So, last weekend I saw the film Religulous, which is Bill Maher's take on the current state of world religion. If I hadn't paid money for it, I wouldn't have sat through it. Not because it was bad. Not because it made me think. But because it made me uncomfortable, at times immensely so.
I'm not sure how aggressive Bill Maher normally is, but MAN was he aggressive in this movie. Which serves a purpose, an important purpose - to challenge institutions which are not challenged frequently enough. I think there's many important questions to be asked about world religions, and he asks many of them in this movie, and makes some interesting points and challenges some ridiculousness.
What I don't agree with is when he ridicules an individual because of his/her belief, which at times he does in this movie. This for me detracted from the main points he was making about religious institutions and the leaders of these institutions, and also was just plain rude. But I guess rudeness is the basis of half of comedy, which is why many people laughed in the theater.
My friends and I had much discussion about the movie afterwards. It's stated in the movie that there are only about 16% declared agnostics/atheists in the world, and I think maybe 1% (likely much less - .01%) of those might see this movie, and likely noone else. Bill Maher is angry about this subject and it comes across. There are some funny parts, but truly this is a movie about crazy religousness, and really in his opinion, all religion is crazy.
This premise made me uncomfortable. Because no matter what, I was born and raised a Catholic and was pretty religious until I was in 7th grade. It doesn't go away easily - things get into your system and don't come out.
One time while living in Germany we went on a trip to Italy. The headmaster of the school was Jewish (imagine that) and we were visiting a church. He went up onto the podium up front and even over to where the chalice was and my instinct was to tell him to get off - to me it was like someone was scraping fingernails on a blackboard. He looked at me bemusedly but did step down. The thing is, to the inner me it was a space reserved for the priests, and his curious meanderings were not right. Just as some of the things that came out of Bill Maher's mouth in the movie were not right. I caught myself often with my arms crossed and my legs crossed and very tense, and I'd struggle to let it go and just take it in. Which I did to the extent possible. Perhaps it's like when you're getting a semi-friendly divorce. It's ok if I say bad things about my ex-ish, but if others do, I defend him.
I think I need to see the movie again, so maybe I can listen better. I would definitely suggest seeing it.