There are few topics that are too taboo to talk about in society. Sex, money, politics to name a couple of the subjects most try not to talk about. But one remains the kingpin of taboo, religion. Questioning a person’s beliefs will elicit more reaction than just about anything else you can say, which is exactly the purpose of this documentary.
Religulous examines organized religion in more ways that any other film to date. It does so with humor and wit served up by it’s host, Bill Maher (Real Time on HBO). Maher is basically a funnier version of Michael Moore in his search for answers to questions,with no correct answer. Why do people believe in God? How can a sane person believe that it all started with a man, a woman, and a talking snake? Who created God? Those questions, among others are asked by Maher to ordinary people, and religious leaders throughout the world. He boldly states at the beginning of the film, that he does not believe in God and he doesn’t endorse any religion. He thinks religion is absurd and wants to know why people believe in what they believe in. Weaving clips from pop culture with his interviews, Religulous is a rarity, it’s a film the forces the viewer to evaluate their own beliefs. If you don’t have questions about faith after the film, then maybe you need to re-watch.
Maher comes off as cocky and downright rude. In one scene a man says that when he dies he’ll be in a better place, so Maher asks “then why don’t you kill yourself?” You’ll either love Maher or hate him, there is no in between. I personally think he is perfect for the film. He is a protagonist, and an antagonist at the same time. Smug in the face of any adversity, Maher lampoons all who believe. Larry Charles directs this film in the same vein as his previous hysterical masterpiece, Borat. Borat served as an experiment in society behaviors, and Religulous experiments with beliefs. Never dull, always entertaining, Religulous stimulates the brain and should be watched by all.
Religulous will probably offend a lot of people. Hopefully, those people will at least listen to the questions asked. It’s completely irrelevant if your agree or disagree with Maher. What is relevant, is questioning what you believe in. Do you really believe it started with a man, a woman, and a talking snake? If so, then why do you believe that? I give major kudos to Maher and Charles for their courage in tackling such a touchy subject. Thought provoking films are hard to come by, especially those that will make you laugh hysterically. I recommend Religulous to those who believe, don’t believe, or just want to laugh.