The religious fanaticism of Bill Maher

Secular fundamentalists are rightly offended by the notion that immutable characteristics such as race and gender should limit what people are allowed to achieve, but nonetheless imply that such characteristics should limit what people are allowed to think.

We were recently treated to the spectacle of liberal activist comic Jon Stewart mocking GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain in an Amos ‘n’ Andy voice, proclaiming his aversion to reading. Would Stewart have done that to Jesse Jackson? Watching Stewart’s shtick reminded me of those clueless, tone-deaf white liberals who used to think that they could get away with using the “N” word because they were “down” with the Black Man.

The fact that Stewart indeed got away with what he did exposes a double standard: African-American conservatives are fair game for abuse, even racial abuse, in a way that African-American liberals are not. Such double standards are like sugar-free desserts for secular fundamentalists, allowing them to indulge their impulses without guilt.

Speaking of Stewart, his recent shoot-out with Fox News’s Chris Wallace touched on some of the comforting myths that secular fundamentalists use to assure themselves of their intellectual superiority to conservatives. “Who is (sic) the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” railed Stewart, his sense of righteous indignation overwhelming his sense of grammar. “The most consistently misinformed. Fox. Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.”

The one bad thing about myths, of course, is that they aren’t true. The Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact.com rated Stewart’s claim “False” on its famous Truth-O-Meter.

One of the polls that Stewart was referring to rated respondents “informed” for believing that Obamacare will not increase the federal deficit. Well then count me in as a flaming ignoramus, because I firmly believe that the cost of Obamacare will explode way beyond the price tag that its proponents were able to squeeze out of the CBO with rigged assumptions. I hold that belief, no doubt, because of the propaganda I’ve been spoon-fed by whoever issues the Marching Orders at Fox News — or perhaps because I have a Wharton MBA and actually understand economics.

Secular fundamentalists indeed have an unhealthy need to feel intellectually superior to conservatives, and no one works harder to satisfy that need than Bill Maher. His methods are intellectually dishonest. He selects targets that he thinks are easy such as the “Tea Baggers,” and ridicules their intelligence as a way of ridiculing conservatism. But if the “Tea Baggers” are so stupid, then why do so many really smart people completely agree with them on the issues they champion — i.e., the need to restore fiscal sanity and limit the role of government?

I would love to see Maher engage in a serious debate with a conservative intellectual on the Tea Party’s issues. (At this point, Generic Liberal Comic quips that “conservative intellectual” is an oxymoron; yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk …) Since Maher purports to venerate logic and reason in eschewing the superstition of religion, he should also agree to eschew the crutches that he uses as substitutes for logic and reason — name-calling, glib generalizations, comic “ironies” that work as humor but don’t hold up under intellectual scrutiny, etc.

I have no doubt that under those ground rules, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Paul Ryan, Thomas Sowell, Steve Hayes, Larry Kudlow and any number of smart conservatives would wipe the floor with Maher. We’ll let Maher try to convince America that we should be more like Greece.


    Atheists do not have the concept of “faith.” Faith is the belief in something ethereal. Something that cannot be proven or disproven. So, the argument requiring “proof” is not valid. I may believe in God but there is no way I can prove His existence except by what I view in the world. Trees, insects, the Grand Canyon, and the birth of a child are all evidence to me that God exists and cannot be disproven by any “logical” argument. Since an Atheist can no more “disprove” the existence of God than I can “prove” the existence of God, this makes their arguments illogical. Me? I have faith.

  • slehar

    Liberalism IS a religion! The moment that Government stops treating people equally, and instead tries social engineering, doing “good” by taking from the “evil rich” and giving to the parasite class, the separation of church and state is gone. Liberals believe that Government is good, and we the people are evil, in need of correction and regulation. While they decry the overt signs of Christianity in our schools, they install their secular-dogmatic PC ideology to rule every aspect of our lives, as if we didn’t have the sense to know what to eat, drink, or do with our money. Liberalism is an evil ideology that seeks to rob us all of our freedom, and replace our representative government with an all-powerful and all-corrupt bureaucracy.

  • chillbrochill

    Yes Maher is dogmatic in his ideology. But what does he do about it? Crack some jokes? Make fun of people? He’s a comedian putting on a show. You don’t like it, ignore him. He’s no militant fundamentalist.

    Christian fundamentalists have killed millions of people in the past. Militant Christians still exist. In the US, they’ll tell people not to get married. They’ll lobby for stem cell research to be limited to adult only stem cells. They’ll ban a woman’s right to have an abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.

    Other religious fundamentalists opt for different approaches. They blow up buildings. They kill people. They riot and burn shit when cartoons make fun of them.

    Bill Maher is not the enemy. Comedy, free expression, irony, logic, reason – these are the solutions to a world that has seen enough bloodshed over made-up stories attempting to instill man-made moralities in as many people as possible.

