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At the beginning of Religulous, Bill Maher shows a bar graph illustrating the number of people in America who are not religious. That figure is 16% more than blacks, more than Jews, more numerous other minority groups who seem to have no problem making themselves heard and getting Congress to do his bidding. Maher wonders aloud why non-religious people are so underground, and why they are having an impact on the national debate. His film is aimed directly at that 16% of the country, and almost anyone else. His goal, and it clearly has one, is to give people the motivation they need to come out and do something … before it is too late.
Religulous begins with Bill Maher, alone in Israel at a place called Megiddo, a useless pile of rubble that many of the world’s religions believe the end of the world will begin. From there, Maher pushes us to an intense discussion, sincere, funny and brutal of blind belief, presenting the possibility that maybe we should all consider doubt instead. Next in the world, as it travels from place to talk with people of different faiths on different continents. What is surprising is that even though Maher definitely has an agenda, does not distort his film in the field of propaganda.
It is not propaganda, because Maher is not exhausted and the search for rare birds for use in smear tactics against the devout. Usually anyone who tries to make a case against God goes right to the pedophile priests and the suicide bombers, but Maher makes it a focal point in normal people, religious reasonably correct. Not stack the deck in your favor, do not need it. He talks to truckers in a chapel of the road, talking with random, middle class tourists in an amusement park of Christian themes.
He talks to religious shop owners, small town preachers, televangelists, Jews for Jesus, fundamentalist U.S. Senators, Vatican priests, religious scientists, secular Muslims, Muslims, gays, people in United States, Utah (c’mon, we all know that is not really America), Europe and even in Jerusalem. Despite a clumsy excuse to discredit him may claim otherwise, it is not extremists or lunatics. These are mostly healthy, rational people, even intelligent to believe something which Maher believes is insane.