‘Religulous’ in a nutshell

Last month in this post I promised you a review of Religulous so that you don’t have to watch it yourself (check out the trailer).

Religulous reveals the latest work of Bill Maher – the controversial former host of Politically Incorrect (whose show was cancelled after he stated he believed the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks were brave).

If you haven’t already heard, this Religulous flick is basically two hours of bashing religion captured on film, and 85% of it is aimed at Christianity. As I mentioned in the other post, I went to see this movie in San Francisco by myself in a theater full of people who saw fit to applaud at the end. It was an interesting experience, and I took notes.

Some of you might be wondering why I would spend money on a ticket for something like this. Here’s why: it will create an opportunity for me to have a meaningful dialogue with people influenced by this garbage.

If I have no idea what this movie is about or what the content is, I’ll have a harder time refuting some of the stupid, false, ignorant claims the film makes.

I’m sure most of you remember the movie The Da Vinci Code. In it, the basic story makes the claim that Jesus had actually been married to Mary Magdalene and the falsity of the gospel accounts was a closely guarded secret of this shady group behind the Catholic Church (in the story the Catholic Church was simply an organization which had been set up as a control device for the powers that be).

Religion was portrayed as a complex system of lies that exists only to control the masses without an ounce of truth behind it’s claims.

I didn’t watch The Da Vinci Code – I read the book, and I’m glad I did. Even though that book is found in the fiction section of your local bookstore, I still have people that bring up the “fact” that Jesus was actually married in discussion sometimes. If I were completely ignorant of where that information came from and didn’t know where to begin in addressing it, I’d be hindered in teaching them.

That being said, Religulous is even more dangerous because it won’t be found in the fiction section – its actually presented as truth. The movie claims to be full of “facts;” unfortunately the producers must have used the same fact checkers employed by the Weekly World News

Here’s what you need to know:

1) Bill Maher is an entertainer and a comedian – not a scholar or person serious about seeking truth.

Key to remember: Bill Maher made this movie to make money– not to make the world a better place. Bill entered into working on this project with a particular worldview (as evidenced by his previous public statements and stand up routines), and he finished this project with the same worldview. He’s a hostile atheist who thinks people who believe in God are stupid, and he automatically assumes intellectual superiority over those who disagree.

 

2) Bill Maher’s view of the church is shaped by a nominal Catholic upbringing.

He frequently makes reference to his Catholic upbringing and says things in the film like “rational people think they drink the blood of a 2,000 year old God.”

Apparently his parents took him to mass growing up, but stopped attending altogether when they decided to start using birth control. His mother was in the film, and made it clear that she could care less whether her son believes in God or not.

Some of the sillier doctrines taught by the Catholic Church are viewed by Maher as mainstream and presented as so in the film. That brings me to my next point:

 

3) Maher presents a distorted view of mainstream Christianity.

In other words, the things he presents as happening in mainstream Christianity are in fact found only on the fringes. Maher focuses on speaking to people who largely don’t really represent mainstream Christian beliefs.

He splices in footage of people like Robert Tilton (more famous for being YouTube’s “farting preacher”) incoherently babbling like a fool along with plenty of other clips of reported Christians saying or doing very stupid things (like a lady who says from a pulpit she wanted God to give people “a Holy Ghost enima” or the guys from Way of the Master teaching students to “circumvent people’s intellect” as part of their evangelistic strategy).

 

4) Maher doesn’t interview a single credible Bible scholar.

Instead of interviewing someone like Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel, Maher interviews people like the men at a trucker’s chapel (a chapel built into the side of a truck stop), “Dr.” Jeremiah Cummings (a televangelist who possesses no degree at all and would be more than happy to accept your donations), Kenneth Ham (who believes Adam & Eve rode dinosaurs), and the actor who plays Jesus at Orlando’s Holy Land Experience (a first-century Jerusalem-themed amusement park).

Surprisingly, the Jesus actor seemed to be the most coherent person interviewed in the entire film!

 

5) Maher gets basic facts wrong again and again.

Maher has obviously never conducted a serious investigation into the claims of Christianity. He gets facts wrong that are so basic, yet he’s made a widely distributed and controversial feature film to refute the claims of Christianity.

Before the movie I didn’t think the man was stupid – misguided, yes, but not stupid – but after watching I’m thinking I may have been too generous in giving him the benefit of the doubt.

If a person is going to make a movie like this, you would think some basic research of the topic would be in order. Apparently that didn’t happen.

Here’s a list of some of the stupid things this movie puts forth as “facts”:

  • “There’s no proof that Jesus ever existed.” (Wrong! There’s more historical evidence proving His existence than almost any other character in history)
  • None of the gospel writers knew or had even ever seen Jesus. (Wrong! Matthew and John were two of the Twelve Apostles, and Mark and Luke are believed to have written down the sermons of Peter and Paul, respectively.)
  • None of the gospel writers were historians. (Wrong! Doctor Luke was a serious historian whose accounts are corroborated by other recorded events in history.)
  • All the Scriptures condemning homosexuality come from the Old Testament – the New Testament says nothing about it. (Wrong! The New Testament codemns the practice of homosexuality along with the Old. See Romans 1:25-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)
  • The story surrounding the Egyptian god Horus predates and parallels the story of Christ. In other words, the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was simply made up. (Wrong! The story of Horus predating the story of Christ is an urban legend – no historical sources support this because they don’t exist.) NOTE: Read more about this on Ben Witherington’s blog – these false claims about Horus were popularized by the film ‘The Zeitgeist Movie’.

