Religulous Reviews

So, not having had a chance to see Religulous yet, and not sure if I will see it until it comes out on DVD (since it isn’t that easy to get to in my area and my time is tight), I have been limiting my comments to Bill Maher’s recent appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (here and here). But I want to revisit this documentary from a different angle that I found interesting.

The first real review I read about Religulous was at a blog called Vintage Faith, which is attached to the Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California. In this review by Dan Kimball, we see a fairly complimentary and accepting view of the film and Maher’s motives, even though the blog author is clear that the film is skewed and could have been much more a real documentary had Maher bothered to look up even one or two deep thinkers in the theological realm; people who could have answered many of the questions he posed.

So, the bottom line with this review is that the film is worth watching, if flawed, and Maher poses useful questions.

OK, I’m sure there are plenty of reviews out there on blogs and elsewhere by other Christians that probably hate what Maher did, but I don’t have to look them up. Know why? Because I found a scathing review of Religulous at Pajiba.com. Now, for those of you not familiar, Pajiba is a place where lots of things (often films, but also other media offerings) get reviewed, often with loads of attitude. This is a place where I think I can safely say the authors and audience are largely of liberal leaning. In other words, people who should, theoretically, be on board for Bill Maher to skewer religion.

Not so here. The reviewer is highly critical of Bill Maher’s attitude in the film, which he finds largely condescending, dismissive, shallow and self-serving. I can’t do justice to how much this guy hammers Maher and the film. Just go read the review using the link above, and please make sure you read the other one from Vintage Faith, too.

In the end, I will see this film at some point, whether soon or after it hits the shelves at the video store. I expect that it will be at times funny, at times thought-provoking and at times gut-wrenchingly painful and annoying.

But I just find it really interesting when I see a Christian saying you should probably see the thing and someone at Pajiba.com saying it takes nasty potshots and isn’t a worthy film.

Can you say, “irony?”


3 Responses to “Religulous Reviews”

  1. October 8, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I got the same feeling as the folks who wrote the scathing review just by watching the trailer. If you’re going to pretend to be some sort of great thinker while religious folks are idiots, you should at least have the decency to be fair in your discussions. Maher clearly thinks anybody who belongs to an organized religion has had a lobotomy and therefore is not deserving of his respect. His attitude reminds me that I have to be careful about adopting that same stance with issues I’m passionate about.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    October 8, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    That’s good advice, actually, to remain aware of our attitudes and not to adopt pomposity when we take a stand.

    So, if nothing else, Maher is an object lesson.

    I have to admit, I have a love-hate with this guy, though it’s probably 66% or more on the dislike end of the spectrum.

    Mrs. Blue probably likes him more than I do even though she probably disagrees with him as much as I do, if not more. To her, he sort of represents the kind of person who says what she’s thinking and sometimes doesn’t want to say herself.

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    October 10, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Just a note that I got an e-mail from someone providing me a link to a review they did. (I don’t check my Deacon Blue e-mail more often than once every few days).

    Thought I would post it here, since the person went to the trouble to e-mail me:


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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October 2008

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