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Author Topic: Religulous  (Read 17469 times)

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Thad

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Religulous
« on: October 10, 2008, 09:14:49 AM »

I think Bill Maher would appreciate the irony in saying that Religulous preaches to the choir.  It's a funny movie, and has some good things to say, but the people who need to see it are the people who will refuse to see it.  (Or will walk out halfway through.  The guy at my comic shop said a group of Mormons left in the middle when he saw it, and he nearly stood up and applauded.)

It's all a little cursory.  My favorite bit is where he talks to a neurosurgeon; I wish they'd gone into more detail about what goes on in the brain when people are praying.

I also quite liked the bit about the Jesus story predating Christ by a thousand years or more.

My angle on religion, and something I'd have liked to see explored further, is that these stories and myths have value, but shit goes south in a hurry when people take them literally.  You all know I love superhero comics, and I've often pointed out that they're a modern heroic mythology -- there are a lot of perfectly good morality tales in Batman (a friend of mine has said that TAS helped shape his worldview when he was a kid), but YOU DON'T LITERALLY DRESS LIKE A BAT AND METE OUT VIGILANTE JUSTICE.
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TA

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2008, 09:30:57 AM »

Kal-El died for your sins, Thad.
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Cannon

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2008, 10:33:15 AM »

Also, heaven exploded and God was powerless to stop it. Some Messiah Moses turned out to be.

I have every intent of seeing Religulous (maybe today, and perhaps with a double feature of An American Carol), and I'm a Christian that fancies himself reasonably well-informed. Naturally, I disagree with Thad on various related issues, but such a discussion doesn't quite belong here (maybe in its own thread, or just in an older one). I anticipate it to be the Second Coming of Brian Flemming, but I'll be damned if I'm going to critique a flick I haven't even seen.

Christ answered his critics directly, and didn't shy away from them (part of that was the nature of the times and culture, but still). So yeah, people who walk out or refuse to see the flick are missing one of his many points, I believe.
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Catloaf

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2008, 11:01:46 AM »

People who enact violence (or any act of hatred really) in any major religion's name are missing many if not most important points, I believe.
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clutch

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 11:14:21 AM »

I caught Religulous on its opening weekend and just loved it. I've long thought that Bill Maher was too authoritarian a figure to head a show like Real Time, which because of his aggressive style of debate, comes off as little more than propaganda for his worldview, a sort of left-wing O'Reilly Factor, but in Religulous he tackles people that are just as convinced of their own rightness as he is, and it seems a fairer fight. To make it fair, however, required Maher to be pushier than I've ever seen him before, so much that it came as a surprise that there was only the one vague threat of violence toward him in the movie.

The more I think about his closing monologue, the more I disagree with Thad that this movie was intended to dissuade the religious. It seems to me that Maher was more trying to rally those already on his side (or leaning that way) to be less forgiving of religious zealotry and not to tolerate ignorance justified by religious faith. Considering the conversations and debates I've had since I left the theater, I think that the movie was successful in that regard.
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Cannon

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 11:29:55 AM »

People who enact violence (or any act of hatred really) in any major religion's name are missing many if not most important points, I believe.

Wrong thread to infer that I was talking about violence in relation to religiously-themed open debate, Catloaf. I'm shutting up before there's a topic split.
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Kashan

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2008, 12:36:33 PM »

My priest liked it, he's talking about getting the community together to see it.  :wat:
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Classic

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2008, 01:35:08 PM »

Your priest is bad at his job, huh?


EDIT: I've just been informed that I'm the only one who had to deal with (exclusively) insane priests during his childhood. Not touchy type priests. Just nuts priests.
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Brentai

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2008, 01:44:03 PM »

What about touchy-nuts type priests?
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Detonator

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2008, 03:23:02 PM »

I'm shutting up before there's a topic split.

:happy: Ha ha!  Keep talking!

I split this into Real World so it can bleed into a debate about the issues surrounding the movie as well.  I don't think that's entirely off topic, and it won't stop people about talking about the film itself.  We'll see how it works out.
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Re: Religulous
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2008, 03:27:33 PM »

Back in Texas, the priest of the church I went to was a 100% Grade-A Awesome dude. The guy would frequently bust his ass making sure that someone who needed help was getting help. On more than one occasion when a parent was running late he'd offer to watch the kids or see if one of the other adults there would watch them. He wasn't the touchy kind of priest, he was just awesome.

