Bill Maher on Christians
February 23, 2005

Via Relevant Magazine:

In an interview last week on MSNBC's Scarborough Country to promote his new show on HBO, Bill Maher stated that Christians have a "neurological disorder" and are unenlightened because of their faith. "When people say to me, 'You hate America,' I don't hate America. I love America. I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality."
And yet we wonder why "Politically Incorrect" didn't stand the test of time. I'm not Bill Maher fan. Not in the least. The man has a Napoleon complex beyond belief. But of this entire statement, Maher and I can agree on one thing: Christians are unenlightened because of of their faith--as a whole, that is.

Unfortunately, the first part of this statement is our downfall. The notion of a "Christian" in America is severely confusing. When I say, "Christian," it could mean a number of things, and unfortunately, it does. We live in the era of "Choose your own adventure" Christianity, or as I prefer to call it, "Mamby-Pamby."

As for the second part of Maher's statement, his assertion that Christians lack enlightenment is probably spot on. That is to say, most certainly aren't walking in the type of revelation necessary to make a dent in this world.

If Maher's notion of what it means to be "enlightened," includes tolerance, acceptance and carnality, then I reject his "enlightenment." Now in regards to "Christians" offering something the world needs, I'd say the salt needs to get some saltiness.

Posted by Ambra at February 23, 2005 12:31 AM in Theocracy
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Amen! True Christians in today's world need to step up! We are given a bad rap by Christians who really aren't Christians and by non-believers who think that faith is a joke. If only they knew how REAL God is and how much their eternity hinges on believing in what Christ did for us. The salt does need to get saltier... without a doubt. But how can we reach the unreachable if they slam their doors in our faces? We need to pray about it a great deal more as well.

Yawn. A bitter, unhappy man slamming people who are essentially happy. Was first tipped off to this statement by the priest who offered the Sunday Mass on EWTN- Global Catholic Teevee. Father seemed rather sympathetic to Bill. Shrug. Move forward and pray for him. If we Christians don't take these kinds of shots, we're not doing our jobs.

I don't entirely disagree with Maher, in concept, that religion can be an inhibiting factor in mindset (though he is a little weasel) depending on how it is used. However, I would like to see him bash Islam for its apparent ability to take a goat herder and turn him into a self-destructive murdering psychopath.

Bill's funny. Very libertarian. Very contrarian.

I like his new show better than Politically Incorrect (funny he was canned for saying something, um...Politically Incorrect).

Saw Maher on Larry King the other day. He sounds exactly like a religious zealot, but his denomination is Scientism. Just another person who feels he holds the keys to heaven, if only everybody else would think exactly like him.

Sorry, but I see little science in Maher's statement. We have had ample time, now to examine the fruits of the "enlightenment" of the 60's and the 70's. AIDS and other VDs, single parent households, schools that teach less and less for more and more.

Walter:

I wouldn't attribute all those ills to the enlightenment. Look how many people's heads got pulled out of the proverbial sand from 1960-1972 re- Viet Nam, violence on t.v.,women's pay, Jim Crow, gun control,and protecting our environment. A renaissance or enlightenment is a good thing (born again). All Christians during that era were not the type Maher is critical of.

Maher is a libertarian? That's news to me....I wonder how many other libertarians are PETA-supporting, animal-rights zealots. I know I'm not.

Andrea,

One political train of thought is not all-inclusive. For example, I've conservative friends who are open to gay marriage. Does that one issue devalue the rest of their conservatism? Likewise, I've liberal friends who are totally pro-life.

Certainly, but I've yet to come upon libertarians who have said anything like the very extreme comments Maher has made about animal rights.

Truth is Stranger,
If you have watched Maher's shows, he bashes Islam pretty vehemently ... even more than Christianity... he pretty much bashes all religion equally...

As a satirist, Bill Maher is brilliant. I never miss his show on Friday... he definitely is better on cable, where is free to really say what he really thinks... do I agree with all of it? Of course not, but it's still entertaining to see him call it as he sees it...
and if he causes some evangelicals to hyperventilate, so much the better.

By the way, on Larry King, he actually gave Bush credit for the elections in Iraq, and conceded that if democracy actually takes hold in Iraq, he would be at the front of the line to congratulate Bush, even though he opposed the war in the first place.

The wierd thing that I don't get is that he is best friends with Ann Coulter... I can't figure that one out... maybe its a Cornell thing since they both graduated from there.

