Documentary Tackles a Touchy Subject

Bill Maher’s “Religulous” may be one of the boldest anti-religious films to have yet hit theatres. Maher has produced a daring documentary that examines certain absurdities of faith and the destructive nature of religion in our world.
Undeniably controversial, Maher attempts to persecute the ignorance which faith organizations have instilled into our global society. Primarily, Maher analyzes the incongruities of all major world religions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Mormonism. He investigates and in turn evaluates the doctrines of these religions with such a level of vigorous skepticism that perhaps much of the audience will walk away with an altered perspective on faith, if not an entirely new perspective altogether.
Maher, a known comedian, also succeeds at making the film incredibly humorous through clever, insightful commentary and creative editing. Throughout the documentary, there is a constant shuffle between his personal video diary, excerpts from religious events and films, and most importantly, his numerous interviews between prominent religious leaders, political figures and the common believer.
This style of editing does Maher’s ideas justice; however, those reluctant to accept to his style and arguments may label him as an elitist. While Maher certainly is an able spokesman of the non-believing minority, his raunchiness, lack of conservatism and cocky attitude may turn some viewers off from the movie. Nevertheless, the film has proved quite popular despite Maher’s goal to encourage an inquisitive, unyielding attitude towards religious creed.
Maher makes it explicitly clear that the purpose behind the film is to “promote doubt” and he does so by appealing to audience’s rationale and humor. However, his effort is only effective to a certain degree because as aforementioned, his lack of conventional sensitivity towards religious matters put off a portion of his viewers.
Perhaps the underlying reason that the film has been christened as such a polemical documentary is because of Maher’s zealousness in ripping apart religious doctrine. Such an attack on faith will have some clapping and others perturbed.
Faith enthusiast in particular may be disgruntled with Maher’s assertions concerning contradictions and superstitious quality of numerous religions. However, Maher’s perspectives are thought-provoking and should be considered in the ongoing, worldwide debate over religious validity.
So, as a fair warning, this documentary is very liberal by some standards, and those with traditionalist values may want to shy away. Yet, for the individuals who are on the fence about religious institutions and beliefs, this film has the potential to be incredibly stimulating. Moreover, if one is willing to experiment with a fresh, crass and realistic take on faith, “Religulous” will most likely be an epic win.

Grade: A-