 

6) Maher’s not nearly as disrespectful to Muslims as he is to people of other faith groups.

Apparently even Bill Maher has his limits. He significantly tones down the rhetoric when it comes to talking about Islam.

Despite his belief that there is no God and when you die you’re simply dead, Maher wants to keep on living.

Hrmph – what’s the point, Bill?

 

Concluding Thoughts

The film tries, but doesn’t even come close to putting a dent into the claims of Christianity.

While Religulous is well put together and hilariously edited, it falls short in revealing a real search for the honest truth. Rather, in the spirit of a Michael Moore film, it simply exists to poke fun, mock, and push an agenda without any real digging for truth taking place.

The sad thing is, many people will buy into what Maher has to say hook, line, and sinker without doing any real looking themselves.

It’d be nice if someone would produce a rebuttal film to this one.

In conclusion, Maher’s facts are wrong, his motives are impure, his eyes are blind, and his heart is hard. I can identify with where he is now because I was once there myself, and that gives me hope for him.

Please keep him and those this film will impact negatively in your prayers.

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42 thoughts on “‘Religulous’ in a nutshell

  1. Terry says:

    Weekly World News is my favorite “newspaper.” 🙂 Thanks for the review!

  2. Seth says:

    Maher has been one of my favorite people to watch since I was a kid!!!
    Since I grew up as the dumb jock in school, he was the only person that could make me feel better about myself, no really!
    He would make some of the dumbest comments and I would be like 8 yrs old sitting there watching, going…”wow, did he really just push that statement out of his mouth?”

    I am not sure if you know it or not, but I HATE THE YANKEES!!! I thought about making a movie about them cause I HATE THEM SO MUCH!
    It is always wonderful to hear the thoughts of someone when you already know they hate something before they ever even talk. So why make a movie about it?
    Here is how I feel about this thing.
    1)He is socially frustrated in that he is not allowed to hang out anywhere except the Playboy Mansion cause that is the only way he can get a woman to talk with him(that and a little money under the table to keep the cops away).
    2)He grew up in a home where there was no Holy Spirit, just convenient religion, therefore he has always had a misconstrued view of Christ.
    3)He is crying out so much for someone to save him, but to make him feel good about himself he has to do and say things like this to be able to live the lifestyle he lives and still be able to sleep at night. If I knew Christ(I do, just play along)and lived in and around the Mansion, you would have to do what he does to allow yourself some peace of mind!
    I loved when he chatted with Gov Huck cause he wouldn’t let that guy even finish a statement! Not much of a conversation if its dominated by one side now is it? Give him a plane ticket to the Graham Mansion before ol’ Billy kicks the bucket! Let Brother Graham love him like a real man! Let him spend some time being discipled by Mark Driscoll, N.T. Wright, or Piper! Let Patrick Mead have a minute of his time, cause Mr. Mead can prove Christ to him scientifically and spiritually.

    NO!!! Maher isn’t going to be around those people because his sleep pattern would be thrown off and he might actually have to bat some things around in his little brain.
    Ben Stein didn’t help the cause for Maher either, cause Steins movie probably pushed him over the edge to say that he was going to try to put an end to Christianity.
    Perfect season for this movie though, right!?! People love to celebrate Christ mas, and we always need a good Ebeneezer Scrooge or a Grinch to go around trying to destroy the Holy name of Christ right.

    Can you tell Maher kills me? He makes me laugh really! Maybe if he knew the Lord he would realize that his calling wasn’t to be a comedian! Sorry, just not a funny guy really!

  3. K. Rex Butts says:

    I have not seen the film but I hear Maher talking about it on the Larry King Show and he just struck me as someone who going off half-cocked with anger.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  4. Tony says:

    I came here to find some facts.. Why is it then that there are no facts and only attacks on Bill Maher? Calling him cold and stupid I found way less evidence or “facts” here than on the film Religulous. So out of the entire movie you have five facts to refute. Let’s go over them….

    1. Jesus Christ never existed… What actual proven scientific evidence do you have that is in consensus with historians? You can’t just say, yes he did.

    2. Since the 1800’s there has been a growing consensus, and now most scholars agree that the gospels were not written by Jesus Christ’s apostles but by other Christians.

    3. “Doctor Luke”??? Since when did Luke have a PhD or an MD? And if you think that having a doctorate is a valid reason to listen to someone then why ignore the overwhelming number of PhDs today that are proving evolution was how man was created. Unlike “Doctor Luke” they are all around you today and you can ask them questions and fact check their answers.

    4. Your bible quotes on homosexuality come from the “new international version” which was re-translated in 1973, you will find other versions of the bible have different translations. How many times are the “facts” in your bible getting lost in translation?

    5. The story of Horus dates back to 3000BC and there are parallels that can be drawn between the story of this god and the stories of other gods in all other religions who came after him.

    Why do you need to try and shelter your followers from seeing and searching out the facts for themselves outside of your church’s opinions and teachings? Let people go out and explore the “facts” for themselves, as they can’t be found here. Try starting with Wikipedia or at least an encyclopedia, not just a minister refuting facts with no evidential support. Or maybe the writer can be involved in the next translation of the bible to substantiate his claims.

    • WesWoodell says:

      Hi Tony – I’m on the net briefly here (at a friend’s house) and will respond to your post more thoroughly when service is hooked up at my new place.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂

      • Jason A. W. says:

        No, he wont. there is nothing for him to say as he does not actually base any of this on actual evidence, just on his own sad opinions.