    Laugh all you want at your fancy little term “secular fundamentalist.” It’s kind of funny I guess. But don’t we all really prefer a tv show personality telling a couple jokes. Or you want the alternative: other people telling you how to live your life.

    An endorsement of Christianity is still an endorsement of organized religion in general. That means you’re still legitimizing the terrorists. So take your pick: comedian on HBO once a week for one hour that you don’t have to watch or guys flying airplanes into buildings.

    • vandi

      Geez, talk about false choices. Maher makes fun of conservatives. Conservatives make fun of him back. That’s the give and take of a free society. I didn’t realize that conservatives responding to Bill Maher’s nastiness was tantamont to endorsing terrorism. That’s the typical attitude that says that liberal nastiness is harmless; conservative nastiness is DANGEROUS. Good thing that no killing has ever been done in the name of “utopian” societies that attempt to wipe out religion, because that would undermine your entire argument.

    • BigRmv

      Quite a broad brush you paint with there, Chiller. Anything else you’d like to get off your chest?

  • BigRmv

    “…there is a special place in Secular Hell for conservatives who happen to be African-American or female. The most visceral hatred is reserved for them.”

    True. And I have never heard (or read) it stated so eloquently before.

  • WordOfDog

    Let me nutshell it for you all: religious beliefs are absurd and all the religious followers are chumps.

    Further, religion distracts from the real problems in this world because most all of them profess that this world does not matter.

    What is wrong with caring for our planet and those that exist here?

    We really need only one principle to guide us and that is Kant’s categorical empirative: never will your maxim save that it be universal law. Simply put: when faced with a decision to act, one must ask what the consequences would be if everyone acted that way.

    • minicapt

      1. Kant cant.
      2. You really don’t understand from where he derived his magic statement?
      3. Atheist/philosophers think child things (yes, it’s a ‘Biblical’ reference)


    • BigRmv

      So, you read the article, saw no parallel to yourself, and then jumped right in with both feet to try to impress us with quotes from Kant? Thank you for illustrating the author’s point.

      I believe in God. I am Christian. But I’m not perfect in any way. I don’t believe in forcing you to believe as I do. I always try to follow the Golden Rule on the advice of my Savior that Kant so cleverly paraphrased and you quoted and failed to see the similarity thereof. Personally, I’m surprised you didn’t quote Richard Bach’s take on it.

      Anyway, one of the beautiful things about faith is that my beliefs don’t require your acceptance. In fact, Jesus instructs us, not to ‘throw our pearls before the swine’ so we don’t waste our time trying to convince you.

      What is odd about Bill Maher–unlike you, WordOfDog–is that rather than accept Pascal’s Wager (famous, look it up), he goes the extra mile to show his hatred, his contempt and his arrogance for anyone he perceives as “beneath him.” I suspect that means everyone.

      • WordOfDog

        It has been a long time since I majored in philosophy but I am well aware of where Kant’s CI comes from.

        As for Pascal’s Wager, one has to wonder about a god who is fooled by such ‘good’ behavior. I live my life in a good way because it is the rational way to live one’s life not because I am sucking up to some juvenile god.

        As for the article, I only read the first part…its the same old thing…yet another ad hominem attack on a liberal. I loved Maher’s film and find him sincere in his quest to rid the world of it silly religiousness. Religion is the gift that keeps on giving as far as comedians are concerned and Maher makes full use of it.

        And I forgot to post my favorite link for people that believe in two things only: God and market forces: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

        Peruse this site for bit…

        • BigRmv


          No one said that God is fooled by someone using Pascal’s Wager as a ploy. The point of Pascal’s Wager is to make a person think, “Would I live my life differently if there were no God? Why?”

          I tend to believe that good people will ask themselves that question and come to the understanding that, if God doesn’t exist, then we must do whatever we can to make the world a better place during our time here. They don’t have to be grandiose “look at me” acts, just everyday little pushes towards the better. Those random acts of kindness that help ‘pay it forward.’

          The problem with Maher is that–while he would like us all to think he’s a comedian and has some intelligence–he’s hateful (just review his and Janeane Garafalo’s recent conversation). He can’t accept the fact that other people have different opinions and may only be doing what they think is “right.” He only knows he is “right” and they are “wrong.” And what does he do with that “knowledge?” He insults the core values that those “stupid” people hold dear.

          Fortunately, neither the truth nor my religious beliefs depend on my telling others that they are stupid or wrong (or doomed). I can and do disagree with how others see the solution to our problems, but deep down, I believe we all want a better world. And I honestly hope that everyone–even you–gets to Heaven when all is said and done.

          So, don’t take it too harshly if others disagree or have faith that you can’t fathom.