[ExI] What's wrong with Maher's Religulous?

Fred C. Moulton moulton at moulton.com
Thu Apr 9 20:11:06 UTC 2009

On Thu, 2009-04-09 at 13:52 -0500, Max More wrote:
> I had been wondering whether to rent Religulous, having read some 
> things that made me doubt it would be worthwhile. This review 
> confirmed those doubts:
> http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/earticle/6447/
> Any comments from those who have watched it?

I saw the movie in a theater.  There are parts of the movie that are
very funny and some that are not.  Some of the funniest parts are not
when Bill Maher is making a joke but rather when Bill Maher lets people
just be themselves.  The scene in the office of the member of the US
Congress is very funny and that scene alone was worth the price of
admission to the theater.

My recommendation is rent the movie and enjoy the funny parts; ignore
the other parts.  Just adjust expectations according; it is not a great
movie, it is just an occasionally funny movie.  By the way the movie
"Letting Go of God" by Julia Sweeney is much, much funnier and much more
insightful.  Bill Maher is doing one thing and Julia Sweeney is doing a
different thing.  I enjoyed the Julia Sweeney movie more.

As for the review by Brendan O'Neill.  I was rather disappointed.  It is
not much of a review rather it is an article in which the O'Neill goes
on about what he terms "new Atheists" and there are a few remarks thrown
in about the movie.  And the remarks about the movie seems to have
missed the point.  O'Neill seems to be at best only vaguely aware of
what Bill Maher was trying to do.  O'Neill goes on about the "new
Atheists" (usually considered as Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens and
sometimes Stenger) yet only quotes Hitchens.  And O'Neill goes on about
how the humancentricity of religion and claims that this is what
Dawkins, Dennett et al really hate about religion.  Well to put it
bluntly O'Neill does not know what he is talking about when it comes to
religion.  As for "new Atheists" one wonders if he has ever read Dawkins
or Harris since he clearly does not understand them.

My suggestion: Skip the review and see "Letting Go of God" and if that
is not available see "Religulous".  Just have the correct expectations.


> Max
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