In his documentary ‘Religulous’ from 2008 comedian Bill Maher speaks up against organized religion. Not the idea of God but the institutions.
He travels around the world and talks to various religious leaders. He compares them to the rock stars. They dress in ridiculous costumes but their followers do not seem to mind that. He also interviews some scientists and politicians. He asks them questions and very often they are not able to answer them. Sometimes they even obviously do not know some of the ideas of their own religions. For example, one evangelist claims that Jesus didn’t have anything against rich people. He cannot even remember the quote from Matthew 19:24: ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God’.
Maher then moves on to nationalism and discusses the connection between religion and politics. He reminds us that the so-called Fathers of the Nation (Benjamin Franklin, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson among others) did not want the America to be a religious country. He also believes that Non-believers (people who do not want to be associated with any of the modern religions) counted at the time at 16 percent of the American population should be represented in the House of Representatives. They should have lobbyists fighting for the secularization of the state.
He then recalls his childhood when he was going to church with his family before they all stopped when he was a teenager. He visits the Creation Museum in Kentucky built by the creationist who deny evolution. And in the Holy Land Experience in Florida he even talks to Jesus. Well, an actor impersonating Jesus. He asks him if it doesn’t bother him that ‘his story is similar to many other gods before him, like for example Egyptian god Horus, son of Osiris’. Later he talks to a man who claims to be the second coming of Christ. He also makes fun of Scientology and Mormonism, explaining that new religions have to be even more crazy than the old ones to stand out.
Finally, he talks about freedom of speech and other reasons why organized religions are dangerous for humanity. He goes to Jerusalem, the holly city of three faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But instead of co-operating they forever fight with each other. Many people suffered and died because of these institutions that over the years persuaded people that they can talk to God. He believes that non-believers should take over and lead the world so he calls them up to action. It is generally accepted for politicians to be religious even though he persuades us that religious beliefs are similar to insanity and we should not let religious people lead us anymore.
So, the final message is that modern religions are dangerous for the planet and until we get rid of them, we are inevitably heading towards the human-made end of the world.