Television personality Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” says Christians and others who are religious suffer from a neurological disorder that “stops people from thinking.”
Appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” this week, Maher told host Joe Scarborough:
“We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking. I think it justifies crazies. I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder. If you look at it logically, it’s something that was drilled into your head when you were a small child. It certainly was drilled into mine at that age. And you really can’t be responsible when you are a kid for what adults put into your head.”
The former host of “Politically Incorrect” said the lack of enlightenment of so many Americans means the nation actually has more in common with its enemies than one might think.
Said Maher: “When you look at beliefs in such things as, do you go to heaven, is there a devil, we have more in common with Turkey and Iran and Syria than we do with European nations and Canada and nations that, yes, I would consider more enlightened than us.”
Maher explained that he was not singling out evangelicals, but was targeting all “religious” people.
“I think the vote in Missouri [rejecting same-sex marriage] and a lot of other states is because people are religious,” Maher said. “They don’t have to be evangelical, but they’re religious. They believe in religion, which as – I think it was Jesse Ventura who had that quote about religion is a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.”
The television host told Scarborough he was convinced evangelicals’ influence will wane.
Said Maher: “When people say to me, ‘You hate America,’ I don’t hate America. I love America. I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality. It is the 21st century. And I will tell you, my friend. The future does not belong to the evangelicals. The future does not belong to religion.”
Later in the interview, Maher returned to the childhood-religion theme, comparing fairy tales to Bible stories:
“When you were a kid and they were telling you whatever you believe in religion, do you think if they had switched the fairy tales that they read to you in bed with the Bible, you would know the difference?
“Do you think if it was the fairy tale about a man who lived inside of a whale and it was religion that Jack built a beanstalk today, you would know the difference? Why do you believe in one fairy tale and not the other? Just because adults told you it was true and they scared you into believing it, at pain of death, at pain of burning in hell.”