Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher has issued the latest “call to atheist arms” in his recently released documentary “Religulous.”
He wants his fellow non-believers and doubters to “come out of the closet” to counter what he views as religion’s dangerous influence on the world. To do so, he preaches to the converted in “Religulous”, a scathing documentary that skewers Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
The film is part of the “neo-atheist” backlash to the rising influence of religion in public life, following a path recently blazed by a trio of best-selling books by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Dawkins, a renowned Oxford biologist, has also presented a documentary critical of religion called “Root of all Evil?” on British television.
The Maher film obviously aims to entertain — the audience at the viewing I attended in a suburb north of Dallas laughed almost non-stop through the whole show and a colleague of mine in Arizona reported the same at one he attended. You can see our report here.
But Maher clearly has a political purpose in mind just weeks ahead of the Nov. 4 presidential election between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. The latter picked conservative Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin , a staunch conservative Christian, as his running mate to energize an evangelical base which Maher regards as scary.