Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



If you watch Bill Maher’s show on HBO, this will remind you of it, a bit. It’s mostly Bill interviewing people and then talking. He chooses some of the most lunatic of the religious fringe, tosses in a couple of thoughtful people (that is, people that agree with him—and me—about religion, mostly), and then sums it all up at the end with an editorial. And I agree with absolutely everything he has to say … but this is not a very good movie. That is, it is unfocused, not well thought out, and frankly, amateurish. It’s directed by the guy who did Borat. We spend entirely too much time with the camera focused on Bill sitting in the back seat of a van, expounding. Then, for no reason I can see, we will see a long shot from Camera B of Bill talking to someone while Camera A films him. What’s that all about? You see that technique in commercials, where somebody is talking to the camera, then we cut, and he’s talking to a point somewhere over our shoulder. Bill, look at the fucking camera! This is your film. Don’t let Mr. Borat get all arty-farty on you.

A lot of reviewers thought he chose the easy targets, the nut cases. He replied, and I agree, that the nut cases are the ones we need to understand and be worried about, because there’s more of them every day. He claims that 60% of Americans believe, literally, in Noah’s Ark. Who the fuck knows how many believe in The Rapture, and a Sarah Palin 6000-year-old universe. The ignorance of these people is absolutely impenetrable, and they would like to teach your children their stupid bullshit.

But why didn’t you spend more time with guys like the Vatican Astronomer, who cheerfully agrees that the Church accepts evolution and the Big Bang. He didn’t get into whether he believes God instigated the Big Bang, or if the Big Guy guides evolution. That’s really not the point, though. It’s the Baptists, the Evangelicals, who swallow that “the Bible is literally true” bullshit.

But why didn’t you tackle, say, a Jesuit, who these reviewers seem to think would quickly make mincemeat of him. Not true, he says in an interview with Bottom line, if a Jesuit believes that Jesus was a virgin birth, he’s just as fucked up as pig-ignorant Sarah Palin. He’s buying a folk take written by people who never met Jesus! Did you know that? Not one of the gospels was written by anyone who ever met him … if he lived at all, something for which we have no proof.

So what we have in the Bible is …

Old Testament:

A collection of Jewish folk tales—the Pentateuch, or Torah,

Some very dubious histories (Joshua, Chronicles, Kings, etc.),

Collections of poetry and wise sayings (Psalms, Proverbs Song of Solomon)

And then the psychotic mutterings of a dozen or so “Prophets,” that is, what today we would call schizophrenics.

New Testament:

Four tellings at second-, third-, fourth, or possibly fifth-hand (nobody knows where the writers of the “Gospels” got their information) of the story of a man who was crucified, a common enough death in Roman times. The four versions don’t agree very well. Two never mention the virgin birth.

More dubious history (James through Jude)

Random letters that might have been culled from St. Paul’s wastebasket (Romans through Philemon)

More letters.

And the wackiest, most flipped-out piece of fantasy-fiction ever written, by … well, we’re not sure who … while obviously on a bender of major proportions (Revelations).

And people order their lives through this trashy book. Religious people think I’m crazy not to believe. I say, how in the world is it possible to believe this obvious bullshit?