May 30, 2021
Rational-minded people, rise up! Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher’s RELIGULOUS is a documentary about how religion is “detrimental to the progress of humanity”. In a series of on-location interviews, Maher sets up false pretenses in order to interact with a variety of religious people who assume good faith, only to get “gotcha’d” by Maher’s noxiously smug tone. It’s troubling that while Maher sets up interviews with certified hypocrites - prosperity gospel preachers, ex-gays, and holocaust deniers - he’s so self-centered that he never allows time for any of his easy critiques to land effectively, making his guests’ sometimes reprehensible views seem tame in comparison. It’s the lower-class and sometimes marginalized civilians Maher encounters in his journey that actually get the most of his aggression, and the final act of the movie is genuine anti-Muslim propaganda, stopping just short of advocating genocide. RELIGILOUS proves that the religion of liberal atheism can be just as judgmental and dogmatic as any doomsday cult.
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