiritual journey", I did THIS LONG POST about it a while back.

26 comments:

Dr Zibbs said...

I hate him as well but want to see this. And I hate people that think they know something that I don't believe in God.

I don't believe in unicorns but I'm not a unicorn hater I sometimes tell them. That usually pisses them off.

Don't get me started.

Amanda said...

This movie was fantastic!

I think some religions give bonus points for conversions, that's why strangers are always asking something so personal. You don't hear them asking whether you wear boxers or briefs do you? That's because they don't get bonus points for underwear, well unless they're Mormon.

Cheer34 said...

religious people drive me nuts....religion is a path for a few to control the masses....I say think for yourself and do good in every life you choose....

PS DR Zibbs.....unicorns aren't real?

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I had not planned to watch this film because I can't stand Maher but after reading thisp ost I may have to change my mind.

Mnmom said...

I liked his book of posters, the name escapes me now.
I believe organized religion to be the basis for about 98% of the world's problems.

So. Did you push him off the chairlift and tell him to ask his God to take him to the top?

Kimmie said...

Just added to the queue. Thanks Chris!

Dr. Zaius said...

Why do you hate Jesus? Jesus loves you. He even had a horribly gooey death just to wash away your sins. And if you are Catholic, you get to eat him every Sunday!

Bill Stankus said...

Life after death? I've been there and it's more Tijuana than Paris.

And Organized Religion does have a purpose - they invented SIN - and look how much fun that is.

SkylersDad said...

I like the people who ask my if I have been born again. To them I reply, "No, I got it right the first time."

They always walk away in a huff.

Bubs said...

Which do you hate more, Jesus or America?

Jay said...

Well then, it's obvious that you're a terrorist. +1 to The Axis of Evil.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

"In the film there are many people who get uncomfortable having their beliefs challenged. I say good. Without challenging beliefs, there's no progress."

I'm always amused by people whose beliefs are being challenged get flabbergasted and sputter and spew and blush.

It's called 'faith' for a reason, true believers. It's under the EF region in Websters, should you need a rehashing.

This is why, despite being Christian, I constantly shake my head at the religious folk.

red said...

I loved this movie, but then, I totally love Bill Maher in all his snarkiness. He does make some really excellent points in the film.

raf said...

I completely agree with you!
I would have write the same words,and only changed the kind of religion (catholicism) and referred to the old post.buying fried chips at the end of the sunday mass!

ÄsK AliCë said...

Organized religion is a way for governments to control the population

Grant Miller said...

I also don't care for him, but agree with a lot of what he says anyway.

Oh yeah, I second what Bubs said.

Fancy Schmancy said...

I actually like Maher, but tried to watch the movie last night and just found it too over the top and over-edited to the point of ridiculous. Which is probably how they got the name for the movie. I'm going to try to watch it again, today, cause I don't like to start something and not finish it. Maybe I was just tired.

Guido said...

Rationalist: a word we need to start using--not atheist or agnostic. The onus is on the space-god believer to defend his dementia, not on you to justify a rational awareness of the natural world. Besides, you remember Stryper? They sucked!

Dad E said...

Anyone that dares to stick it to religion has some of my respect. Religion poisons everything. I want to see unbelievers like myself be given the same amount of respect that believers are accorded.

I idea that some mythical creature could reward the dead with an afterlife is based on a profession of believe in this mythical creature is truly amazing.

And the most troubling belief is that earth was created for man to rule over. Man may destroy the earth for human habitation, but the earth will keep on truckin'as it has these many billions of years.

Guido said...

I just read your long post for the first time and never understood your hate for America as much as I do now. I think the take on a cosmic energy that binds everything is fine, that's coming from the part of you that whats to answer the unknown. Maybe there's a binding energy, but maybe he's better discovered through physics than prayer. I think it's brave to say "I don't know/ I don't understand." It reminds me of that "irreducible complexity" that the dingdongs use to argue creationism. The biological world is so complex that it MUST come from a designer/space god. Well how fucking scientific is that? Couldn't I use the same argument about my microwave. Jebus must exist because I don't know how to build a shelf-mount microwave oven.

Guido said...

WANTS to answer the unknown, not WHATS to answer the unknown.

Micgar said...

Chris-I guess I never thought of Bill as smug or arrogant, although I have heard of him being described as such. I agree in totality with you-it is SO DAMN NICE to see that err...confidence being produced from "the other side"! I mean, hearing Ben Stein harp on in his nasal whine is....I can't...I just can't listen to him. I think there are lots of right wing arrogant evangelical christian assholes around. I think there's not enough Bill Mahers! Oh, and I hate it when a born againer asks about what church you attend! Some guy-heh heh-asked me
"when were you saved?" once, and I almost-almost, told him "you mean from that burning building?" But I didn't I just said, Uhh-I haven't! Shocked-he was aghast!!

Micgar said...

Oh-I'm with MNMom-I also thing about 98%+ of the world's problems are caused by religion. Think about it. Wars, poverty caused by those wars, hatred between religion, violence-(in the name of following one's religion), subjgation of women, etc etc.Sorry had to rant!

vikkitikkitavi said...

It's my dream to write for Maher. Maybe I could temper some of his annoying playboy persona with a little feminism. Bill, if you're reading this, it's SO much more attractive to women!

Madam Z said...

I like what "Guido" said: "Rationalist: a word we need to start using--not atheist or agnostic. The onus is on the space-god believer to defend his dementia, not on you to justify a rational awareness of the natural world. "

I am an atheist, through and through, but always feel that I am on the defensive when the subject comes up in a social context. If, however, I re-name myself a "Rationalist," I will have the upper hand, since anyone attacking me for my lack of religion would, by definition, be irrational!

Grace Central Missions said...

It's a schoolyard bully technique that to pick on fringe people and evicerate their belief systems. This is Maher's technique, and it's not very clever and is in fact cruel. I'd like to see him take on a serious thinker (NT Wright, Tim Keller) about their faith. Im a Christian, and belief it to be the most reasonable, rational belief system out there, including atheism, and I'm happy to discuss this with anyone on their other side who would care to discuss it via email. Who's game?