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Saw “Religulous”—Review
Posted: 11 October 2008 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Well, I finally got to see the movie tonight, and I have to say it was great.

What was also nice was that Bill actually WASN’T mocking or condescending in tone - so Clay here should have no problem with him…possibly he should see the movie himself? (not that it would change his psychological pre-dispositions).

A disappointment I had was that the talk with the neuroscientist guy wasn’t very long or detailed (though making it more in-depth would have probably been beyond the scope of the movie and not very entertaining to non science nerds).

It was funny when they played the wicked witch sound when the PR lady from HolyLand came crashing in to try to end the interview… it was almost like she was saying “stop!!! maher might actually make a great point and convince some of our patrons of how silly this all is!” LOL

Seeing HolyLand brought up something I’ve humorously pondered before - making TONS of money off of people’s religious fanaticism…talk about an easy sale.  Fortunately, my ethics prevent me from stooping to the level of capitalizing on peoples’ religious addiction - unlike the owners and workers of HolyLand.

As another poster mentioned…it was very strange to see people jumping to get a good close-up picture of jesus being beaten in the streets.. I found it almost disgusting when one of the audience members at HolyLand started clapping when a “roman soldier” punched jesus in the stomach as he bled.  WTF???  That guy must beat off to the Old Testament like a copy of “Penthouse Letters!”

I think a great point Maher made in his monologue was that people who are non-believers need to quit being so frickin’ timid about their views.  I think that through Maher making this movie, he has helped foster a drop in timidity amongst non believers when it comes to speaking their minds.

I wish this movie had come out sooner, as it would have saved me immense time in researching the myriad reasons for not believing.

I suspect that this movie will make it slightly less taboo to admit that god is an unlikely reality - I’m of the opinion that there are far more than 16% of the population that don’t believe…the ones that wont admit it are probably just a little frightened by the social implications of admitting what they know deep down.

I think we should push to distribute copies of this movie as fervently as the pseudo-science film “The Secret.”  Imagine what could be accomplished by doing so!

Clay, I suggest you see this movie… you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how un-condescending and respectful Maher is to his interviewees.

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Posted: 11 October 2008 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Bruce Diones’ review in The New Yorker Magazine:

This documentary, in which the libertarian comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher, teaming with the director Larry Charles, challenges the legitimacy of religion, is a globe-trotting conversation-starter. Maher’s softhearted satirical dig at faith and the people who espouse it focusses primarily on literal interpretations of Bible stories (such as those of Noah’s ark and Jonah and the whale). His interview technique isn’t argumentative—he sees religion as anti-rational—and his comedy plays out as frustration rather than as mean-spiritedness. The filmmakers have smartly chosen to film in locations where the faithful gather, and the film benefits from its you-are-there style. In an odd note of irony, the film is, in effect, preaching to the unconverted.

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Posted: 12 October 2008 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Cactus Ed - 11 October 2008 04:17 PM

And I thought the ending “sermon” was very moving. Some people didn’t like Bill’s heaviness here, but I think it added a lot of gravity to a movie that had a lot of levity, so in that sense it balanced things out nicely. Bill the comedian is serious about the religious virus overtaking our country and the entire world. So am I! This is no mere mockery but a voice crying in the wilderness. “Grow up or die…” Powerful words when the religious sick people have The Bomb at their fingertips, and they somehow imagine a thermonuclear party would bring about Jesus II instead of a planet devoid of life. These people are insane, plain and simple.

I agree. Then ending where he stood at Meggido was the best part.

