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Evaluating Bill Maher’s ‘Religulous’
Is the satirist's new documentary on religion illuminating, or myopic?
 

Not only is Bill Maher’s new documentary on organized religion “irreligious,” said Harry Forbes in the Catholic News Service, it’s also “sometimes blasphemous.” Watching Religulous, “one can only be amazed at the obtuseness with which Maher blames human misery on people of faith,” while “ignoring all the good done by religious people and institutions.” And Maher “seeks out a parade of extremists who make all-too-easy targets.”

If you pay close attention to this movie, said Brad Brevet in Rope of Silicon, you realize that “Maher isn't against the positive effect religion has on people and the way it can be used to instill confidence or promote peace,” he’s against it being used “negatively” to “corrupt” or manipulate people. And in that sense, Religulous is somewhat of an “eye-opener.”

Not really, said J. Hoberman in the Village Voice. Religulous “doesn't really go anywhere,” and it’s “ultimately a celebration of the old-time religion we call entertainment.” And although the movie is “initially quite funny in its head-on engagement with star-spangled, self-righteous platitudes,” Maher is too “pleased to play devil’s advocate,” or rather, “celebrity Antichrist.”

 

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