“Religulous,” comedian Bill Maher’s new movie attacking Christianity and religion, is full of lies, half-truths, false assumptions, logical contradictions and fallacies, distortions, intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, arrogance, ignorance and hypocrisy. Opening Oct. 3, the movie is a pathetic propaganda piece that will warp the hearts and minds of the gullible and the ignorant. It is also very poorly researched and argued.
Maher’s diatribe starts out innocently enough.
First, he tells the viewer how he was raised a Roman Catholic, even though his mother is Jewish. He makes a couple light jokes about this religious upbringing. For instance, he jokes that, because of his mother’s Jewish background, he brought a lawyer into the confession booth with him. Then, Mr. Maher visits a small trucker chapel and starts questioning the pastor and a small group of men about their Christian faith. Though one man angrily stalks out, the others do a good job of answering most of Maher’s questions, then pray to God with him that God will answer all his questions. After the prayer, Maher thanks them for being “Christ-like” instead of acting like “Christians,” as if the two words are inherently antonyms.
The rest of the documentary is filled with lots of vitriol and ridicule, even during its lighter moments.
Included are ambush confrontations with many Christians and a few Jews and Muslims, as well as two ex-Mormons. (See the Los Angeles Times’ “The Big Picture,” Aug. 7, 2008, by Patrick Goldstein, for solid proof of Maher’s clearly unethical ambush interview tactics.)
At the end, Maher launches into a diatribe comparing all religious leaders and believers, including President Bush, to evil and ignorant Muslim terrorists. After making that overbroad generalization, Maher angrily denounces people of faith for being too certain and too judgmental. He then tells them that it is actually more “humble” to acknowledge doubts and belief in God and religion, like he does.
Let’s deal with some of the movie’s outright falsehoods.
Although Maher has never studied under a real biblical scholar as far as we know, he contends during the movie that the Bible never teaches original sin and that Jesus Christ never promised his followers clothes, shelter and food. Both of these assertions are false. In Genesis 8:21, God himself says that the heart of man is evil from his youth. This doctrine is repeated in Psalm 14:1-3 and in Romans 3:9-18. Finally, in Matthew 6:28-34, Jesus tells his followers that God will give them basic food, clothes and shelter if they “seek first the Kingdom of God and His moral righteousness.”
Maher also lies when he says that the virgin birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are just legends that Christians borrowed from earlier pagan religions. This belief, which is often fomented by many atheists and agnostics like Maher and the late Joseph Campbell, has been refuted by many scholars, including J. Gresham Machen, Ron Nash and Walter Burkert. Two new examples Maher cites, the Egyptian god Horus and the Hindu god Krishna, can be refuted easily by reading the basic Hindu and Egyptian stories about them.
These falsehoods from Bill Maher are horrible enough. What’s perhaps even more horrible is that Maher gets some help in spreading lies from Father George Coyne, director emeritus of the Vatican Observatory. At one point in the movie, Coyne tells Maher that some of the documents in the New Testament were written 200 years after Jesus Christ’s death.
As recent books like Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” have proven, the preponderance of evidence has long indicated that all the book of the New Testament were written within 70 years of Christ’s death and resurrection, and probably even earlier than that, by A.D. 70.
It is telling that none of the Christians Maher talks to in “Religulous,” not even Father Coyne, actually makes their living as professional biblical scholars or history scholars, much less as professional Christian debaters. Thus, all the alleged evidence that Maher summons against Christianity and religious faith in his movie is about as empirically and logically one-sided and invalid as you can possible get!
Surprisingly, Bill Maher morally equates all religious believers and President Bush’s wartime policies with Muslim terrorists and their evil supporters. This charge is not only ridiculous; it is morally reprehensible and anti-American.
Finally, Maher ridicules Christians and believers in other religions as being narrow-minded, judgmental, arrogant, irrational, full of stubborn certainty and hypocritical.
Of course, at the same time Maher accuses his opponents of these nasty things, he is doing the same things he just accused them of doing. Maher’s tirade is not only logically self-contradictory and, hence, irrational; it is also hypocritical. Instead of pointing fingers at religious people, especially Christians, Maher needs to look at himself in the mirror!
We encourage readers to take this information we provide, and the information in our full review of “Religulous” at movieguide.org on Oct. 3, and help spread the truth about this pathetic propaganda piece.
Bill Maher’s rantings are not worthy of anyone’s time. They are dangerous, however, because they fool many gullible people who lack basic information.
When it comes to the Bible and Christianity, the national “news” media has failed the American people. Because of laziness, it, too, has been fooled by the false accusations against Christianity and the Bible by people like Bill Maher and the incompetent, deceitful leaders of The Jesus Seminar. These anti-Christian bigots cannot stand up to the Truth, especially when faced by real scholars and real theologians armed with real knowledge and rational arguments.
As Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart there is no God.”
Note: For a bibliography of the evidence supporting the reliability of the Bible and the truth of Christianity, please contact us at 1-800-577-6684, or see our full review at www.movieguide.org on Oct. 3.
Dr. Ted Baehr is chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission®, which publishes Movieguide®, and Dr. Tom Snyder is editor of Movieguide®. Baehr has a law degree from New York University School of Law. Snyder a B.A. in political science from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.