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Sam explains the difference between the belief in Elvis and belief in Jesus

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Posted: 14 October 2008 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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A “Religulous” Review from the other side

FYI

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Posted: 14 October 2008 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 14 October 2008 09:40 PM

A “Religulous” Review from the other side

FYI

It’s made 3x it’s cost in 2 weeks, so it’s considered a profitable film:

RELIGULOUS

Domestic Total as of Oct. 13, 2008: $7,049,342
Distributor: Lionsgate   Release Date: October 1, 2008
Genre: Documentary   Running Time: 1 hrs. 41 min.
MPAA Rating: R   Production Budget: $2.5 million

Box Office Mojo Religulous Link


By comparison, here’s how Expelled has done over the entire course of its run, since April:

EXPELLED:
NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED

Domestic Total Gross: $7,690,545
Distributor: Rocky Mountain Pics Release Date: April 18, 2008
Genre: Documentary   Running Time: 1 hrs. 30 min.
MPAA Rating: PG   Production Budget: N/A

Box Office Mojo Expelled Link

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Faith-free since 1985

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Posted: 14 October 2008 09:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 14 October 2008 09:40 PM

A “Religulous” Review from the other side

FYI

The “other side” is Biola University, with its oxymoronic self-description: “Biblically centered education.”  It’s written by Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D. of the Graduate Program in Christian Apologetics.  Seriously.

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Posted: 14 October 2008 10:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Sadly, no theater within 400 miles of my hometown is showing this movie.

[ Edited: 14 October 2008 10:19 PM by Beam]
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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 15 October 2008 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Aaron - 15 October 2008 01:06 AM
clayforHim648 - 14 October 2008 09:40 PM

A “Religulous” Review from the other side

FYI

The “other side” is Biola University, with its oxymoronic self-description: “Biblically centered education.”  It’s written by Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D. of the Graduate Program in Christian Apologetics.  Seriously.

BIOLA???  A friend of mine applied for a job there.  They asked her to fill out a kind of questionnaire/faith-statement form, consisting of a list of statements which one is supposed to sign and expound on, providing scriptural support.  One of them was about the teaching of evolution.  On their website it says that homosexuals will spend eternity in “eternal, unutterable torment”.

Yet, they do not care of homosexual adjunct teachers work there.  Huh?  If they believe that I am going to spend eternity in “unutterable torment”, then they must believe to be a pretty vile creature.  Why would they want me anywhere near their kids?  They want to benefit from our expertise, but they just don’t want to offer us job security and benefits.  Typical Christian hypocrisy.

But anyway…

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Posted: 15 October 2008 01:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Let’s take an excerpt from that review.  I find it interesting how this particular Christian defines “faith”:

The biblical view of saving Christian faith has never had anything to do with blind leaping.  Jesus himself was fixed on the idea that we can know the truth—and not just in some spiritual or mystical way.  Rather, he taught that we can know the truth about God, humans, and salvation objectively.  That is, the very best forms of investigation, evidence, and careful reasoning will inevitably point to God and His great plans for us.

We already have a big problem.  That is circular reasoning.  And it is bias.  We are told that investigation inevitably points to God.  We are told what the answer to the question is and then we are asked to investigate???  An unbiased investigation would not be leading, would not be directed towards a desired result.

And this is the basis of the assertion that this knowledge of God is objective?  Come on…

The early church learned well from the Master because they too were fixed on the idea that they knew that Jesus was raised from the dead and that we could know it too.

What’s the early church?  IF Jesus existed, then perhaps the disciples knew Jesus.  But the early Christians in Corinth, Rome, etc. did not.  They did not have first-hand information about Jesus.  All they had were stories about him.  And considering that Paul did not share any of them with them, it seems more than likely that the early Christians understood the resurrection of Jesus in mystical - not literal - terms.  So much for the idea that the early Christians knew God “objectively.”

This is absolutely no better than blind faith.

The Apostles never made any room for interpreting their experiences of the risen Christ in some mystical or fictional fashion.  As the Apostle Peter put it, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

Even if one were to agree with this argument, how is this an argument that today we can know God objectively

What we mean by “faith” is not blind leaping that is oblivious to the evidence, especially evidence to the contrary.  Rather faith in it’s biblical context is trust grounded in objective knowledge.  Faith is trusting that which we can know to be objectively true.