  5. BSH says:

    You misrepresented 2 of statements Bill makes in the movie:

    1) * “There’s no proof that Jesus ever existed.”
    – Bill Maher NEVER says this. Someone tells Bill that it is proven that Jesus existed, and Bill tells him that’s not true. There’s a big difference between him saying that there is no proof about Jesus’s existence (something he didn’t say) and saying that Jesus existence is not absolutely proven.

    3)All the Scriptures condemning homosexuality come from the Old Testament – the New Testament says nothing about it. (Wrong! The New Testament codemns the practice of homosexuality along with the Old. See Romans 1:25-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)

    Wrong, he says that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, he never said that homosexuality wasn’t mentioned in the New Testament.

  6. WesWoodell says:

    Alright – now that I have time to respond to you, Tony …

    “1. Jesus Christ never existed… What actual proven scientific evidence do you have that is in consensus with historians? You can’t just say, yes he did.”

    What proven scientific evidence do I have? As in, locks of hair or drops of blood? None.

    What proven scientific evidence do we have that Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, or Socrates existed? To my knowledge, none. We have to rely on historical reference, and there are plenty of those made of Jesus Christ.

    There are three main sources for Jesus: 1) Pagan sources, 2) Jewish sources, and 3) New Testament documents.

    Pagan sources include:

    Thallus – 52 AD
    1. A Samaritan born historian.
    2. Tries to explain the darkness in Mark 15:33 after the death of Jesus as an eclipse of the sun.
    3. He tries to explain the event that took place in the Bible with something that actually happened in history.
    4. Here’s the significance: the darkness that the Bible mentions was known and accepted in the Roman world as history (whether it was an eclipse or not is irrelevant).

    Tacitus – 115 AD
    1. One of the most outstanding Roman historians of the 2nd century.
    2. While writing of the reign of Nero he notes how Christians were made scapegoats for the Great Fire in AD 64.

    Pliny the Younger
    1. Governor of Bithynia in 112 AD during the reign of Trajan.
    2. Wrote a letter describing he behavior of Christians – thought to be the earliest non-biblical source describing the early Christians.

    Suetonius – 49 AD
    1. Court official and annalist (record keeper) of the imperial house during the reign of Hadrian.
    2. About AD 120 he wrote “The Life of Claudius Ceasar”
    3. Wrote about Jews being expelled from Rome (mentioned in Acts 18:2-3).

    What do these sources demonstrate? That there were followers of Christ, and it is illogical to think that they simply invented Jesus.

    Jewish Sources (p. 209-210 in Examine the Evidence):

    Talmud – 70 to 200 AD
    1. Consists of 63 books (or 63 different writings).
    2. 2 books: Mishnah, and Gemerrah
    3. Sanhedrin 43-A – this passage talks about Jesus being hung on a tree.

    Here’s what we can deduce from the Talmud’s writings:
    a. Jesus existed.
    b. He was crucified.
    c. He performed miracles.
    d. Led people astray.
    e. Jewish leaders were plotting to kill Jesus.

    Josephus (well known Jewish historian)
    1. Mentioned Jesus.
    2. Again, this account proves that Jesus lived and He died.

    Then, of course, you have the New Testament documents whose early manuscripts number in the thousands and were widely distributed and accepted as historical fact.

    “2. Since the 1800’s there has been a growing consensus, and now most scholars agree that the gospels were not written by Jesus Christ’s apostles but by other Christians.”

    I haven’t heard that and don’t believe it. If you have a source for that statement, I’d be interested in looking at it.

    “3. “Doctor Luke”??? Since when did Luke have a PhD or an MD? And if you think that having a doctorate is a valid reason to listen to someone then why ignore the overwhelming number of PhDs today that are proving evolution was how man was created. Unlike “Doctor Luke” they are all around you today and you can ask them questions and fact check their answers.”

    I called him Doctor Luke because he was a Doctor.

    Look:

    Colossians 4:14
    14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

    That verse is talking about the author of Luke and Acts.

    I’m very aware that a doctorate or Ph.D isn’t indicative of true wisdom. After all, look at all the people with doctorates and Ph.Ds that believe evolution is how man was created :p

    Science will never prove the Theory of Evolution to be true because science can only prove what it can reproduce. No one will ever be able to reproduce in a lab the happy set of coincidences the Theory of Evolution claims to have occurred.

    Speaking of fact checking, Doctor Luke WAS a serious historian. A good example of that is Luke 3:1-2. Just in those two verses, there are fifteen facts mentioned that can be verified historically, and that’s just one example.

    “4. Your bible quotes on homosexuality come from the “new international version” which was re-translated in 1973, you will find other versions of the bible have different translations. How many times are the “facts” in your bible getting lost in translation?”

    The New Testament documents condemn homosexuality along with the Old Testament documents.

    The NIV isn’t perfect, but the translations I posted earlier are good. I know, because I can read Greek myself.

    Here’s the verse I alluded to in Romans in several different translations.

    Rom 1:25-32
    25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator– who is forever praised. Amen.
    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
    27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
    28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
    29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
    30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
    31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
    32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
    (NIV)

    Rom 1:25-32
    25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
    26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
    29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
    30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
    31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
    (KJV)

    Rom 1:25-32
    25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
    27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
    28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
    29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; {they are} gossips,
    30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
    31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
    32 and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
    (NAS)

    Rom 1:25-32
    25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
    27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
    29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
    30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
    31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
    32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
    (NKJ)

    All of those are good translations, and all of them come from the New Testament.

