Religulous: The Best Christmas Movie Ever
Posted by honestpoet on December 25, 2008
I was afraid to watch it for awhile…afraid Bill Mayer would be too obnoxious, too bitchy, in that way that some atheists can be. But he presented himself as an agnostic, fully, and even showed himself with his mother and sister, after talking about his religiously mixed childhood (raised Catholic, but with a Jewish mother), an interaction that shows him in a sympathetic light and makes his skepticism seem the only logical outcome of his upbringing. It’s clear that what he wanted to present as the best approach to any claims about what happens after you die is as a skeptic. What he presents as a value is doubt rather than faith.
The movie is hilarious (I could just kiss whoever edited it, interrupting the interviews with bits of footage perfectly timed and placed), and poignant (he approaches the religious people he talks to with varying degrees of care and compassion, as merited), and maybe even a little scary if you haven’t already faced up to the mess that religious fundamentalism is leading the world into, namely nuclear confrontation between religious nutjobs.
He also gives fair play to nutty religions like scientology and cannabis worship. Of course, Mormonism gets a few good pokes.
He points out that the non-religious in this country make up a larger minority than blacks or gays, and that we really ought to make ourselves heard and demand that our leaders take our perspective into account. I think he’s right.
There’s one moment when he’s interviewing a Senator, an evangelical, who admits, laughing, while talking about Creationism, that “you don’t have to pass an IQ test to enter the Senate.” It takes him about fifteen seconds to realize that he’s just called himself (and some of his colleagues) a dumbass, and his face falls. It’s a riot.
Unless you’re a total fundamentalist, with your mind cemented shut to reason, you ought to give this film a gander.