HUH?  If you know something is true, then you don’t need to trust that it is true - because you KNOW it is true.  If you know something is true, then you don’t need faith - because you have knowledge. 

Furthermore, we do not know the truth of the existence of God, the existence of Jesus or the details of the gospel stories.  We simply do not know any of this objectively.  To claim otherwise is to be a liar. 

Once again, I must harken to Sam Harris’ suggestion that we stop pretending to be certain about things we cannot possibly be certain about.  Like God, Jesus, the gospels, the End of the World, etc…  Let’s call a spade a spade.  No matter how Christians try to portray faith as something else, no matter how they try to exalt it, it is always the same thing - blind leaping.

And that is something worthy of ridicule.

So there.

Rami

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Posted: 15 October 2008 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 14 October 2008 09:40 PM

A “Religulous” Review from the other side

FYI

From the link:

I run a graduate program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University in which we train students at the highest levels to give compelling reasons for their faith.

I can’t help but wonder why a graduate level training program would be necessary to train Christian students to develop compelling reasons to defend their faith. Does this imply that the student did not entertain the idea of compelling reasons throughout their Christian development and studies and prior to taking this course?

No such formal training is required to develop some common sense - far as I know.

This smacks of advanced brain-washing and at the graduate level.

Stay Well
Wotansson

[ Edited: 15 October 2008 06:21 AM by Wotansson]
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Posted: 15 October 2008 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Rather faith in it’s biblical context is trust grounded in objective knowledge.  Faith is trusting that which we can know to be objectively true.

That actually makes a lot of sense, to someone who has just ingested a stimulating cocktail of Jack Daniels, morphine and PCP after being hit, rather forcefully, in the back of the head with a shovel.

So, this is what Orwell had in mind.

All apologists are equally deranged, but some are more equally deranged than others.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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What’s the early church?  IF Jesus existed, then perhaps the disciples knew Jesus.  But the early Christians in Corinth, Rome, etc. did not.  They did not have first-hand information about Jesus.  All they had were stories about him.  And considering that Paul did not share any of them with them, it seems more than likely that the early Christians understood the resurrection of Jesus in mystical - not literal - terms.  So much for the idea that the early Christians knew God “objectively.”

I would say that the early Christians had testimonies, not stories.  By the time Paul had started his missionary journeys, many people already knew because people had seen and followed Jesus and some (apparently over 500) had seen him resurrected.  And again, Paul was an early evangelist…he had traveled all over the ancient world giving testimony to Jesus’ life and resurrection.  Some of his letters, were written from prison or distant places to established churches (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, etc.).  And he made a point of saying that Jesus’ resurrection was not some mystical event, but real.  He says that we are to be pitied above all men if Christ did not rise from the dead.

Even if one were to agree with this argument, how is this an argument that today we can know God objectively?

Notice, Rami, he didn’t say empirically.  Objective simply means that apart from our emotions or tendency towards spiritual/mystical sentiments, we can with our mind know that everything we see is made, know that history points to the importance of Christ, even know that he was raised by the dead, according to testimony.

HUH?  If you know something is true, then you don’t need to trust that it is true - because you KNOW it is true.  If you know something is true, then you don’t need faith - because you have knowledge.

We trust in, or have faith, in him because we were not there to see it!  Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see (Hebrews 11).  It is not the same as blind leaping.  It is not turning off your brain to satisfy some other desire (even if it appears that way with some people). 

It’s interesting how you zeroed in on one aspect of the whole review article because I thought the whole thing was spot on.  Maybe I should have just copied the whole thing into a post without “Biola”, I forgot how the posters here stumble over irrelevant details.

Maher made no effort to challenge historical, biblical Christianity.  He just did a great job at making some ridiculous aspects/people within Christianity look more ridiculous…which has been done before.  The problem is that he paints with a broad brush.  But ignorance is bliss, right, he had to affirm what he has already presupposed…that everything about faith in God is religulous.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 15 October 2008 11:01 AM

...people had seen and followed Jesus and some (apparently over 500) had seen him resurrected….

