Note: This article was originally published in Technician on October 7, 2008.
Religulous dares to laugh at the sacred
If there’s one topic it’s often not okay to question and joke about, it’s religion. Evidently Bill Maher didn’t get the memo. The talk show host is the writer and star of Religulous, a documentary that follows him on his quest to “ask questions” and preach the gospel of “I don’t know.” It’s a film that even the devoutly religious should be able to enjoy, if only for the sheer amount of laughs, though it’s lacking as a serious examination of the issue of faith.
Maher, raised Catholic, spends most of the film poking fun of Christianity and Islam, with a few smaller religions like Scientology and Mormonism thrown in for good measure. His journey takes him everywhere from a Truckers Chapel here in Raleigh to the Vatican itself.
The film shines when raising questions. Why don’t Christians accept evolution? Are we really a “Christian” nation? Is Islam a religion of peace or war? Is it right to be certain about the end of the world and the afterlife? Doesn’t much of Christianity contradict the teachings of Jesus?