Bill Maher on Hypocritical Christians

Last night on Real Time, Bill Maher explained the hypocrisy of many Evangelical Christians:

… If you’re a Christian who supports killing your enemies and torture, you have to come up with a new name for yourself.

The bit begins at the 2:35 mark:

I was really surprised that Maher used the word “Christian” as synonymous with “good.” That seems to go against most of his usually anti-religious rhetoric. Since when are Jesus and the Bible the epitome of moral behavior, especially in his eyes?

Despite the punchlines, would you expect Maher to say these things?

Martin Luther King gets to call himself a Christian, because he actually practiced “loving his enemies.”

And Gandhi was so fucking Christian, he was Hindu.

And:

You’re supposed to look at that figure of Christ on a cross and think, “How could a man suffer like that and forgive?”

Not, “Romans are pussies. He still has his eyes.”

His point is taken, though. Christians who love revenge and war are in no way following the “turn the other cheek” version of Christianity they claim to represent.

And I love this line:

Jesus lays on that hippie stuff pretty thick. He has lines like “Do not repay evil with evil” and “Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.” Really!

It’s in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people.


  • Lisa

    I enjoyed that thoroughly.

  • Matt

    This was pretty entertaining. I love seeing the people on his show squirm and gasp when he says inflammatory things. I don’t watch him much, but this clip was good. Thanks for blogging about it.

  • Chad

    Like Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace says “I’ve almost come to the conclusion that this Mr. Hitler isn’t a Christian.”

  • JW

    I think Bill Maher explains quite a few de-conversions from Christianity whenever he gets on the topic. If you believe what’s in the book (well… the parts about being nice to each other at least), you get uncomfortable in a crowd of people who get a hard-on for every mention of a gun or killing, or the gratuitous usage of war-language when describing Christianity: “Christian soldier” “it’s a battle in this world” “march on with Christ”, etc. When I learned about how army lingo ended up in Russian Communism to give it a militaristic nature (“storm the gates of poverty” etc) I seriously thought “wow I’ve seen this in church”.

  • Kevin S.

    I think the disconnect comes from the fact that non-theists tend to be of two different camps when dealing with Christianists – those that use the Bible to demonstrate the contradictions and get people to give up on it all together, and those who use it to say, essentially, “Why aren’t you more like Rob Bell (and his ilk)?” It’s all pretty ridiculous, obviously, but I think most people aren’t willing to give up god altogether, so I’d rather hit ‘em with the second tactic and have them be deluded but decent. That sounds like what Maher is doing, at least in this case.

  • http://urbanmennoniteblog.com Ryan

    Love it, especially the line about it being in the book they use when they yell at gay people.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    Thanks for posting the video!

    It’s in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people.

    I absolutely positively love that line.

    There’s interpreting and then there’s ignoring.

    This is exactly what I’ve been thinking, though I usually think of it the other way around, when people pretend the Bible is so wonderful and pretend that the bad things aren’t there or are less bad than they appear to be. (With more moderate or progressive believers, I think it goes the other way, with people being nicer than the book tells them to be.)

    I was really surprised that Maher used the word “Christian” as synonymous with “good.” That seems to go against most of his usually anti-religious rhetoric. Since when are Jesus and the Bible the epitome of moral behavior, especially in his eyes?

    I’ve actually seen him say some nice things about the New Testament, and specifically Jesus, before. I think I have a more negative view of the New Testament compared to Maher, because of the parts about Hell and using charity work as an excuse to proselytize. Still, it’s a good thing to point out that the person they’re claiming to emulate (Jesus) is very different from the picture believers have of him.

    I love the video, and thanks again for posting it!

    -Ani Sharmin

  • TheBlackCat

    Although I agree with what he says, Maher is really the last one in the world who should be criticizing others for their hypocrisy, considering his decidely anti-science stance on health issues.

  • jose

    The bible can be used to support anything. You just have to quote the appropiate verses and ignore the rest.

  • SAL

    So true. As a Christian, I cannot see how many evangelicals can justify their love of war. So messed up.

  • ACN

    Although I agree with what he says, Maher is really the last one in the world who should be criticizing others for their hypocrisy, considering his decidely anti-science stance on health issues.

    True. We shouldn’t (and don’t!) treat him like an infallible prophet. We should criticize him when he’s a moron (vaccines) and if you care to, applaud him when he makes a point you agree with.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    If you’re a Christian who supports killing your enemies and torture, you have to come up with a new name for yourself.

    While I get what Maher’s trying to say, isn’t killing and torturing enemies the basis of Christianity? Their whole belief system revolves around the fact that they believe genocide and torture are moral when their god commands it. They believe torture (eternal torture, at that!) is morally justified as long as people don’t happen to believe or do the right things. It’s not a big leap to think that some of this god’s followers would support torture. If they can excuse away their god (their moral authority) torturing and killing people, what’s to prevent them from doing the same thing when it comes to their fellow human beings?

  • http://www.dwnomad.com Dustin Williams

    Maher’s comparing Christians to their own standard is brilliant. I appreciate the fact that he showed a little respect for Jesus’ teaching, while also clearly showing that he think’s it’s absurd. If you really want to hit Christians where it hurts, you have to use their language. Something he did very well here.

    As far as the Gandhi reference, he admired the character “Jesus” but stated that he could never be a Christian because of Christians.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    I, personally, am a fan of liberal-hippie-dude Jesus.

    I’m not a fan of his followers, who … just aren’t cool with the liberal hippie aspects of their “savior”.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    What Anna said.

  • Karl

    Related: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phil-zuckerman/why-evangelicals-hate-jes_b_830237.html Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus.

  • Brian

    Bill isn’t usually stupid, but for 2000 years, christians have done murder, torture, terror and so forth. Doing evil practically defines christianity. You could google Siege of Magdeburg or Siege of Beziers or the Mountain Meadows Massacre

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/OGPEWL4J4UYEWKRQDQB6D4DOGE Barrythevoter

      If it isn’t for Christ’s existence, then as an “atheist,” you have nothing to stand for. 

  • http://lyvvielimelight.blogspot.com/ Lyvvie

    I liked the Greenpeace comment best. Shame his audience weren’t taught to clap on cue. Someone needs to goose them a bit.

  • Derp

    The definition of Christianity is “following the teachings of Christ.” Not “following the teachings of the Old Testament” which is where the vast majority of all this “sinners will burn in the hellfire” type stuff comes from. And last I checked, Jesus wasn’t on-board with the Crusades or any other “religious” persecution perpetrated by people who were using a widespread organized Church as a method of control. Does Jesus strike you as the type of guy who would have said “Oh, Holocaust? Yeah, that’s cool, so long as you’re torturing and murdering the non-Christians.”

    And then we get into all of the books of the  Bible that aren’t actually IN the Bible because the various councils deemed them non-canonical. Some of them have radically different messages than what’s in there now.


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