Friday, July 17, 2009
"Religulous": Rationalism vs. Faith
Last night I watched with my family the movie "Religulous." The docu-movie was about Bill Maher, an in-your-face-comedian, satirist, going around interviewing primarily fundamentalists and extremists from Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Many parts of the film was witty and his quick wit and mind logically ran circles around most of the interviewees (although admitedly he chose pretty easy targets). While I agree that fundamentalist interpretations of the various holy writs lead to unthinking dogma and thus to blind, and at times, dangerous followers, I found the film left nothing else to offer people after his mind cut faith to bits. The movie and Bill's role reminded me of the left rational side of the brain trying to make sense out of the right irrational side. The logical side cannot make sense of the metaphysical world that is beyond cause and effect and the senses.
Religion, I believe, has a very valuable place in the world as a system of thought and codes, and each, through the saints and mystics, are shown as paths to the one summit. However, eventually, like a beloved worn garment, all religion must be cast aside in order for one to come totally naked without any pre-conceptions about the Beloved, Great Mystery. That which Is lies beyond all words and thoughts.
Bill Maher, while he may have been like Socrates in the film challenging peoples' "knowing," he could not lead us to that place beyond words, but only left us in the stark field of his jagged judgment.