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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 16: Religulous

Sunday

Sept 16: Religulous

"Bill Maher's take on the current state of world religion."
Directed by: Larry Charles, Rated: R, 101 minutes

This review is going to be a quick one as I can see it kicking up a lot of dust that may not settle well with most people. Religulous is a documentary with Bill Maher that shows him going around the world and talking to people, trying to understand religion and why people believe what they believe. Why the film never straight out has Maher telling people they're wrong, he really pokes fun at a lot of what his interviewees believe and religion as an institution. However, his journey around the world brings up a lot of points and is a great little peek into the minds of believers and why some go the lengths they do. He discusses religion with tourists, believers, truckers, scientists, priests, Jews, rabbis, and even his own mother. 

He even interviews Jesus!

While I am not the most religious person, I do believe in God. My biggest complaint about religion, however, is very similar to Maher's. He discusses how nearly all of our problems in the world today have been caused by religion and that people dying, going to war, even seeking political office are all motivated by something that should be separate from those ideas. Too much of what's wrong in the world is caused by those crusading their faith and Maher simply states that if we, as a human race, want to survive, we need to give up on religion. While this sounds drastic and is damn near impossible for many people, he never thinks that we should give up faith, doing good, or even having our own relationships with God(s). When a political system is driven by religion, with each session of congress starting with a prayer and "In God We Trust" on our currency, we continue with a government our founding fathers hoped to avoid. 


As Maher continues his quest for a reason, he consistently tells those he talks to that "he just doesn't know". As he never straight out states he's an atheist, it's hinted at throughout but he never directly tells people there is no God. While a lot of his jokes are somewhat disrespectful, I don't feel they ever cross the line. A lot the people he interviews are rather "colorful" in their beliefs and not necessarily deserve the poking fun of, but remind you of the people like them that are at the root of Maher's problem with religion. Religulous is an effective documentary that's more than just an attack on religion. At its core, the movie raises plenty of questions without providing answers (obviously, no one can know), but has plenty of takeaways that leave you thinking about everything. I'd definitely recommend checking it out but go in with a more open mind than anything, because I know some people that would find it repulsive and offensive. Here's hoping we're not living in the "end of times" and that we can live on this planet another fifty years. 

The Good:
Maher presenting many points and even giving a little history lesson that, at least, entertains
The Bad:
seeing people that aren't necessarily brainwashed by religion, but go to extreme lengths to not only profit off of other people's faith, but turn it into the driving force behind a campaign
The Ugly:
wondering what the world would really be like if there was no religion and if we'd actually have less problems in the world (or more?)

Overall: 8.0/10

Trailer:

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3 Comments:

At September 16, 2012 at 9:56 PM , Blogger Dusty said...

Nice review. I really loved this film. I'm an atheist and I liked the way he approached his subject. He managed to condemn things without insulting people too badly.

If you haven't already you should check out some of the deleted scenes and extras.

 
At September 16, 2012 at 9:57 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I do own it so I definitely think I will. I think I remember watching deleted scenes but don't remember a lot being there. The other extras I never looked out.

 
At September 17, 2012 at 8:47 AM , Blogger MT said...

Have to search for this one on Netflix.

 

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