This starts out as any typical documentary where Bill Maher presents that he is on a journey to find the truth about the validity or stupidity of religion. By claiming agnosticism (when clearly he is not) Maher pretends to be fair by acting like he is un-biasedly going to explore religion, saying "I have to find out." Shortly afterward one can clearly see that this is purely a Bill Maher ego trip and a Borat-style type of mockumentary. He doesn't really bring any debate, discussion of issues, or scrutiny to the table. Instead he just resorts to a religious joke fest which is all very entertaining and humorous, but then the real joke is calling this an intellectual documentary on the criticism of religion.
To prove his points he finds only the most extreme or corrupt religious fanatics that are even considered nutcases in their own respective religious communities. He especially loves throwing loaded questions to people who are unlearned in their religion, or others who have skewed off-base and non-canon ideas within their own beliefs. He questions laymen and doesn't once acknowledge the experts or learned crowd in religion.
Some of his subjects include pastors who don't even know what their bible says, a Jew who doesn't believe Israel is currently a nation who supports that the holocaust was from God, gay Muslims, a weed smoking church, and a Jewish inventor that creates contraptions to avoid Sabbath laws. These people are all extremely obscure and on the outer fringes of these religious groups.
At one point Maher even tries to argue that the existence of the historical man Jesus was up for debate. I don't know if he actually believes this or if he was just trying to fluster the interviewee and make him falter (I think the latter). But if he does actually believe this he would be laughed out academia by nearly every scholar, theist and atheist alike.
Bill does make many valid criticisms of religions but the problem is he leaves no room for any real intellectual rebuttal. He is mostly catching people off-guard and asking loaded questions. He had some good points like on the U.S. not being founded as a Christian nation, or the absurd idea that "Christianity is American." But there were other claimed "facts" completely false like his information on the Horus/Jesus debate or pulling despicable Biblical stories and not really addressing what those passages were actually about. Maher also asserts that all religion is violent, when in fact just as much or more violence has been done in the name of no religion. He eventually moves on to other religions, but really never far from Judaism based ones which really doesn't touch on most of the world.
This is without a doubt a very funny piece (unless you are extremely offended by it all), but it would be completely inaccurate to call it an intellectual one. It's just Bill Maher being Bill Maher. Even to the point of him bringing up other irrelevant issues like his views on the environment and nuclear applications. He didn't actually do extensive research, he's mostly just shooting from the hip and catching dumb people off-guard. The makers even cut the scenes cleverly in the interviews (weird pauses, strange faces) for extra awkwardness and comedy.
The only thing this "documentary" really proved was that there are a lot of people that believe strange things some of them being very stupid. Most people watching this already knew that beforehand. At one point Maher says: "Religion is arrogant certitude," which ironically also perfectly describes himself.
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