    You are right that sometimes different translations will use different words. For instance, sometimes where the NIV uses the word “homosexuality” other translations will use the phrase “sexual immorality.”

    While sexual immorality involves more than just homosexuality, homosexual acts are always considered sexually immoral in the Bible regardless of cultural norms.

    “5. The story of Horus dates back to 3000BC and there are parallels that can be drawn between the story of this god and the stories of other gods in all other religions who came after him.”

    Again, I encourage you to go read this article: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/12/zeitgeist-of-zeitgeist-movie.html

    Many of the parallels you’re referring to were popularized by The Zeitgeist Movie, and aren’t exactly accurate or based in verified history.

    Thanks again for stopping by the blog 🙂

    • Dave says:

      Theory of evolution? Clearly you don’t understand what theory means. I guess you don’t believe in the “theory” of gravity either, because that’s what it is still called. Science has proven both theories you blind, biased ninny. You call Maher stupid and then spout off such stupidity of your own. Typical Christian unfortunately. There is probably no god. Get over it and enjoy this life while you can.

  7. WesWoodell says:

    Hi BSH – thank you too for stopping by. You said:

    “You misrepresented 2 of statements Bill makes in the movie:

    1) * “There’s no proof that Jesus ever existed.”
    – Bill Maher NEVER says this. Someone tells Bill that it is proven that Jesus existed, and Bill tells him that’s not true. There’s a big difference between him saying that there is no proof about Jesus’s existence (something he didn’t say) and saying that Jesus existence is not absolutely proven.

    3)All the Scriptures condemning homosexuality come from the Old Testament – the New Testament says nothing about it. (Wrong! The New Testament codemns the practice of homosexuality along with the Old. See Romans 1:25-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)

    Wrong, he says that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, he never said that homosexuality wasn’t mentioned in the New Testament.”

    To point #1 – I see what you’re saying – maybe I fudged on that. I don’t, however, see much difference. Bill implies that Jesus may have never existed.

    In response to the homosexuality comment – you may be right about that – I need to go back and check my notes.

  8. […] There’s a good discussion going on in the comments following the post – check it out: ‘Religulous’ in a Nutshell […]

  9. CIADirector says:

    Ummm let’s see: “There’s no proof” and “Someone tells Bill that it is proven that Jesus existed, and Bill tells him that’s not true”.
    Sounds the same to me.

    Great write up Wes. Keep up the good work.

  10. Krunt. says:

    u guys are all completely ignorant, from the bottom of my heart, i truly mean that.

    if ur so close minded about being a christian and not even gunna listen, then go home and **** or something, no body gives a **** what you think, if your not gunna listen to anything else.

    the point of this movie isn’t to bash anyone, he’s asking people questions, weather their preachers, or scientists who are religious, he try’d for the pope, but got kicked out.

    the real point of this movie, is to prove that, “while religion is still on this planet, there will NOT, be peace. if people in the middle east think that ola will save them because they kill themselves, thats not peace. if christians are waving fists at a guy like maher who simply said he just wanted questions, that is not peace.

    if u wanna beleive theirs an afterlife, go ahead and do it. i do beleive there is, but im not gunna blow myself up to get there, nor try to fight anyone else.

    • Pete says:

      Krunt, you’re an idiot. Personally, I agree wholeheartedly with Bill Maher’s perspective in Religulous and I am glad that he made the documentary.

      I have to say, however, that you are making all of the Bill Maher’s supporters look like morons with your terrible grammar, spelling and absurd adaptations of the ideas from Religulous.

  11. Seth Simmons says:

    wow! calling someone closed minded cause they don’t feel the same way you do kinda makes me feel like a kettle and Krunt would be the pot.

    The day I believe that Bill Maher is out for peace will be the day when that sad man gets a life and doesn’t have to go buying women or have Hef get them for him. He fought with everyone that ever showed up on his HBO show. He is so full of peace himself that he got the boot from HBO. But you are so right Krunt…”he just wanted questions.”

    If he wanted questions, why not go to someone like Billy Graham, John Piper, Mark Driscoll? Cause he would be made to look ignorant? Because his movie wouldn’t have been able to get the agenda accomplished? YES & …..YES!

    And speaking of agendas…what would yours be in what sounds like wasted time for you even stopping by to even post a comment cause Wes is so ignorant?

  12. CIADirector says:

    Wow Krunt…where to start? You call all of us “completely ignorant” and “close minded ” and then go on to use words like “gunna” and call Alllah – “ola”.

    Pot meet Kettle!

    Peace on earth? Never going to happen.

  13. Krunt. says:

    haha, im sorry guys, there’s a difference between ignorance and not haveing any respect. i don’t have respect for “allah” so i can call him ola i beleive.

    and seth, notice how bill tries to talk to highly respected, educated religious people… including the pope. whom… didn’t want to talk to bill… wonder why…

    and what is it you have against bill mr. seth? did he affend your itty bitty wittle rewigion 😦 😦 :(????

  14. MC says:

    Hi Wes,

    I don’t feel like starting up another argument regarding a couple errors/misrepresentations in your post, but I’d just like to note that maybe you should remove some of the misquoted sections that commentor BSH noted.

    Anyway, the reason I’m commenting in the first place is to share with you and your readers an episode of “30 Days” by Morgan Spurlock about an Atheist woman living with a Christian family for 30 days. Maybe you could write a nutshell review on it? I’d be interested to discuss with someone how the family’s (particularly the father’s) opinions and comments make sense to anyone.

