Bill Maher Slams Religion

October 11, 2010
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Bill Maher, who years ago hosted the ABC late-night talk show “Politically Incorrect” and currently hosts HBO’s “Real Time,” has consistently demonstrated an antipathy for religion, religious expression, and the Judeo-Christian God.

Maher’s attitude is typically condescending. At the same time, he tends to ignore the fact that the vast majority of faith-filled folks aren’t the extremists he cites as his examples.

On a recent installment of his show, Maher took issue with something that Glenn Beck had shared with the public. Maher groused that Beck had said that before he got married his then-fiancé wanted to pick out a religion.

Maher said the idea of choosing one’s faith is “f***ing crazy in adulthood,” distinguishing it from faith that is “forced into your head as a child.”

He has described religion as a “neurological disorder” that justifies “crazies” and prevents people from thinking logically.

It’s actually quite the opposite. Religious faith is a natural expression for human beings. We intuitively seek something greater than ourselves to secure our purpose in life and give meaning to our existence.

On his shows, Maher often argues that religion is the cause of many of society's ills.

As G.K. Chesterton noted, history is empirical proof of man’s fallen nature. The problems Maher attributes to religion are instead caused by human failures.

Before the advent of monotheism, the world was a far more brutal place. Whenever societies have cast out the very religion that Maher bemoans, an increase in violence and destruction has been the inevitable result.

The French Revolution, Third Reich, Communist regimes and the like have left a gruesome and bloody trail. This may be one of the reasons that Maher seems a bit confused as to whether he should don the atheist label.

He told the London Times, “I'm not an atheist, though, because the belief that there is no God only mirrors the certitude of religion. No, I'm saying that doubt is the only appropriate response for human beings.”

However, Maher also referred to himself as an “outspoken atheist” in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

The liberties that Maher enjoys, including the freedom to be a believer one day and a doubter or denier the next, are the same liberties that are emblazoned in our nation’s birth certificate and are openly proclaimed to have come from God, the same God that the talk show host rails against.

These “unalienable rights” are a gift from our Creator.

Maher may not realize it at the moment, and he may even speak out against the Judeo-Christian tradition that produced this exceptional country of ours, but he was one of the lucky ones, born into this land already equipped with rights implanted in him by the Creator. And no one has the authority to take away those rights from him or anyone else in this blessed land.

That’s our national philosophy, and in the past we weren’t hesitant to recommend that others adopt it, too.

Interestingly, those rights endowed by the Creator have allowed Maher to thrive in a highly competitive and dream-come-true business.

A little faith, maybe the size of a mustard seed, might usher in a mountain of gratitude.