Hello Ambra -- I need clarification. After beginning to write a post in response to your agreement with Maher concering enlightenment, I couldn't be sure whether you were speaking of an intelletual or spiritual enlightment. In the second part of his quote he refers to "science and rationality;" you refer to "a revelation necessary to make a dent in this world."

I've seen posts by other bloggers casting doubts on the evangelical mind, and I thought it would be an interesting disagreement to blog. I don't want to misrepresent anything that you've said, thus the request for clarity. Thank you.

Maher's show "Real Time" is great. As a comedian he is unfunny and tedious, he throws out the same material with a different spin all the time.

How boring, yawn indeed.

My question is: if Christians hear from, communicate with, and get wisdom and revelation from the God of the universe, then why aren't we leading in every sphere of life?

To John...I mean lacking enlightenment in all areas. I'm not a dualist. I believe the intellect is directly tied to what's spiritual.

Thank you, Ambra. Clarity is good.

Viet Nam, [We were right to be there, wrong to abandon them to communism] violence on t.v.,[that's what the knobs were for]women's pay, [in 72, women's pay was already equal for equal work.] Jim Crow, [we killed this in the 60's, then NAACP brought it back] gun control,[stupid and counterproductive] and protecting our environment [an almost unmitigated disaster. The primary reason we are not all on a 20 hour week.]

That is why I put enlightenment in parentheses.
God bless you.

Walter:

Good to know you think gun control is "stupid", women and men were on equal earning footing in 1972 (I guess they were, if one considers 59 cents to the dollar "equal")and Jim Crow dead in the 1960's (wonder how many in corporate America, law schools, NFL/NCAA coaching, and airline piloting would agree). A little light is good.

BCB

"Christians are unenlightened because of their faith. . ."

How's that? Given the remark smacks loudly of prejudice and bigotry--two things people came to the United States of America to get AWAY FROM, as in religious persecution--I believe it is fair and appropriate to ask for a more complete explanation of said assertion.

"My question is: if Christians hear from, communicate with, and get wisdom and revelation from the God of the universe, then why aren't we leading in every sphere of life?"

Because many, if not most, get their wisdom and revelation from a god (themselves, televangelists,psycho-babblers, celebrity gurus, you name it) and not from The God.

Christians are unenlightened because of their faith.

I work in a christian company in the southeast, and I cant believe it, most of them are crazy they call themselves christians but they gossip and critizice people. Its like being in the hell burning. I would call them pinocchios because 99.9999% of christians are liers and puppets, they cant think like normal people. Stay away from Christians. They are completly crazy.
Freud said that God and the Devil dont exist, they are misrepresentations of the father image one of them in a positive way and the other in a negative way.

Being a Messianic Believer--I personally have shelved the term 'Christian' because of ITS origin (see Acts), I have to agree that Mr. Maher is on point. Although I think his point of view is flawed because of his particular bias, in my years as a 'church member' (thank God I have graduated from THAT club scene) and as a minister, I have witnessed nothing less than ignorance about the things of God--willful ignorance at that. The book of Daniel makes a simple statement: Knowledge shall increase. Too many folks that claim the 'set' of Christ know NOTHING about what they profess to believe. I think if they did they wouldn't fear science (or prophecy for that matter). I would love to see 'Christians' get their collectives heads out of the sand and face the challenges that the POWER they have been entrusted with will allow them to conquer. Being seated in heavenly place WITH Christ Jesus assures me that once I allow His perspective to overtake my own I can navigate this world and its uncomfortable things with a song in my heart and a bounce in my step KNOWING that I can make the difference I was created to make. Faith informed by the Holy Spirit IS enlightening. Just pray for Mr. Bill and his ilk, because he has a lot of co-conspirators--some of whom that would even identify themselves as Christians.

Who fears "science?" I sure would like to find someone who does.

I think that is just a code word for "he disagrees with me and I don't know how to defeat his argument."

Religion is a way to hold groups together.
This is implied in the first view above, dealing with egoistic or 'anti-social' impulses. In his Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego Freud tries to describe the actual structure of groups as he sees it from the point of view of the emotional ties that bind them together. He returns to the theme in Civilization and its Discontents.
Freud says explicitly that religion can save people from neurosis. He also asserts on more than one occassion that science - the highest achievement of human beings in his eyes - can also be described by using terms from psychopathology. That is to say, as a 'neurosis' in a dynamic sense. For Freud 'neurosis' is not necessarily a pejorative term, it is more or less a shorthand description for the human condition!
Religion is a reaction to infantile helplessness. In this theory we try to recreate in religion a feeling of being protected by unbounded 'love' which we yearned for in our state of infantile helplessness. Religious belief protects us from 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' (ultimately from the acknowledgment of death) and therefore protects our narcissism. Religion keeps us in the illusion of being at the centre of the universe once more.

