[Don’t miss Part I of Jeremy’s article on Religulous.]
Why is faith a good thing?
To many people, the above question is an odd one. Of course faith is a good thing. Why question that? However, in “Religulous” it is one of Maher’s chief objections to religion (particularly Christianity).
The question is first raised by Maher after he asks the pastor of a small truck stop chapel how any rational person can believe in a talking snake in a garden 5000 years ago. The pastor responded by saying that, “It’s a faith thing,” to which Maher replies, “Yeah, but why is faith good?”
Maher’s argument is that a person who’s life is in danger or who is going through hard times would be justified to believe God, but for anyone else faith is pointless. His objection is that of many other skeptics: faith is unfounded and breeds comfort, but isn’t useful. I disagree.
Maher’s beliefs are incorrect for two reasons: first, he assumes that all faith is blind faith, and second, he thinks faith is not relevant. Although these two aspects of faith are inter-connected, I’ll begin by explaining the difference between faith and blind faith.
Yay! I convinced my son-in-law Jeremy to write another guest post for me. Have you experienced anything similar in your school, now or in the past?
Nothing is worse than having to sit through a class you cannot stand, as an unfair professor can make your life a living hell. But now that an entire season has passed and I’ve had ample time to recover and even procrastinate, I feel the need to follow up on something. Several months ago I wrote a short, satirical essay [College: Where You’re Liberal or You’re Wrong] about my first college class, and how it turned out to be a waste because my professor, Mr. R, was a hypocritical bigot.
Although much of the same abuse which I discussed in that paper persisted for the remainder of the class, eventually Mr. R and I found some common ground and slowly developed a mutual respect for one another. Considering his attitude towards me and my beliefs, the fact that the two of us were ever able to see somewhat eye-to-eye is actually rather remarkable, so I (driven by the gentle, yet persistent, persuasion of my lovely mother-in-law) felt it would be good to share a little bit about how that came to be. The following is a random assortment of our exchanges which brought us to our somewhat common ground.
Jeremy, my son-in-law, reviewed “Religulous” on his Facebook page. I thought he presented some important points, and asked for permission to reprint his article here. The article is long, but I wanted to leave it in Jeremy’s “voice” rather than edit it for length.
Few things in life create more social tension than prying into people’s religious beliefs, particularly when the prying is done on camera. The 2008 Larry Charles/Bill Maher movie, “Religulous” does just that, and certainly takes no prisoners. The movie, for those who don’t know, is a comedy-documentary in which the host, Maher, travels to various places around the world to interview people from different religions (although the movie predominantly focuses on Christianity) so he can ask them questions about their beliefs, and why they believe what they do. Maher takes a very cynical and sarcastic approach in performing this task, often leaving his victims deeply offended, which subsequently provides (or is supposed to provide) its comical aspect. Ultimately, Maher reaches the extraordinarily philosophical conclusion that all religion is bad and people who believe in any kind of religion are morons. As this is a major area of interest in my life, I decided I should watch the movie and see if Maher could change my mind.