Having an atheistic background I was naturally attracted by this poster – to see it in the middle of still catholic Vienna was a bit of a surprise. The poster was inspiring enough to visit cinema (which is a rare thing for me!).
Did I like it? Let me give you the detalis first and then I will deliver my opinion.
What is the film about?
The documentary RELIGULOUS is a film about organized religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, TV evangelism and even Scientology, with detours into pagan cults and ancient Egypt. Bill Maher, host, writer and debater, believes they are all crazy. He doesn’t get around to Hinduism or Buddhism, but he probably doesn’t approve of them, either. He wants to convince his audience that religion is not only ridiculous, it’s downright dangerous.
How does Maher do that?
Typically anyone trying to make a case against God goes right to the pedophile priests and the suicide bombers, but Maher makes it a point to focus on normal, reasonably sane religious people. He talks to truckers in a roadside chapel, he chats with random, middle-class tourists at a Christian-themed amusement park. He talks to religious shop owners, small town preachers, televanglists, Jews for Jesus, fundamentalist U.S. Senators, Vatican priests, religious scientists, secular Muslims, gay Muslims, people in America (Utah), Europe, and even in Jerusalem. Though those fumbling for an excuse to discredit him may claim otherwise, these aren’t extremists or lunatics. These are for the most part sane, rational, even intelligent people who believe something which Maher believes is insane.
To the film’s credit, Maher never engages in Michael Moore-style gotcha tactics, but rather asks questions that raise more questions, in the form of a Socratic dialogue.
Smart, hilarious and thoroughly entertaining. Although rather a hard-core at some points.
All in all, the film is often funny, frequently unfair, mostly simplistic, at times offensively unethical and ultimately limited. I found stunning Maher’s visit of the Holy Land Experience in Florida, a theme park where you can watch Christ being nailed up three times a day(!) – a kind of a Christian Disneyland. (more…)