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Saw “Religulous”—Review
Posted: 07 October 2008 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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What? You don’t think your ridiculous system of malevolent and ancient beliefs and superstitions is a legitimate target for condescension and mockery by rational human beings? What a surprise.

I don’t think any system of belief is a legitimate target for condescension and mockery.  I don’t think anything or anyone at all warrants such vitriolic behavior.  that’s the difference between us S.C.

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Posted: 07 October 2008 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 07 October 2008 11:00 PM

I don’t think any system of belief is a legitimate target for condescension and mockery.  I don’t think anything or anyone at all warrants such vitriolic behavior.

It’s not as if somebody’s about to pop a cap in you. Now that would be vitriolic. Of course you don’t think your system of belief should be mocked. The real question is how you justify not mocking any other belief systems either, given that you think your faith is the one true one, and by saying so, you mock every other belief system, past, present, or future. If your rickety system of beliefs could defend itself, it could dissolve the condescension and mockery that gets aimed its way. Perhaps there’s one particular aspect of your rickety belief system you think is being more unfairly criticized than the rest of it, but you probably realize all of your nonsense needs a full free pass in order to stand up even in the light breeze of an internet discussion forum.

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Posted: 07 October 2008 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 07 October 2008 09:48 PM

Critics and believers will clearly think Maher is being condescending and mocking.  This is a reaction to be expected, because the fact is…

...Maher is condescending and mocking.

I’d say Maher’s attitude is quite even-handed, and his approach genuine and earnest; it’s just that nobody can answer his straightforward questions. He is able to point out the hypocrisy, irrational thinking, and contradictions of religion to people.  Perhaps your inability to answer simple questions with any degree of logic leads you to label the questioner “condescending and mocking.” That’s just the old defensive finger-pointing, name-calling tack of the believer: “Elitist! Intellectual!”

Other memorable moments:

The real sad part about this film is that critics of religion will actually take it pretty seriously and use it to paint a picture of religion as a whole…when even Maher says his primary purpose is to MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH, not to mention that its A MOVIE designed for ENTERTAINMENT.

What’s wrong ENTERTAINMENT that MAKES PEOPLE LAUGH as a vehicle for keen observation (or do they have different meanings when they’re in caps)?  After all, the picture of religion as a whole, when understanding is attempted, is a pretty laughable picture.

Remember, it’s pretty easy to be a critic of just about everything.

 
What point does this deflection address?  Are your feelings just hurt?

What’s great about the film and what reasonists and non-believers will be relieved to hear, is that the questions themselves are actually being raised, and not only are they being raised, but they are done so in the spirit of inquiry, and it’s in a major motion picture that’s released around the country.

I haven’t seen the film, but I’ve watched several trailers, previews and interviews with Maher.  Do you really think Maher is just “asking questions”?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Maher just “ask questions” in the “spirit of inquiry”  He’s always making a point - his point.  He’s not generally interested in how people explain their seemingly irrational beliefs, he’s already decided that their answers (and probably the people themselves) are “religulous”!

Religion long ago closed its doors to “the spirit of inquiry,” at least where it entails dissatisfaction with inane responses like “it’s not for us to know” and “he works in mysterious ways” and “let’s go to the rectory playroom and try to figure this out together.”  Maher makes an honest effort, and it doesn’t take long before those he’s interviewing simply lose all credibility. At that point, Maher’s typical technique is to stop that shoot. Would a better responses have come along if the interviewee just had the time?  You tell me.

Underneath this all is a sense of utter dread.  It seems hopeless.  People are so deeply infected and/or intrinsically married to these beliefs that it’s hard to see how they will stop and analyze what they believe.  It’s horrifying how many people of influence are not only believers of a “coming soon” Armageddon, but are looking forward to it.  It is nothing less than a global epidemic, and it’s hard to see what the cure might be.

 
It’s kind of funny how you (and probably Maher too) act as if this is some new widespread disease.  If anything, its an age-old widespread disease that modernists predicted would have cleared up on its on in an age of science and technology…oops, they were wrong.

Well, then, so you do agree that it’s a widespread disease, and that you’re a victim?

Why talk about it as if its a big surprise?

What does that actually mean?  Nobody’s surprised, just disgusted.

I’m not sure I want to know what your “cures” might be.

