Director: Larry Charles
Year Released: 2008
Agnostic/atheist/whatever Maher - I'm admittedly a fan - comes to the obvious conclusion that organized religion breeds fanatics and then, with the assistance of director Charles, makes a pseudo-documentary making fun of those fanatics. I understand this is essentially a 'comedy' (like Michael Moore's films), but Maher/Charles could have chosen more moderate people to interview - shockingly, two of the most well-spoken people in this are Catholic priests (one being an astronomer) - instead of going after crackpot re-enactors and the overly ignorant and encouraging his (liberal, 'open-minded') audience to point and chuckle. When he takes his voyage to Europe and the Middle East he stretches things too far and the topic overwhelms him, ending on a statement about his fears for the End of Times at the hands of extremists: it's just too bad that extremists won't get the message, because they're too busy hating and plotting. Maher does make a few very valid points - particularly the one about the Luxury of Not Believing (he's not in a foxhole) - but it seems like he's asking people to dispense with any and all religion: but what about personal religion, one in which a person may not want to follow one of the Grand Religions that horde money and preach intolerance in favor of a private, internal connection with … the infinite (even Maher admits to making a 'pact' with God to quit smoking in his early 40's)? I like what (the atheist) Bertrand Russell said: if in fact there is an Infinite, All-Knowing God, He will most likely not be offended if there are those who doubt his existence. I'm sticking with Pascal, though, just to be on the safe side....