    -MC

  15. WesWoodell says:

    Thanks for stopping by the blog, MC, and thanks for the link … I’ll check it out 🙂

  16. Mmj's_stuff says:

    I thought the movie was an inspiration for those of us who have chosen science over fairy tales. Our numbers are growing and we are out here, watching, while all the “true believers” kill and die in the name of God.

    I did find Bill a bit “in your face” but in the end, he was really just asking questions. I think he’s a revolutionary – he’s taking a very tough, firm stance where others hem and haw….. he’s saying, “enough is enough!” What’s wrong with that?

    I don’t doubt there was a Jesus, but I do doubt that he would hate, destroy and trash others to the level we see around the world today.

    I haven’t seen any of his more rational arguments discussed at all. Like, why we don’t believe the earth is flat anymore and we don’t believe spitting on wounds will heal them. Yet, so many cling to stories that were obviously written to control the population of the time and to explain what couldn’t be explained because we didn’t yet have any understanding of scientific principals.

    If there is so much consensus in the bible, then why are there as many interpretations of what that bible says as there are people trying to interpret it?

    Why do so many cling to one rule in Leviticus but ignore the others? I’ll bet plenty who hate homosexuals would happily wear a silk shirt with blue jeans while working on Sunday after kissing their wives goodbye even though they had already had a bowl movement. (3 rules in Leviticus nobody follows anymore…. where is that darned expiration date chart on all the bible rules… I keep losing mine.)

    Let’s face it, a majority of people we run into practice a “cafeteria style” religion. This isn’t religious, it’s ridiculous. Hmmm…sort of religulous!

    I’ll have one from this column and one from that column. Thanks! I’m all spiritual now that I’ve chosen which two things in the bible I want to preach about!

    • WesWoodell says:

      Hi MMJ – thanks for the comment.

      I agree – if Jesus were here today He would surprise a lot of people by being quite a bit different than how they’d imagine He would be.

      I don’t believe the stories in the Bible were written with population control in mind – I believe they were written down to tell people about God.

      The men and women who authored or were in the stories themselves had irrational and non-scientific things happening to them, around them, or through them. Every single book of the Bible has God-given authority in that it either 1) verifiably predicted the future through predictive-prophecy, or 2) had an author who could peform miracles (not simply parlor tricks – I’m talking about things like causing the blind to see, lame to walk, etc.).

      What you choose to believe is ultimately up to you, but you’d be wrong to assume the Bible is simply a book like any other.

      You also asked: “If there is so much consensus in the bible, then why are there as many interpretations of what that bible says as there are people trying to interpret it?”

      There are a couple of reasons. First and most obviously, men are involved. Men are infallable, imperfect, and prone to mistakes. Just like there are 100 different theories floating around in scientific circles regarding the true cause of climate change, you’ll often get 100 different theories surrounding a Christian doctrine or teaching or the different things an obscure verse might actually mean.

      Secondly, the language used in our translations needs to be updated from time to time simply because language changes over time. English 1,000 years ago sounds much different from English today, and English in 1,000 more years (if we’re around that long) will likely be unrecognizable from English today. Most major versions of the Bible were written with that goal in mind – simply to keep up with contemporary language.

      Even with all the different translations out there, they are very similiar for the most part. Just about any translation you get will be a good one (with a couple of exceptions). None of the core Christian doctrines would be compromised (again, with a couple of exceptions – there are some translations that were written with an agenda in mind that would fall into the realm of heresy).

      Anyway, I hope you’ll investigate further some of the things I’ve shared with you.

      Blessings.

      • Atheist Raptor says:

        “First and most obviously, men are involved. Men are infallable, imperfect, and prone to mistakes.”

        It was all written, translated and whispered over centuries between men.

        I just think it was all badly written and now you have people starting wars and cable channels. Nobody counts the prayers that didnt work.

        Did you know there’s a logical explanation to getting a phone call from someone the minute you start thinking about them? 🙂

        Science rocks.

  17. […] that Bill says things that are common mis-beliefs and blatantly untrue. You should check those out here. Yes, he has an agenda to unmask religion as foolish and harmful, but I think he gives us much to […]

  18. Brian says:

    People who do reviews, should also consider the negativity that they possess going into a film. Especially if that person thinks they know all of the answers.

    I feel about your blog (Yes, I just called it a blog) the same way you felt about the movie. You missed the fact that a lot of the people that he did interview, such as “Dr.” Jeremiah Cummings and Jesus of Orlando are followed and believed heavily in our culture. His point was that people find it so easy to follow suit, heir go what evidence can be shown to disprove it. Bill’s point was to question faith and find out why you’re actually giving up your paycheck.. And it’s YOUR fault for perceiving that any other way.

  19. Justin Davis says:

    Ok… First I like this movie alot. It shows the ability to question the existence of an invisible man who watches everything we do.. It is only dangerous if people accept everything in life without logically looking at the evidence for themselves and deciding whether they believe it. I want to address something I read at the top. In the movie Bill Maher does not say that the new testament does not talk about homosexuality, he says that Jesus does not talk about homosexuality. So, it is irrelevant that you give scripture because he never argued that point. The next point… Bill Maher does not interview a single bible scholar. True he does not interview a bible scholar but he does interview a scientist who believes in the bible and had him speechless and he interviews a vatican scientist who states that the is not science in scripture. None! And for another reason you seem to be focusing on his “facts” instead of the real purpose. Reality! An invisible man who hears everyone whisper and has a special list of ten laws he gave a man on a mountain when no one else was around….mmmhh! And Bill’s favorite Jonah.. you know because men today can still live in a fish and travel from city to city. Amazing that people actually believe this stuff..

  20. dead says:

    just reviving the discussion.

    just wanna clear up some facts on your response to tony.
    1. you claim that there are many sources to verify the existence of jesus: pagan, jewish and new testament documents.

    of the pagan sources you have written down, none of them state anything about knowing jesus and verifying his existence. most of your sources just talked about christians. also your statement: “What do these sources demonstrate? That there were followers of Christ, and it is illogical to think that they simply invented Jesus,” that is a weird statement in my opinion. if a bunch of people follow something, it doesnt mean that they didnt just invent it, after all people from all cultures have invented various other religions, how is christianity any different?

    your next two sources, the jewish and the new testament cant be trusted in an objective point of view because they are religious texts and are biased towards the existence of christ.

    3. “Science will never prove the Theory of Evolution to be true because science can only prove what it can reproduce. No one will ever be able to reproduce in a lab the happy set of coincidences the Theory of Evolution claims to have occurred.”

    if you have taken a serious science class, you will know that this statement is outrageous. there is an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community about the theory of evolution by the darwinian sense of natural selection. theres a lot of data in fossils, genetics and physiology to suggest that evolution is pretty much true. i trust the people who have the credibility, proper merits, and trust of the scientific community:

    http://www.evolutionvscreationism.info/Evolution%20vs.%20Creationism/Select%20Videos.html

    as for the 100 theories about climate change, that may be true, but there is again a consensus among almost all of the scientific community that climate change is caused by man and the release of co2 in the atmosphere.

    concluding note: i feel that you are backing up a lot of your points with “facts” from the bible. i dont really feel that it really helps you because that is part of what people including bill are arguing about, the bible being false. i see this argument: the bible is the word of god. the bible says that god is real, therefore god is real. (bare assertion fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bare_assertion_fallacy)

    • Adam says:

      Evolution is a “theory” the same way that gravity is. It is accepted but in science not certain. For instance, while you may think gravity hasn’t changed as a scientific concept since Newton conceived of it, you’d be wrong. Einstein developed a new theory of gravity.

      If you want to claim gravity is just a silly theory because it’s not static, that’s your thing. But to say evolution is just a theory as though that is enough to discount mountains of evidence demonstrating its existence is worse than anything Bill did in this film.

  21. WesWoodell says:

    Dead – the whole of the Christian religion centers around the belief that Jesus Christ existed and rose from the dead after being in the tomb for three days.

    CHRISTians existed because CHRIST existed. Also, there are more sources available than just the ones I posted.

    From an academic standpoint, the idea that Jesus may not have existed is simply absurd. The evidence is overwhelming.

    Secondly, I have taken several “serious” science classes, and I’ve gotten good grades. If you’ll review the claims science makes about itself you’ll find the only thing science claims it can prove is what it can reproduce in a lab.

    The Theory of Evolution is just that … a THEORY … and as a scientific singularity (meaning science teaches the Big Bang can only happen once), it cannot be proven. It was a theory then, is a theory now, and will be a theory in the future … forever.

    Your implying that it is certainly factual is more outrageous than my claim that it can’t. Many scientists disagree 100% with you.

    On that point, I have several friends who are serious scientists who happen to be Christians. That discipline isn’t incompatible with faith.

    Lastly, my belief that the Bible is the word of God isn’t without concrete evidence to back it up. I encourage you to look into it if you never have … here’s a good place to start: http://www.everystudent.com/features/bible.html

    • Shannon says:

      Wes, you said “the whole of the Christian religion centers around the belief that Jesus Christ existed and rose from the dead after being in the tomb for three days.

      CHRISTians existed because CHRIST existed”.

      Following that reasoning, all the gods of all the religions and cultures that have ever existed must be real, because a bunch of people have said they were real. A bunch of people have said the world was flat, too, but we’re pretty sure in this day and age that it isn’t. I’m sorry, but the fact that Christians exist does not prove much of anything other than that Christians exist. Did something happen to cause the formation of Christianity as a religion? Absolutely. But the belief in the divinity of Christ and even the existence of God is just that – belief. It’s not a proven fact, or even well-supported theory.

      • WesWoodell says:

        Shannon – you may want to refer to comment #7. There’s plenty of evidence to support the belief that Jesus Christ existed – more than any other historical figure from that time period.

      • Dead says:

        Sorry Wes, but I think your evidence and sources are iffy at best. Most of the evidence you have shown are from the Bible or other holy texts. Its like holy texts trying to prove itself, not very convincing. Most, if not all of your evidence also are made a long time after Jesus’ death. Josephus’ account was also weak. Not only are there doubts about it’s accuracy because it is believed that it may have been tampered, but it was written years after Jesus’ death. Also, when you look at it, Josephus was born after Jesus’ death (if Jesus died at the age of 33, that would be around 33 AD and Josephus was supposedly born 37 AD). So, the way I see it, Christ’s existence is still up for debate.

