Bill Maher is a smug, arrogant, douche rag. I don't think I'm saying anything new or earth-shaking. In fact, if that's all I was gonna go on about in this post, I don't think it would be all that interesting. What interests me, is why Bill Maher is a douche rag.
If you believe in a organized religion you are insane. -Bill Maher paraphrased.
Now, if you know me (and if you are reading this right now there is an excellent chance that is the case), you know that my main beef with Mr. Maher comes from his attitude towards religion. I'll get to that a further on down but first I just want to explore the sort of climate Maher creates.
That, of course, is the climate of the ignorant, educated liberal.
Bill Maher loves to talk. I've got nothing against that, I love to talk as well. But I at least try to talk about things that I understand when I do it, especially when it comes to things as complicated as politics and religion, two of Maher's favorite topics.
But Maher never lets complexities get in the way of him championing one of his pet (usually quite left of center) causes.
Just in case you weren't aware, I'm a pretty liberal person. But there are few things that annoy me than to hear other liberal people talk out their ass about something just because they thing a republican might like it.
A great example of this was a time I was watching a presidential debate between Obama and McCain with a former roommate of mine. I said something about Sarah Palin and how she is a crazy bitch to which my roommate added something to the effect of, "Yeah, and McCain too. That guy has got it in for us."
I wasn't about to get into a fight with my roommate over John McCain, but I asked him, "What are you talking about? Because John McCain isn't a terrible guy, or a terrible statesman. In fact, I think that if he had been elected in 2000 he would have a done an alright job." My roommate's response was to simply grunt and quietly concede, which I took to mean he was just talking out of his ass in the first place. Now, I did think McCain was guilty of letting his party push him around and use him as a bit of a puppet during the 08' election. But I'd hardly say "he has it in for us".
It is these kind of no brain comments that Maher makes and encourages. Much like (total nut ball) Glen Beck he uses the extreme as an example of the center and he paints anyone on the other side of the fence from him on an issue as a radical moron. Way to encourage discussion, Bill.
Bill is more sane and (intentionally) funnier than Beck. I'll give him that.
Now as for Bill and his take on religion.
It doesn't really bother me that Maher is averse to organized religion. It does bother me is his relentless assault on organized religion despite the fact that he doesn't even make the slightest ever to understand them.
I don't like NASCAR but I'm not going to go and make a movie about how much it sucks because have the integrity to admit I don't know much about it.
To be honest, I haven't seen Maher's movie Religulous, but I have seen quite a bit of his show and everything I've ever seen with him handling his opinion on religion he only seeks out the most ignorant of extremists and tries to use them as an example of all people of that religion (usually Christianity). Like Maher actually thinks all Christians are exactly like the white baptists in one Mississippi town.
He cares so little about learning anything about these religions that once, while being interviewed by Mike Huckabee (who I am not a fan of, except for this one time), Maher was caught off balance by the clear responses Huckabee was able to produce to Maher's "stumper" questions on religion. Questions that any Christian with a decent understanding of their own religion should be able to answer.
But probably the biggest issue I have with Maher's problem with religion is that he tries to blame it for every instance of violence around the world.
Seriously Bill? It obviously is true that throughout the course of history many a person has suffered in the name of someone else's' religion. But do you honestly believe everyone would simply stop fighting and sing kumbaya if religion went away tomorrow?
It is in human nature to be violent, distrusting, and controlling. As long as there is power to be had there will be violence on this earth, whether the excuse is religion or money or convenience or anything else.
I'm not going to try to argue that many people don't practice perversions of their own religion. I'm not going to try and claim that religion isn't responsible for anything bad that every happens. But I can't condemn religion because when practiced purely it is the most good thing any person can do.
Nearly all government is broken in some way in countries throughout the world, so why don't we jut throw away government? Because we need it. Because when you do it right it is a very very good thing.
There are a lot of people out there that follow faith blindly, and don't understand their own religion. And that is said, but it is important to understand that those people are not a reason to condemn the ideology of faith. Because they are a perversion of that ideology not the realization.
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