October 18, 2008


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 2:03 pm by Rev. Thomas Perchlik

My partner and I went to see the latest movie celebration of Bill Maher and his opinions (and those of director Larry Charles.)

I laughed many times and clapped at a few lines.   It was pretty entertaining.  It was also silly, sometimes cheap and adolescent, poorly put together, and even stupid and wrong (for example his implication that 16% of Americans are non-affiliated with religion and thus are all atheists or agnostics who must band together.)

I liked when he said, “I believe in ‘I don’t know.'” That reminded me of my sermon on Paul Rasor’s “Faith Without Certainty.”  However, after Bill’s final lecture (mini-sermon,) with the penultimate image of a nuclear explosion echoing in my mind, I turned to my friend and said “That was depressing.”  The basic idea that human stupidity and our hunger for certainty, coupled with Jewish, Muslim and Christian orthodoxy, will all inevitably come to violence which will destroy us all, is a pretty sad one.   A Realistic but depressing view, and faithless.

My favorite segment was when he was talking to the radically liberal priest in Saint Peter’s Square.  I get a big smile thinking of this happy man saying the obvious and laughing: that the huge edifice of the Vatican was  incongruous with the life and teachings of Jesus, that Hell was a ridiculous idea, that most of the superstition and foolishness that Bill had been taught as a child was simply superstition and foolishness.  Then Bill asked him what could be done about all these people with crazy ideas and the priest laughingly said “nothing.”  What I heard was that we need to accept that somethings will not go away, chief of those being human stupidity.  Rather than try to fight or inform every poor soul on the earth, we need to simply be as loud and proud about what we are as the stupid and violent are about themselves.

We who understand the ultimate vitality of doubt do need to organize and claim power from the violent and build a better world.  We also need a lot more compassion, justice and equity in human relations, and to affirm the web of existence.  I think that someone, not Larry Charles, could have used Bill Maher to say that much more effectively, and without all that grainy stock footage of cheesy religious films.

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