  22. dead says:

    i believe your definition of theory is not the scientific definition of theory. go to my link and watch the videos and learn what scientists mean by theory. in their discipline theory doesnt mean opinion. its not “just a theory” meaning its not just an “opinion.” Theory means an explanation of a phenomena based on EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. It means that theory is based on fact not opinion. again there are countless data in the form of genetic studies and the fossil record to support the theory of evolution. as for evolution not happening, its happening all the time. thats the reason we have to get vaccinated every year. its also the reason why diseases go from one species to another (ie. swine flu).

    i personally dont buy “That discipline isn’t incompatible with faith.” i believe that it can be. why cant evolution just be a part of god’s greater work? if he really is above us and works in ways we dont understand, why couldnt god have created natural selection as a means for new species to emerge?

    and again if people follow something, its not necessarily true. after all, the greeks believed in their god zeus, the romans jupiter, and various other cultures such as the aztecs, mayans, hindus believed in their own set of gods, but does that mean those god(s) really existed? i just want to see concrete first hand account of a historian that is not affiliated with a holy text to confirm (or deny) christ’s existence. that is the biggest piece of information i want to verify to see if bill maher is correct in stating that there is no evidence jesus existed. really, i thought jesus actually existed until he said that, and then i did some research and found evidence ONLY in holy texts that say he actually existed.

    but please watch the videos i have sent you, it pretty much explains the theory of evolution and how its not “just a theory” and how many people dont really understand what a theory is and what the theory of evolution really is

  23. WesWoodell says:

    “Why cant evolution just be a part of god’s greater work?”

    Could be, God is God after all, but I don’t think it is. There are some major problems with the theory.

    You also said “I just want to see concrete first hand account of a historian that is not affiliated with a holy text to confirm (or deny) christ’s existence. that is the biggest piece of information i want to verify to see if bill maher is correct in stating that there is no evidence jesus existed.”

    The Jewish historian named Josephus I mentioned would be a good source to look into. Keep in mind that Josephus was a JEWISH historian – that is, he wasn’t a fan of Jesus. In fact, those who stuck with Judaism thought Jesus was a false prophet and believed him to be their enemy.

    To be fair, Josephus’ account may have been tampered with over the years, but we are positive he did refer to Jesus as living and being a spiritual leader among the Jewish peoples.

    Here’s a fair article dealing with Josephus’ account of Jesus: http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm

    It is very convincing to me that even the enemies of Jesus acknowledged His existence.

    I will check out the websites you’ve provided later today.

  24. H Maline P says:

    Wow. That was a waste of my time. I was expecting a review or some actual fact checking- not a rant by some Christain with his panties in a bunch.

  25. WesWoodell says:

    “Sorry Wes, but I think your evidence and sources are iffy at best. Most of the evidence you have shown are from the Bible or other holy texts. Its like holy texts trying to prove itself, not very convincing.”

    Dead, I don’t know what else to tell you. You’re dismissing historically valid texts and letters that were written very near to the time of Jesus’ life simply because they were written by people of faith.

    You’re dismissing the Talmud because it’s a “holy text” – even though it was written by the enemies of Jesus (Jews) who would have LOVED to have made people believe He never existed. But they didn’t go that route, because too many people were eyewittnesses of Jesus’ life and ministry. Yes the Talmud is a holy text, but those who wrote it DO NOT LIKE THE NEW TESTAMENT. They believe the NT to be heresy, would have done anything to keep people from believing it, yet even they admit Jesus existed, could perform miracles, and had many followers.

    You’re dismissing Josephus because he was born in 37 AD – a short four years after the death of Jesus. That doesn’t make sense, because Josephus grew up in a Jewish community around thousands and thousands of people who were alive at the time of Jesus’ ministry. If Jesus hadn’t existed, don’t you think it would have been common knowledge among the Jewish peoples? You’re also dismissing the fact that Josephus was a serious, trained historian whose entire job was to check up on the facts of history. He did this for the nation of Rome – the world’s superpower of the time. Josephus knew what he was doing – it was his life. I’m sure you believe Hitler existed. Why? You weren’t alive when he was in power, were you? Probably not. In fact, I’m willing to bet your birth is even further removed from the death of Hitler than four years, but guess what – that doesn’t matter. You know he existed because thousands and thousands of eyewitnesses are still alive today. You can say he existed because you’re relying on the testimony of others. If you were to say, “Hitler existed,” and write it down it would be silly for someone else to come up to you and say your statement is invalid because you were born a few years after his death. The same is true of Josephus and Jesus.

    Also, the earliest letters that make up today’s New Testament began circulating widely in the early 60s. Again, thousands of people who were eyewitnesses to the ministry of Jesus were still alive. If he’d never existed, where is the historical record of the uprising against this new movement based on His non-existence?

    If you’re going to ignore valid evidence because it points to Jesus and choose to believe He never existed no matter what, then there’s probably nothing I can say to you to make a difference.

    Go look up Jesus in an encyclopedia. He’s listed because He existed. Any objective historian will tell you that. Those that say He never did do so because they don’t view the “holy texts” as valid historical documents because they talk about things like people performing miracles (if God is real, don’t you think He could give people the power to perform miracles?).

    The shear amount of evidence pointing to Jesus’ existence is greater than any other historical figure of old.

    You’re entering into your investigation with a bias, and are operating from a presupposition that “those texts can’t be true because of the other things they contain.”

    Dead, with all due respect, that’s not an honest look at the evidence.