...it must have been real boring:

Corinthians
15:6
After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present,
but some have fallen asleep.


Zzzzzzzzzz!

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Christian psychopaty:

Bruce Burleson
“.Tell me why it is wrong to rape, steal and kill….
…If I am a slaveholder in Alabama in 1860, why shouldn’t I enslave the niggers, fuck their women, and whip their children when they disobey me????
I’ll tell you why, and it is the ONLY reason why
..”

..he fears gods punishment.

Christians per definition has no moral.
They are governed by fear and fear only.

..and they don’t mind using the N-word.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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Keep The Reason - 14 October 2008 10:58 PM

It’s made 3x it’s cost in 2 weeks, so it’s considered a profitable film:

By comparison, here’s how Expelled has done over the entire course of its run, since April:

Wasn’t Expelled a much wider release as well? It played at the theaters here in Athens (a university town), but I’d have to go to ATL to see Religulous.

Byron

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Posted: 15 October 2008 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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“clayforHim648” date=“1224093679”]

I would say that the early Christians had testimonies, not stories.

 

Assuming that the events described in the gospels actually occurred, only people around Jerusalem would have had “testimonies”.  Only they would have been eyewitnesses.  People living hundreds of miles away would have had second- and third-hand “testimonies”.  They would not have been eyewitnesses.  So let’s be honest here and not act as if the people in Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, etc would have KNOWN the truth of the gospel stories.  They would not have known it.  They simply would have believed what the evangelists told them. 

By the time Paul had started his missionary journeys, many people already knew because people had seen and followed Jesus and some (apparently over 500) had seen him resurrected.

 

First of all, you are assuming that the passage is true.  And then you are interpreting that literally.  Given the Zeitgeist of the time, this could easily be seen as not a literal historic event but an inner, personal event of “spiritual” revelation, in which people “experienced” Jesus within themselves and then followed “him”, or whatever “he” represented.

Personally, I think this whole tale is BS made up by the evangelists, intended to wow their credulous target audience into belief.  But I understand you do not see it that way.

And again, Paul was an early evangelist…he had traveled all over the ancient world giving testimony to Jesus’ life and resurrection.

 

Not quite.  Paul spoke of his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.  He did not speak of his life.  He did not speak of his miraculous birth, or of the slaughter of the innocents, or of his baptism, or of his Sermons, or of the wisdom contained in his parables, or of Judas, or any other details of his life. 

Some of his letters, were written from prison or distant places to established churches (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, etc.).  And he made a point of saying that Jesus’ resurrection was not some mystical event, but real.  He says that we are to be pitied above all men if Christ did not rise from the dead.

But don’t you see how this does not really help you out any?  Jesus was REAL for Paul.  But he was not a LITERAL human being.  Jesus was INSIDE.  Jesus was the DAEMON, that ideal person inside us, whom we could reach by searching inward - not by looking outward, for a person that was actually crucified.  This is why Paul says that God revealed Jesus IN him.  Not TO him, but IN him.

So, Christ DID rise from the dead.  But this was not a historical event; rather the crucifixion was something that occurred on a personal level.  It was a graduation to a higher spiritual level, it was a step towards personal “knowledge” of God.  That is what, I think, Paul was talking about.  Knowing God within oneself.  After all, we are all limbs of God and the only way to know him is to look for him within us.

The literalists have completely turned things around and now they insist that the gospel events are literal, not representative of a person search for that ideal person within us. 

Notice, Rami, he didn’t say empirically.  Objective simply means that apart from our emotions or tendency towards spiritual/mystical sentiments, we can with our mind know that everything we see is made, know that history points to the importance of Christ, even know that he was raised by the dead, according to testimony.

