Bill Maher's new documentary, Religulous, is sure to polarize. Those who have a deep reverence for their god and/or those who dislike Maher's personality and his fearlessly condescending approach should stay away from this movie—it's a relentless, dead horse-beating screed against religions (all of them!) and their followers. In the words of Woody Allen, circa Bananas, "It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham."
If you love Bill Maher and belong to no religion, then step right up! Religulous, directed by Larry Charles (who helmed Borat), is very funny. Maher travels the globe to skewer the world's religions, citing them as the cause for the greatest human atrocities ever committed and the reason why this world is falling apart and may very well come to an end. He baits interviewees and then proceeds to mock them on camera (sometimes subtly, but most of the time overtly and uncomfortably so), gets thrown out of the Vatican and off Mormon Temple property in Salt Lake City, and is almost chased out of The Holy Land Experience, a frighteningly hilarious Bible-themed amusement park in Florida, where he chats it up with Jesus.
One of Maher's main premises is that the non-religious are the last great untapped minority in the United States, accounting for a whopping 16% of the U.S. population. If smaller minorities like the gays and the blacks can lobby Washington for things that they want, he asks, why can't the non-religious? (Indeed, the Glendale theater I was at was, shockingly, packed. WHAT?! And so was one in Vegas, according to a friend. WHAT?!) His sobering film is a sort of call to arms—he tells the non-religious to come out of the closet and take back their country. The survival of the United States depends on it.
By the way, Robert smartly points out that Religulous is not an atheist manifesto (Maher is actually agnostic). The movie simply pits the certainty of religious beliefs against Maher's plea to doubt. Doubt, he contends, may very well save us all:
By the way, there are a couple interesting clips of Bill Maher chatting about Sarah Palin and religion on The View here and here.