Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Ridiculest:
Bill Maher's Cultural Supremacy and Religious Hierarchy

Bill Maher makes no secret of his contempt for religion. Via his comedy routines, his political commentary, his film Religulous, and his duties as host of Politically Incorrect and now HBO's Real Time, Maher has long warned of the dangers and exploitation of organized religion and how incompatible dogma and doctrine are with the scientific enlightenment of modern society.

Inadvertently and less eloquently paraphrasing Voltaire, who once wrote that "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" and that religious fanatics "are sick men in delirium who want to chastise their doctors," Maher has said that the belief in religion, which he calls "a neurological disorder," in our society "stops people from thinking" and "justifies crazies." In a 2008 interview with Larry King, Maher stated that religion is "the ultimate hustle."

Maher's critique (or outright bashing) of religious doctrine, dogma, and zealotry is admirable - or would be, if only he weren't such an arrogant hypocrite. While Maher himself claims to be "an equal opportunity offender" who thinks that "all religion is stupid and dangerous," he clearly believes that some faiths are more equal than others. Even though his condemnation of Christianity, notably Catholicism, has won him the animus of bible-thumping bigots like Catholic League head William Donahue and he has excoriated the intolerance of Pat Robertson and reveled in the death of Jerry Falwell, Maher has consistently saved his most virulent attacks for Islam and its followers.