  26. dead says:

    To reiterate my argument, I had always, until now, thought that Christ existed for sure. Even though I am not religious or am convinced in Christ’s divinity, I acknowledged the fact that he indeed existed and was a good and wise man. After watching the film Religulous, however, I was stricken at the fact that Christ’s existence was disputed. Then I did some research to find out if there is evidence that he existed or not. I was unable to find any other source besides holy texts which are considered to be a reliable source with undisputed evidence of Christ’s existence. I also have not seen any first hand accounts of his existence that isn’t in a holy text. Why don’t I trust religious text? It is because I believe that they too are biased. The Bible, for instance, is deeply invested in the idea of the divinity of Jesus (at least the NT is) Why don’t I trust the Talmud? Its parts were written in 200CE and 500CE supposedly, a long time after Jesus’ supposed existence. Why do I consider religious texts as biased? Because they have a lot to lose when the idea of God and Jesus does not exist. Again, what I am looking for is, hopefully, an accurate first hand account of Jesus outside of the influences of religion. Btw, you can’t really count the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke either. Whichever one is believed to be earliest (since it is also debated on which gospel came first) was written supposedly around 50-80 CE, what’s that, at least 20 years after Jesus supposedly died? How can one expect writing about something that happened 20 years in the past accurate?

    Again, I am not convinced that Josephus is an example because the validity and accuracy of his mention of Jesus is suspected to be tampered, not to mention that he never met Jesus.

    On Hitler, why do I believe he exists? Because there are unbiased accounts of his existence accompanied by photographs and films. There are records that he existed by his contemporaries.

    Lets make this fun, however, and compare evidence between Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ. I believe Caesar existed because there is strong evidence for his existence. He was Caesar, made statues, coins, and left a few pieces of written work that he himself wrote. In addition, there are many accounts of his existence from his contemporaries, people who actually have seen him or were alive when he existed. Individuals such as Marcus Tullius Cicero, Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust), Gaius Valerius Catullus, and Gaius Asinius Pollio. They also weren’t invested in the idea of Julius Caesar, in other words, they weren’t preaching Caesar’s divinity as a basis for a religion. Also note, I am not using the argument that the existence of the Roman Empire is evidence that Julius Caesar existed.

    I have looked up Jesus on the internet, encyclopedia, etc., but I am still not convinced he existed. In the process, I have also looked at other religious figures such as Zeus, the Buddha, Thor, and Shiva and found them all, does that mean they also existed? Using your argument, yes.

    “The shear amount of evidence pointing to Jesus’ existence is greater than any other historical figure of old.”

    If there is a lot of evidence, then why are they only limited to religious and non-contemporary sources?

    I will admit, however, that I do have bias, but I am trying to approach this situation as objectively as possible. I am merely looking for evidence besides holy texts. If there are so many, why can’t I find them? That being said, you should also approach this with as little bias as possible. Obviously you have bias as well, albeit on the opposite side of the argument. In your own words, you are operating from a presupposition that “those holy texts are true because not only was I raised on the tenet that they are true, but religious leaders have also said that those texts are true, and saying otherwise is blasphemous.”

    Also, I mean everything I say with the most respect. I am looking at your evidence but fail to see their significance or accuracy. Are you putting “faith” in your evidence?

  27. Darwin (real name) says:

    Respected Mr. Woodell,

    OK, you win, Jesus of Nazareth existed. He existed as a man. Jesus was a consequence of the evolution of life. Ironic, isn’t it?

    …that there are some psychotic people that call themselves messiahs does not bother me (a lot), what bothers and scares me is that there are some gullible people (sometimes in great numbers) that do believe in their beliefs. Let’s not forget Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshal Applewhite, and a hundred others. Granted, maybe they didn’t call themselves messiahs, but they were religious leaders with great charisma. That is one of the points that Mr. Maher is addressing. You can’t possibly disregard that point, the abuse of the power of religion, by some charismatic “religulous” leaders, onto gullible people, by the treat of eternal damnation…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I see it all the time, fellow atheists trying to explain why god does not exist, without much success. Lets do it the other way, I want to see (read 😉 a theist explain why not the Big Bang.

    I can’t talk much about evolution, I’m not a life sciences person, but I can talk about the theorized origin of the Universe. I would like to read your comments on why The Theory of The Big Bang is incorrect.

    I am not trying to portrait myself taller than you Sir, rather, if you are going to affirm (by association) that god created the universe, then explain why not the Big Bang, and why not evolution, for that matter. Please don’t say because it is not in the bible.

    With all due respect,

    An atheist Physicist.

    p.s. Granted, the latter part of this letter is off topic, forgive me please. But in the grand scheme of things, the friendly argument is over science OR religion, isn’t it?

    Thank you.

  28. Darwin (real name) says:

    Good grief,

    “by the treat of eternal damnation…”
    should read “by the threat of eternal damnation…”

    To err is human, to forgive divine…
    Neither one is company policy…

  29. Gary White says:

    Well no, the evidence for Jesus is flimsy at best. There are no first hand accounts of Jesus (remember the New Testament was written over a hundred years AFTER Jesus died). Josephus was born a few years after Jesus died as well. There is still debate in the historical community that Jesus actually existed (as a flesh and blood man who only claimed to be the messiah). I would say there there is a good chance a Jesus of Nazareth existed as a human. The only problem is that Apollonius of Tyana existed, Horus (Egyptian God) had the same story, Arthrongs existed who claimed to be the messiah, there was a plague of messiahs in the first century.

  30. free man says:

    Does Wes realize that throughout his blog and his rebuttals he still doesn’t provide one single fact to support Christ’s existence. If anything he’s strengthening the atheists point on how Christians use disproven sources and propaganda to perpetuate their fairy tale. Religion is the last true form of human slavery and the church is the most dangerous criminal organization in the history of the world with more blood on its hands then Hitler. If it wasn’t for the dark ages we’d be colonizing space by now. If there is a god he is an extremely cruel person and is worthy of nobody’s devotion.

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