I don't see how lacking belief in God is any less a philosophical ideology (religion) than believing in God.

If we stay away from Freud's biographies, and read his letters, we find that he was a closet theist, saying such things as:

"If someday we meet above," "[my] one, quite secret prayer,"

Seems that including this Freud-god that Alfred references, no one is an atheist on their deathbed.

Alex,

I wouldn’t say what you say is false or true however if we take objective reality as a point of reference, we can achieve a conclusion but only based in objectivity. Science can prove the Big Ban theory, Darwin explains his theories. But the main question I have for you , how could you explain faith and religion with the objective reality?, If you could explain faith and religion with objectivity I will tell everybody that I am wrong and science is a fairy tale and I will become religious for the rest of my life.
Science clearly proves with all the objectivity that Its impossible that a woman can give birth without sperms, How could someone can die and walk and talk at the third day?, History shows how the bishops changed the bible in the year 600 after Christ. But the main point is not the bible because I think that was created by Romans to control society.

Alfred

Alfred,

First off, no one is arguing that science is a fairy tale, whatever that means. However, I'm sure the reliability of some of what is called science can be questioned.

You said:

Science can prove the Big Ban theory

In order for something to be proven scientifically, it has to be obervable, reproducible, and falsifiable. The Big Bang Theory is none of these--it is a theory, a collection of the facts and laws of science for a season balled up into one big hypothesis. It can make for good conjecture, but proof? I think not. What scientists still promote the big bang theory anyway? Who would argue that the universe itself is uncaused? I believe they (the scientists) have moved on to more contrived theories such as the oscillating universe theory, vacuum theory, etc. Either way you end up with the same problem - causality and a material godhead (the universe).

I am not arguing that I can prove my faith to you. I am quite secure in the fact that my faith is what it is--faith. I can't prove it to you, I can only impart the certainties of my own personal experience to a willing ear. You have to decide to stop hearing, receive the words yourself, and begin doing. However, I find it unnerving that scientists cannot admit to the same--that their philosophical ideology cannot be proven, and that it is in fact, faith. This is what we find in many of the legendary atheists of old, such as Freud, who were not so secure in their lack of faith, and have been exposed as closet theists.

I'll disregard your claims about the preservation of the Bible, as most scholars in the field, theist or non-theist will agree that the Bible is one of the most well preserved ancient documents in the world. Furthermore, the field requires a great deal of specialization in the area, which I admit I don't have much of.

Peace

Alex,
I do agree with you that Bible is one of the most well preserved ancient documents in the world which has been used as a tool to control our societies, In order not to get lost in the objective reality, we have to have a point of reference, Its always good to see things with objectivity and clarity, I think Faith is good, many scholars compare prays with psychotherapy. But I have a question with whom do we talk in our prays?, Science can prove you that you breath or even you stop breathing, Its true what you said that one of the characteristics science has is that Its falsifiable just in case someone can ever prove and can measure faith. You said something very interesting (what it is--faith. I can't prove it to you; I can only impart the certainties of my own personal experience to a willing ear.)It means that you can talk about this with someone who believes or has faith in what you have. You have to admit that you have no proof. It’s just an idea or a dream. For example IQ can be measured or you can even have a test about your personality and emotions can somewhat be classified and can be proved but faith. I would describe faith as a nice dream which is not bad; many scholars think that if it’s handled in a good way can be healthy for you. We must take into account that not everybody its ready to know and accept that faith and all those fairy tales are false. Reality is very strong when you face that reality and you are not ready It can affect you. That’s why some psychoanalysis can last up to ten years because the person is not ready to see that reality. I would encourage you not only to read more but understand what you read. As I have told you reality is very strong. I would like to have faith but my rationality doesn’t allow me to act like that. Lets say God exists and he created us with minds and rationality, If he created us with our minds and he enabled our minds to use them with rationality, why would we fear science?, and have faith that a simple guy died and went to heaven after the third day he died?. It’s so true that the bible requires study. I read that in the year 300 or 400 before Christ hell was a room with fire, where people had their trials then they decided to use that word in the bible. It’s very true that the bible requires study but why did they change it so many things and created a new one? If we use our rationality we will find that all what it’s said about religion and the bible is a fairy tale and I do agree with Bill in every single word that he says.
Kind regards
Alf

Alfred, what are you saying? Can we try to stay in one area at a time without the bunny trails?

