Monday, October 20, 2008

Bill Maher and religion...

The least interesting thing about the comedian Bill Maher is his take on religion. He's against it. There, that's about all you need to know.

But Maher can't leave it at that. He feels compelled to attack religious beliefs and the people that hold them. His attack barely rises to the level you might expect from a 7th grade confirmation class.

Maher even goes so far as to make an entire movie about it. "Religulous" a documentary style film along the lines of "Borat" is in the theaters now. Some are wondering about its impact on evangelism. I figure the people who would find this appealing beyond its comedic entertainment value are not going to be prime targets for evangelism anyway.

There is more than enough to criticize about religious beliefs, and the way those beliefs are practiced. Especially in America, where Christendom as Kierkegaard skewered it so effectively, is alive and well. (See Attack Upon Christendom). Maher offers little in the way of insight. His critiques are as infantile as the beliefs he is ridiculing.

Maher simply offers the flip side of the fundamentalist coin. He seems unable to conceive of a truth beyond the level of "fact". A fundamentalist seeks to establish the literal truth of scripture, which is as silly as the atheist (Maher) seeking to establish the literal falsity of it.

Truth, at its most profound level, is not found between the fundamentalist bookends of true and false. That's the stuff of a pop quiz. Let Bill Maher slug it out with Robertsons, the Dobsons and the big box churches. That argument produces more heat than light.

The truth that transforms hearts and lives is found in the "fabrications" of poets and painters, writers and storytellers who understand that truth is never the servant of fact. Fact serves the truth.

Truth lives where hope embraces doubt, where faith requires a great leap and while you are hanging there in mid air, before you land on the other side, truth is what you have to say.

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