Bill Maher makes a living making judgments... and his judgment on religion is particularly harsh. On the link above, you can find him mocking with eqanimity televangelists, Mormons, a belief in heaven (although he describes a Neo-platonist version of heaven, complete with "dancing ghosts with a cosmic daddy) Overall, Maher adopts a snide, mocking tone of faith and people of faith that matches his publicly stated beliefs that intelligent religious people have a "neurological disorder." Nothing like demonizing your opponents...
But of all the things that can be said about Bill Maher, I would like to hone in on one comment he made while on the View...
MAHER: And this movie- one reason why it got such good reviews- and even religious people who watched it liked this movie is, we don’t judge. We don’t point fingers. We’re not making anybody feel bad. I’m just asking questions that nobody asks because this is the last taboo subject.
Maher invokes the Golden Rule of modern society "We don't judge. " Restated, "We don't point fingers..." Implication--religious people DO judge, religious people DO point fingers, therefore they are bad and we (the scientific rationalists) are good. But of course, isnt' that a judgment?
So do we agree with Mr. Maher, that the height of good is not to judge? Not to point the finger?
First, we have to say that Bill doesn't follow his own advice. "Religilous" the movie is nothing but a judgment against religious individuals that concludes that they are ridiculous and worthy of mockery. And admitedly, some of the individuals on the show are ridiculous (there I go making judgments) but if we're supposed to admire the work as "not finger pointing" I think we could agree it misses that mark...rather specifically pointing a "special finger" at all religious folks that were highlighted in the flick.
Second, I think we'd have to say that some form of judgment is required in life to thrive. Should I spend more than I earn? Should I buy a house that my income will not support? Should I package these risky securities into a nifty new investment, and parcel out to different banks so as to sever accountability from their original source? Well, in a world with no judgments, the answer is "YES" regardless of the consequences. But does one hear the chorus of "judge not..." from the media (or bill Maher for that matter) for the Wall Street types whose greed colored their JUDGMENT or consumers who took "low-doc" (Liars loans) mortgages without considering the consequences? NO. We expect are financiers to make better judgments than that, because poor judgments have dire consequences.
Incidentally, I agree with Maher that religion requires CAREFUL JUDGMENT. Jesus said this in no uncertain terms.
15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them.... Matthew 7:15-16
Some of the religious leaders Maher interviews are more fruitcakes than true spiritual fruit. They do not pass the test Jesus lays out for us...which is our FIRST JUDGMENT: (We'll call it the Maher test, in honor of our friend)
TEST #1 JUDGE So-called Spiritual Leaders to see if they are producing spiritual fruit.
Folks like Bill Maher have so much to jack their jaws about because we folks of faith do such a poor job of exercising our ability to make a reasonable decision on the credibility of so-called religious leaders based on the hard evidence of results. Maher's right and he's wrong...some religious leaders are ridiculous, but we DO need to make a judgment.
So tell me--what do you think?