Well, making movies definitely seems to be one one to go.  Did you have something else in mind?

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Posted: 07 October 2008 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 07 October 2008 09:48 PM

. . . Do you really think Maher is just “asking questions”?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Maher just “ask questions” in the “spirit of inquiry”  He’s always making a point - his point.  He’s not generally interested in how people explain their seemingly irrational beliefs, he’s already decided that their answers (and probably the people themselves) are “religulous”!  I mean come on…if I wanted ridiculous answers about religion I would have gone to the Vatican and Christian theme parks too!  It is religulous!

Thanks, clay, for writing one of the oddest posts I’ve ever read. Here you are, apparently a Christian who for one reason or another enjoys arguing with atheists about religion and philosophy; you interrupt your ongoing disagreements with most who visit this forum, for a quick jab at the Catholics and southern-U.S. Protestants?

Also, ridiculing the heinous is historically extremely mild in comparison to the way things used to work out, i.e., in favor of the religionist. Typical punishments in past centuries have been just a tad bit more painful than a mocking phrase.

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Posted: 07 October 2008 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Hey Clay -

Turn on NOVA now if you’re in my time zone.  You can see the true “spirit of inquiry” at work. Actual scientists scrutinizing their own theories!

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Posted: 07 October 2008 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 07 October 2008 11:00 PM

I don’t think any system of belief is a legitimate target for condescension and mockery.  I don’t think anything or anyone at all warrants such vitriolic behavior.  that’s the difference between us S.C.

The problem is Clay, when systems of belief create immense problems in the world, including DEATH, VIOLENCE, and SUFFERING, these systems NEED to be scrutinized tremendously.

It amazes me that people can’t get this point.  You would think more people would be sickened that people kill due to beliefs that are COMPLETELY UNPROVABLE, AND IMPROBABLE.

How do you think people would view me if I went out and used a huge bomb to kill thousands for not believing in an invisible teakettle that I believe exists?  They would think I was totally insane, and for good reason.

The fact is, there is ZERO difference in the aforementioned scenario and the violent actions we see today due to beliefs.

THIS is why utterly ludicrous beliefs SHOULD be mocked, and those who believe such absurdities SHOULD be treated with condescension.

Now, I’m a humanist, so you may think that my statements don’t agree with my views, but they do.  I seek the greater good of all humanity, and I believe that this is sometimes achieved through a few being told they are f’ing nuts.

Have a wonderful day.

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Posted: 07 October 2008 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Keep The Reason - 04 October 2008 05:04 AM

Underneath this all is a sense of utter dread.  It seems hopeless.  People are so deeply infected and/or intrinsically married to these beliefs that it’s hard to see how they will stop and analyze what they believe.  It’s horrifying how many people of influence are not only believers of a “coming soon” Armageddon, but are looking forward to it.  It is nothing less than a global epidemic, and it’s hard to see what the cure might be.

I lament over the same thing sometimes KTR.  Unfortunately, based on much reading I believe that religion is inherently part of human nature and psychology.

Is there a reason why people who think scientifically are not usually religious?  Most likely, it is because they have the genetic disposition of thinking logically and scientifically.

The opposite is likely true.

There is something that happens to me sometimes that strikes me as very peculiar.  It could possibly be due to many years of brainwashing by my mother and churches, but it could also be a glimpse into human psychology…

Sometimes when I want a certain outcome to occur, I have a little nudge I feel deep in my psyche to PRAY for that particular outcome.

When this happens, I remind myself that this is crazy…but it still does not set my mind at ease.  I feel an INCREDIBLE desire to have control over my circumstances…and this is what I believe is a fundamental psychological reason for religion itself….humans desire control, even if that means believing something that is a complete mental fabrication.

I would really REALLY love to read some actual studies or data on this phenomena, as I think it is crucial to our understanding of religion.

Sadly, I think this is also the reason we shall likely never (or at least in our lifetimes) see the day when religion ceases to exist.

Any reading suggestions are very welcome!

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Posted: 07 October 2008 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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burt - 04 October 2008 12:35 PM

The road to CALGARY?????

Didn’t you know that Al MacInnis died for your sins?

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Posted: 08 October 2008 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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I see that Maher is being criticized for being too mocking and condescending.  My comment is “that’s a bad thing?”