Well, that’s the source of our problem.  I say that if we don’t know something empirically, we don’t know it. 

And of course, “objective” is the opposite of “subjective”, which means that “objective” is divorced from emotion and bias.  It does not invalidate a mystical interpretation.  Actually, disqualifying mystical interpretation would be injecting bias towards a literal interpretation.  And furthermore, Clay, rationalizing an argument with a preconceived answer is not an objective search for truth.  It is agenda-driven, or bias-driven at best.

And finally, believing “testimony” is NOT the same as knowing that Jesus was raised.  The fact is we have no testimonials, Clay.  They simply do not exist.  No eyewitness accounts.  The first mention of Jesus is by Paul, who did not know Jesus.  His “knowledge” of Jesus was not from interviewing eyewitnesses, but of the “revelatory” variety.  He “saw” Jesus.  He had an experience of “Jesus”.  And so he believed.  He believed before he met the disciples.  The new converts to the faith did not have knowledge of Jesus.  They believed what they were told.

HUH?  If you know something is true, then you don’t need to trust that it is true - because you KNOW it is true.  If you know something is true, then you don’t need faith - because you have knowledge.

We trust in, or have faith, in him because we were not there to see it!  Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see (Hebrews 11).  It is not the same as blind leaping.  It is not turning off your brain to satisfy some other desire (even if it appears that way with some people).

Well, perhaps you are right.  It is not just blind leaping.  It is bias-driven leaping.  You don’t see how being sure of what you hope for is a huge dose of bias?  The honest, sober search for what is true is dispassionate.  It has to be.  Otherwise it is being guided by the bias of wishful thinking.  It becomes precisely the act of turning off your brain, your rational, analytical, critical part of your brain, in order to believe that which you wish were true.

It’s interesting how you zeroed in on one aspect of the whole review article because I thought the whole thing was spot on.  Maybe I should have just copied the whole thing into a post without “Biola”, I forgot how the posters here stumble over irrelevant details.

But Clay, the author’s bias is very much relevant.  Nobody is unbiased.  It is important to know the author’s point of view.  For example, it is important to know what Ahmadinajad’s bias is when he says that there are not homosexuals in Iran.

I zeroed in on the author’s concept of what faith is because that at the very core of our disagreement, Clay.  The issue of certainty.  The issue of what it means to “know” anything.  Again, I repeat that we should stop being certain of things we cannot possibly be certain of.  You can go ahead and believe that Jesus lived, died and was raised.  Fine.  But as soon as you tell me that you are certain of it, that you KNOW it happened exactly the way you tell me it did, then we have a problem.  Because you cannot possible know.  You weren’t there.  You have no eyewitness reports.  You have no mention of Jesus until decades after he allegedly died.  You have no writings by Jesus himself.  All you have is some agenda-driven stories which you assume to be accurate depictions of what actually went on.  You have no non-religious, secular documents that record the actual existence of Jesus.  So, you may hope that the documents you do have are true.  You may believe that they probably are.  But the intellectual honest thing to do would be to concede that you could well be wrong.  Instead you keep insisting that you are CERTAIN that what you hope for is actually true.

Maher made no effort to challenge historical, biblical Christianity.  He just did a great job at making some ridiculous aspects/people within Christianity look more ridiculous…which has been done before.

 

I don’t think his goal was to debunk all of Christianity.  Rather, it was to show that faith is dangerous because it is ridiculously unreasonable.  And yes, I agree that not all Christians are as dumb as the ones Maher interviewed, but let’s not ignore the fact that there are millions upon millions of Christians who do believe the myth of Noah’s Flood literally, who do believe in talking snakes, who do believe in flying people, etc.  And those are the people who are voting on our rights, Clay.

The problem is that he paints with a broad brush.  But ignorance is bliss, right, he had to affirm what he has already presupposed…that everything about faith in God is religulous.

Well, faith itself is ridiculous.  And that’s a conclusion, not an a-priori assumption.

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