I must note that I did say I cannot prove my faith to you. Because it is not my duty to convert unbelievers by force. I can only impart when the door is opened to do so and let God do the rest.

I will say, without addressing all of them that many of your assumptions are incorrect, if you'd like, we can move this discussion to e-mail, or some other forum better suited for long discussions such as these.

Thanks

AWESOME NEW LOOK! :) I love it.

Errumm, yeah so I know you haven't yet announced the new look and stuff, but this right here is so cute! and so nice! Definitely has some personality :)

I agree with Ethel, I like this format too!

Alex,

Alex said: "What scientists still promote the big bang theory anyway?"

You are woefully uninformed about science.
I am an astrophysicist. The entire astrophysics community is in complete agreement with the Big Bang Theory. We certainly have heated debate over details... but Big Bang Theory was "proved"
to EVERY scientist's satisfaction with the COBE experiment over a decade ago which mapped out the afterglow of the Big Bang in excruciating detail... The new experiment WMAP just last year gave even more convincing evidence, proving definitively that the universe is not only expanding, but accelerating. Furthermore, Big Bang Theory predicts the exact percentages of all the atomic elements in the universe... how's that for predictive power?
There is ALOT we still don't know (dark matter, dark energy, formation of galaxies, etc)... but it is exciting times to be an astrophysicist.

I suggest you read the New York Times science page. They perhaps give some of the best science coverage for the layman.

As for the second part of Maher's statement, his assertion that Christians lack enlightenment is probably spot on. That is to say, most certainly aren't walking in the type of revelation necessary to make a dent in this world.

That's because most American "Christians" are merely believers of a gospel of personal salvation. They are primarily concerned about securing their place in heaven when they die and maybe doing some nice things here on earth as long as it doesn't interfere with their own plans for personal pleasure and fulfillment.

True disciples have believed the gospel of the message of the kingdom, and they have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ as the sovereign king over all spheres of life. They enter into the training process of becoming co-rulers with Christ, producing a fruitful increase in what God has given them and incrementally bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth.

A question for Alfred Smith:

On what scientific basis do you reach the conclusions that the physical universe is (1) ordered, and (2) comprehensible, and (3) predictable? Aren't those "conclusions" actually presuppositions that are ultimately resting on your scientific faith?

Another question: If human beings are the mutated, evolutionary product of "slime plus time," why would we ever expect that our perception of reality would actually correspond in any helpful way to the nature of reality itself?

jab, so scientists believe that the universe is caused by what exactly?

It is my understanding that if you agree with the big bang theory, you still eventually fall down into a causality loop, giving way to theories such as oscillating universe, vacuum, etc.

jab, but doesn't the big bang theory place scientists in a causality conundrum?

It is my understanding that this is why theories such as vacuum, oscillating universe, etc. are necessary.

See, I got an error the first time I tried to post that--guess it got through afterall. *dunce*

Like your new crib Ambra. So fresh and so clean clean.

'And all this science, i don't understand/its just my job five days a week/a Rocket Man'--Elton John/Bernie Taupin...but i DO belive that science enhances the stature of God...the laws that govern the unpredictable order that is the universe had to come from somewhere/something...i personally don't have the background to debate the Big Bang theory or understand all this talk about quarks and gluons et cetera, but i can't comprehend that the universe was an 'accident'...i believe that whatever the method, it was created by a rational, intelligent Being...i called Him Yehovah and if that makes me a fool, then i will live and die a fool...we don't live long enough to see all that we need to see to fully comprehend this puzzle...so, i'll just continue to BELIEVE!!!

A:

LOVE the new look (yeah, I shouted).

Laserlawyer:

Not singling you out, but folk often "pick on" evolution and The Big Bang because they are theories. I believe they choose these two because they (to some) offend their interpretation of Genesis. Yet gravity is also a theory. These postulates are tested and re-tested for centuries. Newton's stands up because it won the test of time. And Darwin proposed natural selection, not evolution. When one's skin tans to accomodate the sun, it is, in the short term, "selecting" to allow survival. When our antibodies battle germs, they are selecting and adapting. Ethnic groups gain weight and grow taller on Western diets (in two-three generations)! Doesn't minimize God, though some things (even older creation stories- civilizations other than Judaism have them) contradict Genesis. We didn't have telescopes then.

BCB:

If only evolution were treated like a scientific theory. But it's not. It's often treated like orthodoxy, with contrary theories or viewpoints (such as creation, or ID) barred from the debate.

I get real suspicious whenever the proponents of a theory (like macroevolution, or global warming) hinder the ability of those with a contrary view from entering the debate.