Religion, and more to the point, theism, deserves to be mocked and ridiculed.  It deserves no more respect than any other silly idea/hypothesis, like alchemy or astrology.  If this movie had been about astrology, would one not expect there to be a fair amount of ridicule directed at the bullshit it’s trying to sell? 

Religion needs to be exposed for being the silly thing that it is.  It needs to be mocked and ridiculed.  People need to be confronted with the stupidity of it all. 

I thought the movie was very entertaining and thought-provoking.  I mean, granted, being a Bill Maher devotee and having read most of the books written by the “New Atheists”, I found little it in that was new to me.  But I hope it will be thought-provoking for the average American. 

I admire Bill Maher’s chutzpah.  As nasty as I can get on this board, I usually temper my vituperations in the “real world” lest I hurt the feelings of theists.  Bill just lets them all have it.  Stupidity is stupidity.  And sometimes people need to be told they are being stupid.  Believing in talking snakes is stupid.  Believing the Noachian Deluge story literally, despite the lack of evidence to support it, despite the evidence that no such flood occurred, is stupid.

OK, I’m off to watch Keith Olbermann.

Rami

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Posted: 08 October 2008 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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The problem is Clay, when systems of belief create immense problems in the world, including DEATH, VIOLENCE, and SUFFERING, these systems NEED to be scrutinized tremendously.

Well, for one, there are many “belief systems” that create immense problems in this world besides the ones Maher has investigated here.  The belief system that defends women’s rights to choose between abortion and full-term birth causes daily killing and violence towards innocent life.  But critics are not creating mocking documentaries on abortion and showing them to audiences.  Why?  Because its a serious problem that people take seriously.  Which brings up another point…if Maher is so concerned about the effects of religious belief, shouldn’t the tone of the film be a little more sober and not so…condescending?

But again, my “belief system”/worldview does not thrive off of mocking other people’s beliefs; that seems completely contrary to loving one’s neighbor as yourself. 

It amazes me that people can’t get this point.  You would think more people would be sickened that people kill due to beliefs that are COMPLETELY UNPROVABLE, AND IMPROBABLE.

   

Of course I am completely opposed to people killing others for their beliefs…most are.  But Maher wasn’t exposing Christians that blow up abortion clinics or Muslim Jihadists.  He was interviewing truck stop Christians and the Jesus actor from a Christian theme park.  I didn’t see the movie, but I’m not sure how these people are linked to death, violence and suffering any more than the next guy. 

Now, I’m a humanist, so you may think that my statements don’t agree with my views, but they do.  I seek the greater good of all humanity, and I believe that this is sometimes achieved through a few being told they are f’ing nuts.

well as a humanist, i think you have a problem…because, in my experience, telling people they’re nuts doesn’t really bring about much change.  Critics have been telling Christians they were nuts for 2000 years.  You may seek the greater good of all humanity, but your worldview sets you against the majority of humanity that sees faith in God as exceptionally important.  Maybe you’re not as concerned about humanity as you think. 

Bill Mahers movie is for people just like Maher…those who set themselves up above all others’ belief systems but their own…and do it with a condescending tone.  He’s no different than many of the religious people he criticizes.  If Maher would take advice, I’d tell him that if you want the average person to listen to you, you shouldn’t ridicule them first.  But again, the only people that would really listen are the people that already have the same worldview that he has…sam harris forum people.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 08 October 2008 10:52 AM

Which brings up another point…if Maher is so concerned about the effects of religious belief, shouldn’t the tone of the film be a little more sober and not so…condescending?

Perhaps you’ve forgotten that Maher is a comedian, and hence, likes to be funny about all situations.

I think his intention was to open up some debate and make people stop and think about things in a way that is lighthearted.  Who the hell would go see a movie that was nothing but somber utterances about why religion is stupid?

But again, my “belief system”/worldview does not thrive off of mocking other people’s beliefs; that seems completely contrary to loving one’s neighbor as yourself.

So what you’re saying is, it is never okay to get people talking about ideas that don’t make sense?  What you’re saying is, those first people who started to argue against the world being flat should have just kept quiet and loved their ignorant neighbors?

Seems like a pretty lame excuse for being mediocre to me.

Of course I am completely opposed to people killing others for their beliefs…most are.

But you follow a belief system that was largely spread through killing, torturing, burning people alive, etc.?  You seem to conveniently forget this fact.  I guess that things done in the past don’t matter to you.  Why don’t we just all forget the Holocaust as well while we’re at it.

But Maher wasn’t exposing Christians that blow up abortion clinics or Muslim Jihadists.  He was interviewing truck stop Christians and the Jesus actor from a Christian theme park.  I didn’t see the movie, but I’m not sure how these people are linked to death, violence and suffering any more than the next guy.

The point is, without religion, there is no way for religious extremists to exist.  It is the fact that religion provides a base to build extremist ideals upon.  The TRUTH is, without religion, there would NEVER have been a single abortion clinic blown up. 

well as a humanist, i think you have a problem…because, in my experience, telling people they’re nuts doesn’t really bring about much change.  Critics have been telling Christians they were nuts for 2000 years.

I never tell anyone directly they are nuts.  This puts them on the offensive and closes their minds to my ideas.  But movies that humorously point out the idiocy of some people’s beliefs CAN bring about change, because it helps to prevent religion from being so taboo and untouchable for debate.

You may seek the greater good of all humanity, but your worldview sets you against the majority of humanity that sees faith in God as exceptionally important.  Maybe you’re not as concerned about humanity as you think.

Just because I don’t agree with people who like to delude themselves doesn’t mean I don’t care about their well-being.  That’s a pretty silly conclusion to draw.

The funny thing is, in my day to day life, I’m much more Christ-like than most Christians, because I expect the best out of people, not the worst as Christians do.  This is why I pick up hitchhikers while Christians drive by and say “that guy probably has a gun.”

  If Maher would take advice, I’d tell him that if you want the average person to listen to you, you shouldn’t ridicule them first.

The point of the movie, again, was to help set people at ease about discussing religion and to help break down the idea that “religion should never be criticized.”  It is to the benefit of humanity to criticize ANYTHING that is not supported by sufficient proof, because that is how society advances.

Perhaps you should just go be Amish and ride in a buggie, because it is obvious you desire the world to remain in a morass of ignorance and mediocrity, free of any reason or use of science.

Oh, and I hope you don’t kill flies or eat meat, because doing so completely nullifies your claim that you value life.  The brain of a fly has 100,000 cells, while a human blastocyst has only 150 cells.

And if you really cared about human life, you wouldn’t want unwanted children to come into existence, because statistical proof shows doing so results in immense costs for society as a whole.  Go read Freakonomics.  Oh wait, that has facts and real information, and you don’t believe in that silly stuff.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 08 October 2008 10:52 AM

But again, my “belief system”/worldview does not thrive off of mocking other people’s beliefs; that seems completely contrary to loving one’s neighbor as yourself.

I don’t know about that. If nothing else worked to get a nutcase like you to see the ways he was harming himself, I think I’d still try mockery and condescension. Only as a last resort, though. Loving one’s neighbor as oneself is nonsense, and comes from your own Big Book of Nonsense. How you imagine it is applicable to sensible people, I cannot fathom. Most of the things I love about being me, like an ability to think for oneself, you find horrendous, which is why your special rule makes no sense. Not even to you. You like to mouth the words, but you’re not prepared to see all it implies. You know perfectly well why you’re hanging out in an atheist internet forum taking abuse from thinking people. As a typical flagellant, you get off on feeling the lash. As your neighbor, I don’t want to be loved that way.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 08 October 2008 10:52 AM

But again, my “belief system”/worldview does not thrive off of mocking other people’s beliefs; that seems completely contrary to loving one’s neighbor as yourself.

No, you patronize and belittle more so than mock, as demonstrated in that very post by putting “belief system” in quotes to project the presumption that it’s not “just” a belief system.

Grow up and learn to think like an adult, man.

Byron

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Posted: 11 October 2008 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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This is a great thread going here. I’ve enjoyed reading ALL of them as much as I enjoyed the movie itself. Of course it’s got a Bill Maher-ish tone about it, and it was enjoyable because of it. I love his tee-vee show for the same reason. But beyond Bill the movie was powerful to me because of the production: the editing, for instance, was really effective. It kept things flowing and tied many things together. 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.

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Posted: 11 October 2008 06:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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“clayforHim648” date=“1223488368”]

The problem is Clay, when systems of belief create immense problems in the world, including DEATH, VIOLENCE, and SUFFERING, these systems NEED to be scrutinized tremendously.

