Tonight the guilty party was "Religulous," a documentary by Bill Maher about the promotion of "Doubtism." It's basically what I expected. I dont know many people who watch his show (seriously...does anyone order HBO just to watch his show? I hope not). In some stretches, he was good natured and likeable. In others he was a jerk, picking fights with truck drivers in intellectual battles, obviously able to make them look foolish (actually if not for the fact that they were really nice to him, despite their rough dispositions and backgrounds in gangs, etc).
Other expected things in there: Religion is fantastical, its intolerant, it will ultimately end an otherwise straight-pathed human race. Even something like his family history and experience in church was predictable (culturally Catholic/Jewish split family). He grew up making deals with God, hoping to gain personally even up until he was 40, and then finally gave up hoping there was a God.
Maher certainly is no Michael Moore in his persuasiveness, but of course the editing and the soundbites from the wackos on there were pretty entertaining. Especially from the guy in South America claiming to be the returned Jesus, yet who misunderstands that the 2nd coming isnt just being related to Jesus' bloodlines.
This movie keeps me up, not because it really caused any doubts in my mind and not because he hit me with something new that I hadn't already worked through. But the line that remains in my head is his line at the end, and really, his thesis of the film, that "Doubt is humble."
Humble?? HUMBLE?? At first I couldn't believe it. It made me want to mail him everything I have ever read on humanism, the Renaissance, secularism and the foolishness of Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao and the millions of worshippers of these men who they groomed, trained, indoctrinated to follow suit and gain power. I wanted to show him that religious wackos arent the only ones who take advantage of people who have insufficiencies, to show him documentaries on Communism in China and Southeast Asia. How an anti-religous culture murdered millions of their own people.
But when he said the line about being humble, it really got me thinking. Clearly the reality is that when we refuse Jesus' plan and his Word, we show great arrogance. But I think this film shows an "out of the closet" version of what much of post-modern America believes. I'm not saying that I liked this movie or even respect it or that anyone should buy or support Maher. But it was a poignant reminder to me that our culture is so lost in doubt that some no longer wrestle with it, but now worship doubt. It's uber relativism worked out to a radical end.
I really wish more people could read Total Truth and The God Who Is There and How Shall We Then Live? Then we could see how "religion" isn't the only thing that changes our slants. That the Renaissance and humanism makes us want to be our own gods and to ignore mankind's failures. But I know it won't happen that way. That these high level books have to be made transferable by us who hope to see college campuses changed by the Gospel. Ultimately to see students faces unveiled before a God who is there, despite whatever humble doubt exists.