Film Religulous strives to mock religion and religious belief. Its producer, Bill Maher, insists that religion is nothing more than the neurological disorder that people experience when they need some comfort. The central premises of his position include the following: the faith has no grounds; there is no evidence that Jesus was real, and Scriptures tell the truth. When people believe in things that have no grounds, it is as if they are losing their minds. They behave irrationally; that is why faith is a neurological disorder. There are no ambiguities in Maher’s argumentation; nevertheless, the author is prejudiced. For instance, when taking interview with Dr. Robinson who says that Bible mentions real eyewitnesses, Maher does not want to listen to him. Maher’s argumentation contains the logical fallacy of begging the claim. For instance, he lays the claims that “religion must die for mankind to live” and “religion is detrimental to the progress of humanity” (Maher & Charles, 2008). These statements have no proofs and need further research for the sake of verification. Religion has both positive and negative sides, so the author cannot treat it as an absolute evil. The Maher’s argument contains a hidden assumption that people of faith are shortsighted and have low IQ scores. It put the author into the beneficial position as atheists appear to be cleverer than the believers are. The author deliberately skips the other side of the coin. While supporting the Christ Myth theory, he never mentions the arguments of the scholars who support historical Jesus. He does not mention a list of sources that confirm the historicity of Christ. The words of Maher that “faith means making a virtue out of not thinking” (2008) are controversial and offensive. Faith does not deprive people of the ability and desire to think. Not all people are irrational in their faith. Religious people may take it as an offence. Meanwhile, one part of the Maher’s argumentation looks especially convincing. When he draw the analogies between Jesus Christ and other religions, it is hard not to believe that there is some correlation between them.
As for me, I do not perceive the overall Maher’s point as persuasive. He seems to be prejudiced and smiles skeptically every time he speaks to those who believe. Since he calls his film a documentary, he should behave as a scholar. However, he is prejudiced and subjective in his argumentation. He is closed to the opinions that are different from his own. Bill Maher’s approach is easy to understand. To my mind, there is one main difference between those who believe in God and those who do not. The former treat the Bible as the data, and the latter do not. Therefore, the questions of historicity of the Bible and Jesus Christ are still not answered. When a person does not consider the Bible to be a historical book with data and eyewitnesses, he or she will reject every single argument of the Christian. However, Bill Maher is right about two things. He sheds more light on the problem of blind faith. Christians should review their opinions on the things present in Christianity and absent in the Bible. It does not mean that people should doubt the teaching of their Church; it means that their faith should not be blind. Another good point of Maher is about perverse interpretations of the Bible. As the Bible is open to different interpretations, different people may explain it for their own benefit. Thus, people can justify being rich or homosexual even when the Bible is against it. In order not to do it, Christians should be conscious and smart in their faith.
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