US comic's pot-shot polemic against religion

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DIRECTED BY Larry Charles


Bill Maher is a funny man with a serious point. “Religion must die,” he asserts, near the end of this freewheeling polemic, “so mankind can live.” The American comedian is onto something: all monotheistic holy texts welcome an apocalypse, and all such faiths are equipped with the technology to deliver one. Any reminders that these holy texts are essentially fairy tales are therefore to be welcomed. Or, as Maher has it, “It worries me that the people who run the country believe in a talking snake.”

Religulous isn’t all it could have been: Maher spends too much of his interactions with believers of various stripe scoring easy points off the mad and stupid. It is certainly worth reiterating that religion can legitimise insanity and excuses ignorance, but it would have been more interesting to see Maher’s breezy, witty scepticism tested against minds less incapacitated by faith.

That said, it’s always gratifying to see fatwa apologist Propa-Ghandi get slapped around, and Maher also deserves credit for an irrefutable corrective to those who deride the “arrogance” of atheists while assuming to know what God thinks: “Doubt,” Maher observes, correctly, “is humble.”