**Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn't seen Religilous yet.**
French philosopher Rene Descartes once said, "I think therefore I am." What we learn from this quote and other philosophers is that we can't exist without the mind. We need the mind for feeling, learning, thinking and more importantly doubting. Now I separate thinking and doubting because some people can think, but they cannot doubt. For example, take the subject of religion. Its filed under the "Don't ask, don't tell" section, along with Sex and Politics. We've come to enjoy the jokes of Sex and Politics, sometimes combined(Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Bill Clinton, etc.) But people still cannot embrace the occasional quip or question about religion. Why? Why is it so difficult to question belief? The recent film Religilous, which features comedian Bill Maher, takes the agnostic approach to the major faiths and asks the questions most true believers fail to ever ask.
The film takes you on a Questioning-of-Faith Journey to various states in the U.S., Netherlands, Israel, Puerto Rico, Italy and London. The first interview Maher conducts is in Raleigh, NC at a Trucker's Christian Chapel. Maher asks only one question and one trucker decides to walk out. The rest stay and answer as honestly and wholeheartedly as they could. Some other interviews were with the Jesus at Prophet Land, which is a religious amusement park in Orlando, FLA. Preacher Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda of Puerto Rico, who claims to be the second coming of Jesus, does not realize the silliness he is spewing from his lips (watch and you will hear). Another was also with an Anti-Zionist Jew. But my favorite was with a Senior Priest at the Vatican in Rome. Maher was able to get this priest on camera to say honestly that religion is "silly."
I'm not an atheist. I never ever claimed to be. I was born and raised Jewish, but as I read more and more, I embrace doubt. America was founded on the basis of religious freedom, and people have the right to believe in whatever they want, even in aliens and magic underwear (to an extent, when it comes to murder, rape or incest a line should be drawn). Why is it that with all the charity, peace and good will religion preaches, why is there war carried out based on these beliefs?
Somethings I felt the movie failed to mention is the Scientology boom on Hollywood Blvd. For a long time, no one really knew of this religion and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard (Battlefield Earth is pretty bad). Some other facts it might have also wanted to mention are the amounts of rape/incest incidents among Mormon families, or the kidnapping of young girls once they turn 11. However, I know there were some time constraints and Maher did not cover every single religion. If he did the movie would have been two and half or three hours instead of two.
With the facts and topics discussed, Maher did an overall excellent job. Religilous is directed by Larry Charles (Borat). Whether you are a believer or not, go see this movie. It will open your eyes and mind. Do not be afraid to question the unknown, since that is all that it is.
By Lori who was watching the finale of TRL and will blog about that tomorrow.