Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Glib, dark hearted contempt"

Of all the newly prominent atheist celebrities, Bill Maher is the most insufferable because he makes no effort to understand the arguments - or contend with anyone who does. His "documentary," Religulous, apparently fits his pattern. Excerpts from Dirty Harry’s review:
There have been some fascinating debates between thoughtful believers and thoughtful atheists. I would describe a thoughtful atheist as one who responds to the theologian with his or her own theories to life’s unanswered questions, not Biblical gotcha!, or worse, that strange bitterness too many non-believers like Maher hold towards all thing religious — a bitterness that closely resembles jealousy.

But I suspect that even most atheists will have a hard time with much of Religulous. .... Not content to mock solely through selective editing, frequently a film clip or subtitle is inserted into the interview to further humiliate the subject. This is where Maher’s famously smug mean streak frequently gets the best him and undercuts what little sense of fair play there was.

Religulous isn’t only a cowardly hatchet job because of the deception used to catch its interview subjects off guard, but also because it becomes increasingly obvious that Maher simply doesn’t have the guts or enough self-confidence in his position to sit down with someone as prepared as he is (by a staff) for an honest, open debate. ....

By any objective standard Religulous is entertaining and the best left wing film since Michael Moore’s Sicko. I suspect for that reason it might turn a profit. But it’s also an empty-headed exercise, a reality show built on smug and ridicule. If those were the only tools available on which to hang my beliefs, I’d rethink my beliefs. But Maher enjoys his own cult; the cult of personality. No intellect required to join, just a glib, dark hearted contempt for everyone else. [more]
Dirty Harry’s Place… » DHP Review: Religulous

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