Idol Chatter

I’ve tried to hold off on expressing my thoughts and opinions about Bill Maher’s movie “Religulous” until closer to the movie’s official release date on October 3, but in the last few weeks there have been more and more early reviews and commentaries about the intentionally controversial film, so I have decided I am going to jump into the fray. I’m still not going to give you an actual detailed review as much as I am going to give you some behind-the-scenes insight (I saw a screening at the Traverse City Film Festival in early August) into some of the fallacies of this production and marketing of this movie.
Lie #1: “We tested the movie with believers and many of them enjoyed the film.”

This is what I heard over and over again from the mouths of director Larry “Borat” Charles and sidekick Michael Moore when the film debuted at the Traverse City Film Festival. I have no doubt this will carry forward into future press for the film.
Charles did ask the audience at the first screening of the movie how many people considered themselves a believer of some sort in something. (Is that vague enough for you?) About half the people in the theater raised their hands. Therefore, when laughs were heard during the movie, Charles inferred that it was those fervent believers( in some nondescript something) that were doing all the laughing. He then shared that insight at panel discussions. He should have stuck around after the screening to hear all the conversations I did of disgruntled viewers who wanted to walk out of the movie but felt like they were trapped in an overcrowded auditorium with too much security, so they stayed.

Lie #2: This movie is a documentary.
Well, in the loosest definition of the word, I guess it is. But the production lied and tricked people in order to get interview footage, so it’s really just more of an ambush-style reality TV show.
Christianity Today has a great feature up that details how the movie was given a false title and how people who agreed to interviews didn’t know it was for Bill Maher– or didn’t know who Maher was, period.
Lie #3 “We traveled around the world discussing religion with a diverse group of people of many faiths.”
That’s what Maher tells Larry King and anyone else who asks. And sure, Bill went to Rome and has some nice footage of the Holy Land, but the truth is, the movie doesn’t actually visit that many locations and has less diversity than the small town I live in here in Michigan. In fact, everyone in this movie has one only one thing in common: they are made to look as stupid as possible– some just didn’t need as much help with that as others.
The logical fallacies of this movie certainly don’t end with this list, but I feel my blood pressure rising , so I think I should save my other comments for the coming weeks as Bill Maher will, no doubt, continue to promote his film as a call for religion in all shapes and sizes to commit a quick, painless death so intelligent civilization can flourish. I know some readers may think I am exaggerating when I say that, but I am actually only paraphrasing the final comments of Maher himself at the end of the movie.
Bill-Maher at

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