Answer for laserlawyer.

Dear Laser Lawyer, I am wondering If you ever read my comments or you just use your imagination to make me these questions. I will be more than glad to answer to your question however I didnt post anything related to your question.
Kind regards
Alf

Dear Alf,

Nevermind.

The Big Bang Model is based on two theoreties.

1.-General Relativity
In 1916 when Einstein developed his General Theory of Relativity which he proposed as a new theory of gravity. His theory generalizes Isaac Newton's original theory of gravity, c. 1680,

2.-The Cosmological Principle
After the introduction of General Relativity a number of scientists, including Einstein, tried to apply the new gravitational dynamics to the universe as a whole. At the time this required an assumption about how the matter in the universe was distributed. The simplest assumption to make is that if you viewed the contents of the universe with sufficiently poor vision, it would appear roughly the same everywhere and in every direction. That is, the matter in the universe is homogeneous and isotropic when averaged over very large scales. This is called the Cosmological Principle. This assumption is being tested continuously as we actually observe the distribution of galaxies on ever larger scales.

It is vere impressing how many people are unenlightened because of their faith in religion and God.

Its very impressive to me how people react. Lets say that we could ever prove them or offer proof God doesnt exist, they would invent God in their minds and reate him as a fantasy. Reality is very hard to face. Laserlawyer asked me about my scientific faith. I would never say scince is about faith. scientific theory must be observable, reproducible and falsifiable. Different than faith because faith is not observable,reproducible and falsifiable. Faith is like a neorological disorder or Paranoia. I think religion is very good for ignorant people because thats the way they should be control, their lack or rationality doesnt allow them to get into the abstract thought.
Regards
Alfred

Alfred, how is an uncaused universe observable, reproducible, and falsifiable?

Seems like conjecture to me.

The model for the theory itself may be sound, but when you begin applying the said model to a unobserved, unreproducible, unfalsifiable past event, it is not science.

Alex,
I will start by giving you the definition of Universe: all matter and energy in space, the totality of all matter and energy that exists in the vastness of space, whether known to human beings or not.
The big ban theory has supporting evidence whereas you dont have any supporting evidence that God exists just faith and words that you express to willing ears the supporting evidence that scientist have is this.
Next time you reply please I would highly appreciate it if you could include any evidence of the God or Gods you believe in. During all these centuries religion has killed thousands of people in the name of God starting from the old civilization to the spanish inquisitions.

Supporting Evidence
The universe cooled as it expanded. After about one second, protons formed. In the following few minutes—often referred to as the “first three minutes”—combinations of protons and neutrons formed the isotope of hydrogen known as deuterium as well as some of the other light elements, principally helium, as well as some lithium, beryllium, and boron. The study of the distribution of deuterium, helium, and the other light elements is now a major field of research. The uniformity of the helium abundance around the universe supports the big bang theory and the abundance of deuterium can be used to estimate the density of matter in the universe.

From about 380,000 to about 1 million years after the big bang, the universe cooled to about 3000°C (about 5000°F) and protons and electrons combined to make hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen atoms can only absorb and emit specific colors, or wavelengths, of light. The formation of atoms allowed many other wavelengths of light, wavelengths that had been interfering with the free electrons, to travel much farther than before. This change set free radiation that we can detect today. After billions of years of cooling, this cosmic background radiation is at about 3 K (-270°C/-454°F).The cosmic background radiation was first detected and identified in 1965 by American astrophysicists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson.

The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) spacecraft, a project of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), mapped the cosmic background radiation between 1989 and 1993. It verified that the distribution of intensity of the background radiation precisely matched that of matter that emits radiation because of its temperature, as predicted for the big bang theory. It also showed that cosmic background radiation is not uniform, that it varies slightly. These variations are thought to be the seeds from which galaxies and other structures in the universe grew.

Evidence indicates that the matter that scientists detect in the universe is only a small fraction of all the matter that exists. For example, observations of the speeds at which individual galaxies move within clusters of galaxies show that a great deal of unseen matter must exist to exert sufficient gravitational force to keep the clusters from flying apart. Cosmologists now think that much of the universe is dark matter—matter that has gravity but does not give off radiation that we can see or otherwise detect. One kind of dark matter theorized by scientists is cold dark matter, with slowly moving (cold) massive particles. No such particles have yet been detected, though astronomers have made up fanciful names for them, such as Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). Other cold dark matter could be nonradiating stars or planets, which are known as MACHOs (Massive Compact Halo Objects)

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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