One morning he woke up and found a huge 60 inch flatpanel TV on his doorstep, with a note from community thanking him for all his hard work.

Yeah, I miss him.
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Thad

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2008, 03:37:53 PM »

The more I think about his closing monologue, the more I disagree with Thad that this movie was intended to dissuade the religious.

Maybe not directly, but I would certainly say that the point is SOMEONE needs to start dissuading them.

It seems to me that Maher was more trying to rally those already on his side (or leaning that way) to be less forgiving of religious zealotry and not to tolerate ignorance justified by religious faith. Considering the conversations and debates I've had since I left the theater, I think that the movie was successful in that regard.

That's a pretty sweeping social goal for a simple 100-minute movie -- though Maher's less of a dick about it than, say, Dawkins (who I like) or Hitchens (who I don't).  But I certainly agree that it's an important one: we need to get atheists, nontheists, agnostics, humanists -- whatever label you want -- together and organized and push for the government to start recognizing the establishment clause.  We also need to pick our fights -- trying to get "under God" taken out of the pledge, for example, was a monumental fucking waste of time that just made us all look bad.

Of course, we have allies in moderates, people who are religious but acknowledge that the country shouldn't be governed on superstition but on science.  I'm thinking, for example, of the priests he spoke to at the Vatican (though of course they're presumably not involved in American politics).  There are a hell of a lot of people like that out there, and we need to recognize them as our allies.  I think the bottom line, if we want to improve our standing in society, is not to be a bunch of smug assholes about our views.  Maher hit the nail on the head when he talked about doubt and uncertainty as humble traits and described certainty as something scary.

EDIT: Note to splitter: good idea, but don't do that while I'm posting.
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Büge

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 04:52:42 PM »

we need to get atheists, nontheists, agnostics, humanists -- whatever label you want -- together and organized and push for the government to start recognizing the establishment clause. 

D'you mean the one that permits freedom of religion, Thad? Because I'm pretty sure that doesn't cover being atheist and would be counterproductive to do so. Can't prove a negative, etc.

If not, could you elaborate on the clause you're referring to?
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Royal☭

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2008, 05:09:08 PM »

Quote from: Constitution, First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion....

Those are the first lines of the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, Buge.

That doesn't just expressly permit freedom of religion, it implies freedom from religion.  Also, since when is being an atheist covered under freedom of religion?  It's basically a freedom to believe and think how you choose, not the freedom to pick a god and worship it.

TA

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 05:20:40 PM »

And more significantly, it's prohibiting governmental recognition of religion or religious organizations as special or different, under the law, for the sole reason of being religious.
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sei

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2008, 05:22:34 PM »

I'm kind of surprised we haven't seen "The Church of [corporation name]" for tax breaks yet, frankly.

(no, scientology is not quite a corporation)
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Royal☭

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2008, 05:22:50 PM »

Which means that tax breaks for religious organizations are unconstitutional, but nobody has the balls to stand up on the political forum and say such a thing.


Also, I encourage all of you to join the Church of Constantine.  We have meetings on Saturdays, drink beer and drive a boat around the lake, and clothing is optional.  This means you, ladies.

TA

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2008, 06:17:32 PM »

Hey, a tax break for a religious organization that's registered as a nonprofit and meets all of the qualifications, and doesn't violate their 501(c)(3) status, is totally kosher.
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LaserBeing

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2008, 10:32:11 PM »

I would love it if everyone stopped being religious, but unfortunately the reasons I have a distaste for organised religion are the same reasons I don't feel good about trying to foist my atheism on other folks, regardless of how idiotic I think their stupid backwards beliefs are. Namely, it's none of my fucking business.

I don't give a shit if someone wants to believe in an invisible wizard who lives in the sky and watches you masturbate. Just keep your craziness away from me and I won't tell you about how life is meaningless dust in an endless howling void that will eventually decay into abject nothingness.
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Friday

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Re: Religulous
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2008, 10:37:00 PM »

Quote
I think the bottom line, if we want to improve our standing in society, is not to be a bunch of smug assholes about our views.

Hey, that's odd, this quote can be applied to anything
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