Well, for one, there are many “belief systems” that create immense problems in this world besides the ones Maher has investigated here.  The belief system that defends women’s rights to choose between abortion and full-term birth causes daily killing and violence towards innocent life.

But Clay, an abortion performed in the first trimester does not cause suffering - for the fetus.  The fetus is not yet capable of the sensation.  It is not capable of physical pain, fear or any kind of emotional suffering.  Sure, I can see how one could argue that a fetus aborted on day 265 would have roughly the same experience as a newborn baby, but we are not dealing with a baby here.  I think it is important for you to understand that.

But again, my “belief system”/worldview does not thrive off of mocking other people’s beliefs; that seems completely contrary to loving one’s neighbor as yourself.

Well, I agree that mocking another person’s beliefs can be hurtful.  But I also think that sometimes it is necessary to be hurtful - if truth is what matters to us.  If it is a choice between standing up for what is true, for what is reasonable, and sparing someone’s feelings by not challenging their unreasonable beliefs, I think that I might, on occasion stand up for what is true and reasonable even if it hurts feelings. 

It amazes me that people can’t get this point.  You would think more people would be sickened that people kill due to beliefs that are COMPLETELY UNPROVABLE, AND IMPROBABLE.

   

Of course I am completely opposed to people killing others for their beliefs…most are.  But Maher wasn’t exposing Christians that blow up abortion clinics or Muslim Jihadists.  He was interviewing truck stop Christians and the Jesus actor from a Christian theme park.  I didn’t see the movie, but I’m not sure how these people are linked to death, violence and suffering any more than the next guy.

 

Well, on the surface I can see how you would see it that way.  But consider this.  A few years ago a TV televangelist was urging his viewers to support Israel.  Why?  The ONLY reason he offered was religious.  Something about the End Times, prophesy, the book of Revelation, etc.  There may be excellent reasons for our support of Israel.  There may be excellent reasons against our support of Israel.  But he did not address any of them.  He treated those reasons as irrelevant.  For him the only thing that mattered was ancient prophesy.  When religious BS is being used as the deciding argument regarding who lives and who dies, I have a problem with that.

When I the whole idea of cloning came out last decade I was working at a Methodist church.  One of the ministers offered us a sermon on how we should oppose cloning - on theological grounds.  After all, would a cloned animal or human being have a soul????  Again, scientific research and advances could save lives.  To interrupt this quest for a happier life, one with less suffering, for BS reasons based on ancient mythology is something I have a problem with.

So, people who hold these unreasonable, howbeit cherished, beliefs, DO affect our world, and often for the worse.  We live together.  We share this world.  We vote on each other’s rights.  We vote on laws that affect the rest of us.  We donate money to various causes.  Our neighbors’ beliefs do affect us.  This is why it is important for us to understand them, and to stand up to ignorance and irrationality.

well as a humanist, i think you have a problem…because, in my experience, telling people they’re nuts doesn’t really bring about much change.  Critics have been telling Christians they were nuts for 2000 years.  You may seek the greater good of all humanity, but your worldview sets you against the majority of humanity that sees faith in God as exceptionally important.  Maybe you’re not as concerned about humanity as you think.

How does that last sentence make sense?  Are we to agree that faith is good for humanity simply because most people allegedly adhere to some form of faith?  Whether or not people think faith is “exceptionally important”  has nothing to do with whether or not faith is good for humanity. 

Bill Mahers movie is for people just like Maher…those who set themselves up above all others’ belief systems but their own…and do it with a condescending tone.

Perhaps.  And I am among them.  I make no apologies for stating that my position is superior to yours, Clay, because I believe that reason is superior to irrationality and superstition.  Sadly, many theists insist that reason is the tool of the devil…

He’s no different than many of the religious people he criticizes.

Yes, that’s the simplistic way to look at it.  Except Bill Maher is not being dogmatic.  He is being reasonable.  He is asking questions about people’s beliefs.  How could Noah’s Arc story have been literally true, for example.  This is not dogmatism, it’s skepticism.  Very different.

If Maher would take advice, I’d tell him that if you want the average person to listen to you, you shouldn’t ridicule them first.  But again, the only people that would really listen are the people that already have the same worldview that he has…sam harris forum people.

Well, see the movie, see what you think, and then let us know.

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