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Archive for the ‘Bill Maher’ Category

So, I was out of town for the weekend and just got around to watching Real Time with Bill Maher from Friday, May 14.

I was interested to see what S.E. Cupp had to say since there seemed to be a bit of a buzz about her book and the fact that she was a guest.

My verdict?  S.E. Cupp is an idiot.  She may be earnest and have the strength of her convictions, but she’s an idiot.

The first alarm bell went off when she talked about Joy Behar saying that teaching creationism is child abuse.  Ms. Cupp goes on to say that this is ridiculous, creationism taught as an allegory* is not child abuse, completely disregarding the fact that those who wish to see creationism taught in school are not teaching it as an allegory, they are trying to teach it as a “factual” alternative to evolution, or Darwinism.  This, in my mind is nearing child abuse, it is teaching, with authority, something that is not factually true, and in fact cannot be studied, proven, or disproved.  If the schools in my area (which I pay about 1/3 of my taxes to) were to teach this garbage, you bet I would be vocal about it.

There is also the pesky little problem of creationism being only one viewpoint – the Christian one.  Once again, I would be first in line saying they need to also teach how the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe and touched us with his noodly appendage.

Ms. Cupp’s second attempt at defending her argument was saying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was basically about land rights.

Ok, I’ll give you that, but she is ignoring the fact that religion is often used as justification for the escalation of violence.  This violence often starts with one faction trying to make a “land grab” in the name of religion.  Or in the case of the middle east, believing that the Jews were rightfully thrown out of the holy land, or that nobody can claim it until they are pious enough to deserve it.

It seems as though she already has a conclusion and she is trying to massage facts to back it up, instead of amassing and analyzing data, and then coming to a conclusion.

Personally, I think she’s using the controversial fact that she’s an atheist defending Christianity to sell a load of horseshit.

*allegory (from Merriam-Webster): the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also : an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression

Creationism isn’t the truth.  Creationism is a fictional story to try to explain the truth.

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It never really occurred to me when I started having doubts that there is a sort of process I am going through towards being fully “out” as an atheist.  Other than my spouse, only one other family member I think really knows where I stand on the whole belief thing.  That in and of itself is a bit of a relief.  As for my parents, I think my mom knows but we don’t discuss it, and I don’t know about my dad.

What I’ve found to be one of the toughest areas is on places like Facebook.  Part of the difficulty is that I went to a catholic high school.  This has resulted in my fellow alumni running the gamut from tree-hugging godless liberals to conservative christian right wing tools (at least in my opinion).  In my info, I played it safe and put in ‘Humanist’ in the religion area.  It’s heartening to see that the people who I feel are the most sane are the ones who tend to be the least religious, and a lot of my former classmates will take on and challenge those who seem to argue from religion first, and facts second.  Over time, I’m slowly letting my feelings be known.  I became a fan of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Bill Maher, & Richard Dawkins.  We have a 20 year reunion coming up and I’d like to be confident in who I am and who I believe, should conversation steer that direction at all.

The whole process is helping me approach a point in the future where I can answer personal questions about church, god, and faith with an unequivocal answer.  Currently, I tend to waffle a bit due to fear of how my answer will be received.  One of the best interactions I’ve had recently is with one of my cousins.  I am her teenaged son’s godmother.  Her young daughter asked me if I believe in god and I told her I’m not sure.  My cousin asked if I was uncomfortable or offended that I had been asked to be a godparent.  I was pleasantly surprised that it really wound up being a non-issue, and she was more concerned about how I felt than the fact that her son has a godmother that most likely doesn’t believe in a god.

I’m hoping to be a little more active on the blog, as well as commenting on other godless blogs.  I have yet to pop my Pharyngula commenting cherry, but it’s my self-preservation instinct kicking in.  It feels a bit like diving into a shark tank wearing nothing but a shark-bait bikini.

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Fringe Groups

Reading an older review of Religulous today, the reviewer said that Maher purposely picked those wingnuts on the fringes of their respective religions to interview in order to stack the deck in his favor.

As possible (and certainly probable) as that is, I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate.  When most religions nowadays are characterized by their respective wingnuts, I think we need to pay attention.  When one person, especially one person that holds a place of power in their respective place of worship, thinks a certain way, you can be certain that there are many others that agree with them.  That would put them not so much on the fringes of their religion, but smack dab in the middle of it.  And really, who better to talk to than the “man on the street” to get a feel for what is going on with religion today.

Granted, the places Maher went to talk to people (hello Holy Land Theme Park) are going to attract a certain element of people to them, so in that regards, the deck is stacked.  But isn’t it stacked by matter of fact if you really think critically and skeptically about religion in general?

Completely off topic, but why do I have nightmares of “A Handmaid’s Tale” whenever I think of McCain and his odious air quotes when talking about women’s rights in regards to reproductive health?  Is it maybe because he basically said that the government of each state should decide whether or not a woman should prevent or terminate a pregnancy?  The last thing I want is a male dominated government all up in my uterus thankyouverymuch.

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My husband and I went to see “Religulous” last night.  We were two of maybe 10-15 people in the theatre.  It could have been the time (mid-afternoon on a Sunday), but I was hoping there would be more people in the theater.  I found the movie very enjoyable, but then again, I am the target audience I suppose.

Bill Maher wasn’t quite as, hmmm, what’s the word I want…..asshole-y as he sometimes can be on Real Time.  The questions he asked most of the people are good questions.  One that he posed, which I felt was interesting, was what if the story of the bible (or Jesus, or Adam and Eve, I can’t remember his exact wording) was switched with, say Jack and the Beanstalk, when you were a young child, would you believe that one was a fairy tale and the other was the word of god?  Bill seemed a less militant than he appears on his show.  On Real Time, I often get the feeling that he asks a question and doesn’t give a shit about the answer because he already knows what answer he believes is true.  In Religulous, he seemed like he genuinely wanted some intelligent discussion on the questions he posed.  Sadly, a lot of the answers were of the nature of “Well, I know the bible is true because it is the word of god”.  Which isn’t really an answer at all.  How do you know it’s the word of god?  Because the bible tells us.   Oh, ok, glad that was cleared up.

Bill Maher makes it a point to say that he is on the side of doubt.  He never says he’s positive there is no god, but he doubts there is.  It’s splitting hairs, but it really makes a difference in whether he comes off as arrogant or genuinely interested in finding answers.  As most people have already mentioned, his primary target is Christianity, but Judaism and Islam don’t get ignored either.

Trying not to give anything away, but I liked that he was impressed with an answer someone gave him, mostly because it gave him pause and he said it was the best explanation he had heard anyone give to the question he posed.  Also funny was when Bill Maher was the one to walk away from an interview, not the other way around.

I would recommend that  you see this movie, and bring a friend.  The laughs are better when they can be shared.

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