Monday, October 27, 2008

Confession of a 'Religulous' Enthusiast

Forgive blogger, for it has been awhile since my last confession.

My blogging hiatus associated with this movie was intentional. It has taken longer than anticipated to process my thoughts on the film. How refreshing that a movie could provoke so much thoughtfulness.

Let me start off by being honest on the film from as objective a perspective as I can
- Were the interviews one-sided? yes. Choppy editing & cutting of mid-sentence? yes. Reminiscent of Super Size Me, Fahrenheit 911 and Sicko? of course. Essentially just a rally film for those of us on the in doubt, agnostic or atheist team? Yes!

All these things set aside, what struck me after viewing this film, now twice, is that we live in a day and age that a black man is going to be our next president and there are films in mainstream theaters supporting atheism. Apparently there is hope for America.

I left the film saying 'What now Maher? Where do I start and what do I do? You have my attention.' The solution that has made the most sense is expanding my reading list to have books to refer to friends for more info.

Current recommended reads for 'Religulous' groupies:

I recently finished 'Letter to a Christian Nation' by Sam Harris. If you read Newsweek, you might recognize Sam from the article 'In Defense of Elitism'. He's a good author to pass along his books and essays to a very conservative Christian that believes in literal interpretations of the Bible - or maybe not at all.

I am also eager to re-read 'The God Delusion' by Dawkins. My Twitter pal on the topic has also geared me in the direction of 'Letting Go of God'. Additional recommendations welcome!

A Non-Believer Voice

The film has also help inspire a different voice as a non-believer. Recognizing that there is a silent 'majority' in the States of those in doubt, I feel less chained to candy-coating my words to make believers more comfortable. Using statements like 'I'm an atheist' instead of 'I'm not that religious' or 'I'm spiritual' has been a recent shift. Also, not role playing in church anymore has been a recent departure. At a wedding the other weekend, for the first time in my life, I stopped playing along. No third base coach hand signals before a gospel reading. No kneeling to gold-gilded statues during communion. No zombie murmuring of cult phrases 'it is right to give him praise' or 'thanks be to god'. Ah, sweet thoughtful silence was what I embraced, and by not playing along with Catholicism's traditions I think I showed more respect than half of the people choking back wafers as a 'just in case' approach to salvation.

The bottom line is, kudos Bill Maher for sparking dialogue and shaking up dormant thoughts.

No comments: