I usually don’t find her funny, but this was amusing.
Bill Maher is preaching to the choir with â€œReligulous,â€ a documentary that dissects organized religion, but heâ€™s doing it in his laceratingly funny, typically sardonic way.
The comic has touched on this topic often in his standup act and on his HBO talk show â€œReal Time With Bill Maher,â€ but here he uses his formidable debating skills to go on a full, focused attack. Pretty much no one emerges unscathed (except those who practice Eastern religions, for some reason).
Although Maherâ€™s mother was Jewish, he was raised in the Catholicism of his fatherâ€™s side of the family; now he calls himself a rationalist, and thinks the idea that we all came from a garden with a talking snake is a fairy tale for overgrown children and crazies.
If youâ€™re an atheist or an agnostic, youâ€™ll be completely on board and happy to tag along with Maher as he travels the globe asking people about their faith â€” everywhere from Jerusalem to the Vatican to Amsterdam, where he finds not only the Cannabis Ministry but also a Muslim gay bar (with two people in it). At a makeshift truckersâ€™ chapel in Raleigh, N.C., the drivers put their hands on his shoulders and pray in a circle that heâ€™ll find the Lord (good luck with all that); at the shlocky Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando, Fla., Maher interviews the actor playing Jesus, a hippie who wears a headset microphone to perform on stage.
If youâ€™re a true believer, though, youâ€™ll probably be offended â€” and some of his subjects become visibly agitated with him on camera. Maher is surely smart enough to realize that his movie will convert no one, but he seems to get off on the thrill of the challenge nonetheless.
â€œReligulousâ€ comes from director Larry Charles, who teamed up with Sacha Baron Cohen for â€œBorat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,â€ and it has a structure reminiscent of that 2006 comedy as well as similarly uproarious laughs. The ones on the receiving end of Maherâ€™s Socratic-style questioning are often humorless â€” they donâ€™t get that heâ€™s toying with them â€” which makes the results even more absurdly amusing. The more Maher probes, the more hypocrisies he exposes.
Â DAYTON, TNâ€”A steady stream of devoted evolutionists continued to gather in this small Tennessee town today to witness what many believe is an image of Charles Darwinâ€”author of The Origin Of Species and founder of the modern evolutionary movementâ€”made manifest on a concrete wall in downtown Dayton.Â
“I brought my baby to touch the wall, so that the power of Darwin can purify her genetic makeup of undesirable inherited traits,” said Darlene Freiberg, one among a growing crowd assembled here to see the mysterious stain, which appeared last Monday on one side of the Rhea County Courthouse. The building was also the location of the famed “Scopes Monkey Trial” and is widely considered one of Darwinism’s holiest sites. “Forgive me, O Charles, for ever doubting your Divine Evolution. After seeing this miracle of limestone pigmentation with my own eyes, my faith in empirical reasoning will never again be tested.”
Added Freiberg, “Behold the power and glory of the scientific method!”
Since witnesses first reported the unexplained markingâ€”which appears to resemble a 19th-century male figure with a high forehead and large beardâ€”this normally quiet town has become a hotbed of biological zealotry. Thousands of pilgrims from as far away as Berkeley’s paleoanthropology department have flocked to the site to lay wreaths of flowers, light devotional candles, read aloud from Darwin’s works, and otherwise pay homage to the mysterious blue-green stain.