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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Religulous


"Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don't have all the answers to think that they do." - Bill Maher, Religulous


Regular readers will notice that I try to avoid topics on this blog which I think people cannot discuss rationally and intelligently:  politics being the main one.  Thus, I'm certainly not about to embark on a debate about the merits of religion, but I will heartily recommend Bill Maher's documentary "Religulous," which I just watched, and enjoyed immensely.



I'm a Bill Maher Agnostic - I don't watch his show, like him or dislike him, but I think "Religulous" is worth watching for anyone interested in religion - both devout worshipers and agnostics/atheists.

Readers wishing to dig deeper into the subject might also enjoy Christopher Hitchens' book "God is Not Great."



-KD

note:  I am a member of Amazon.com's affiliate program.  If you click on my links to Amazon.com products, and buy them, or anything else, through Amazon, I get a tiny little commission.  You pay the same price - it's just a sort of referral fee from Amazon.  Since Kid Dynamite's World is a no-shameless-whoring-zone, I can only promise my readers that I will only recommend products which I myself actually endorse.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

paid 5.41 + tax, enjoy your commission!

Daniel said...

Follow with The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

Anonymous said...

Ignoring the message/conclusions reached in the movie, is it just me or is Bill M. a bit of a prick?

There's quite a bit of "I speak louder than you, and cut you off before you can complete your point...so I MUST be right" going on....

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/religulous/

Kid Dynamite said...

anon - i think Maher's point was to interrupt to point out what he thought were errors before his subjects got too far into their replies without thinking about them.

Anonymous said...

I've read one of Dawkins' books, and seen some of these interviews that Maher and Hitchens do and the method is usually to trot out some straw man arguement, or ill-informed or bigoted representative of Christianity, and then bash it/them to pieces. Forming your opinion of Christianity on this would be the same as forming your opinion of the Democrats by listening to Rush Limbaugh.

Kid Dynamite said...

did you watch Religulous, anon @ 8:53am? i think Maher's questions were pretty simple...

but if you did watch Religulous, let's just leave it there. i refuse to debate religion - especially in the comment threads.

Anonymous said...

I watched a bit just now Kid. Do you think Maher's intent was to find the best expositors of religion to see if his questions could be answered? Or was it to find fellas at the Raleigh Trucker's Chapel to ridicule? I agree on-line religious debates are fruitless, but before writing God off as a thoughtful person you owe it to yourself to base your conclusion on something better than what was presented in Religulous.

Kid Dynamite said...

anon - stop defending yourself and your religion. i'm not attacking you. watch the whole movie. notice that it's not just about "Christianity."

point taken - i would love to watch Maher debate religious "Scholars." the best part of the movie is when he talks to a senior Vatican priest, closer to the end.

Kid Dynamite said...

ps anon - you'll be happy to know that Religulous was directed by the same guy who produced BORAT (larry charles)... to your point

Anonymous said...

The interview with the priest was a good part. In the end though, having watched it all, it reminds me of the verse "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?".

Transor Z said...

Or follow with the South Park episodes devoted to taking down some religions.

Rented Religulous last year. Agreed that the priest interview is the best part. Maher can be obnoxious but I gave him a pass because I think he genuinely deeply cares about this subject. That and parts of it were just hilarious.

Here's Daniel Dennett's TED talk on "Dangerous Memes."

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_dangerous_memes.html

Caveat Bettor said...

I'd agree with Maher that religious people in particular (and people in general) tend to be rather hypocritical, irrational, superstitious, and fallacious. But there are other churches. Arnold Kling talks about the Church of Big Government. And recently (on a religious blog), I read about the limits of Parascience:

Robinson takes on contemporary atheists who dismiss religion in the name of science. She's not thinking here of the "good atheist": introspective, his own mind a means of understanding the human mind, his rejection of religion born of exploration of the archives of all that humankind has thought and done. Rather, this is the atheist who would have science answer. But this trump card is actually what Robinson calls parascience, with "a protective coloration that allows it to pass for science," holding forth with "facile generalizations" in "remarkably reiterative literature." The "highly questionable data" it dubs as science becomes dogma and then quickly a simple and final model of reality. Descartes proposed the pineal gland as the seat of the soul, but now we know the moral sense is situated in the prefrontal cortex. Parascience causes a "diminution of people and the diminution seems to be the project." There is no aspect of being that metaphysics can meaningfully address, so the story goes—which as Robinson notes, is its own metaphysical contention.*

I've learned, on a long road to +3 Sharpe/Info ratio, that humility usually serves the best long term success. And wherever the empirical ends (and it's a short runway, when we still have basic problems explaining mass, light, and gravity), there's got to be 'conjecture', 'theory', 'hypothesis'. Another term would be 'faith'.

*http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2010/june/absenceofmind.html?paging=off