Has anybody seen my ass? I saw Bill Maher's Religulous Friday and laughed it clean off.
Something odd occurred Friday night. My wife and I saw a movie together and laughed at all the same parts. This is a woman with whom I have nothing in common except a love of Star Trek (and two kids and 30+ years of marriage). My wife came to agnosticism late in life and I've been an atheist since I was eight years old. The audience, too, was laughing with us, but the deck was stacked. We saw the film in Tulsa's small art house theater, and seventeen of us were from the local atheist and humanist meetups. We were, one might say, the ideal demographic for this movie. While this movie was an important, thought proviking piece, I doubt it will change many minds, as people who will be offended will no doubt stay away and those who do see it are just members of the choir to which Maher is preaching.
Maher conducts interviews with Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Christians, Moslems, and a handful of those practicing other religions, including one based on the smoking of pot. One might wonder how Bill Mahar got people to participate in his interviews. He stated in articles published since the film was completed that he hid the nature of his film from interviewees, hid his role in making the film, and just outright lied to people to get them to talk. Sounds like the finest in traditional American journalism to me. Maher's extensive knowledge of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Quran coupled with his in-your-face irreverency made him an ideal foil for the religious people he encountered, as he pointed out the inconsistencies and the contradictions in books considered as gospell by so many. I leared much from this film including the facts that none of the writers of the Gospells could have actually known Jesus and that the tales of Virgin Births and Resurrections for Earthly vestiges of God had been done before and quite often in other instances long before they were connected with the story of Jesus.
The pace of the movie and the frequent laughs made for quite a quick 110 minutes. Maher's serious message at the end of the film guarantees you'll be thiking about his film long after the 110 minutes has been spent. Thank you, Bill.