Steven Greydanus is Dismantling “Religulous”

Hey, stop by and check it out: Steven Greydanus is dismantling Religulous, exposing the falsity of some of Bill Maher’s claims in the film. I’d recommend starting with this post, in which Greydanus begins with a question from Peter Chattaway:


… I do have one question: Does anybody here have any insights into Maher’s claim that 16% of the American public — a bigger chunk of the population than Jews, blacks, gays, or NRA members — is non-religious? Does that simply mean that 16% of the population is unaffiliated with any particular religion (which would leave open the possibility that they are still spiritual or even religious in a non-affiliated way)? Or does it mean that 16% of the population actively reject belief in God etc.? I ask because Maher tells this 16% of the population to shed its “timidity”, and to speak up the way all those other, smaller segments of the population do — and I am wondering if this 16% is really as solid a bloc as he implies it is.

Greydanus replies:


The presumptive source is the recent, massive study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which found that 16 percent of the population has no religious affiliation — not no religious belief.

The same study found that Americans are nearly unanimous (92 percent) in saying they believe in God. Only about four percent of Americans self-identify as “atheist” or “agnostic.”

Wait, it gets better. According to the study, over half of self-identified “agnostics” and over a fifth of “atheists” say that they believe in God or a universal spirit. “Atheists” and “agnostics” in double digits also believe in heaven and hell, pray at least weekly, believe that abortion should be illegal in most cases — and believe that “values are threatened by Hollywood.”

And he goes on from there, with even more simple debunking of Maher’s errors and falsehoods…

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

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    Since I don’t really feel like registering for another forum and having another login and password kicking around, I’ll voice my issue here:

    The Jefferson quote that Steven pulls out is “”That it [Christianity] is the most sublime and benevolent, I agree. But whether it has been more perverted than that of Moses, of Confucius, of Zoroaster ‚Ķ of Mahomet, of the Druids, of the Hindoos, etc., etc., I cannot as yet determine‚Ķ”

    Now, it seems to me, having not seen the film, or read the even broader context of the quote, that the word perverted is being abused. In Mayer’s use of the quote, it seems he is implying that Christianity is the perverting influence. In this broader quote, it seems that the sense is that it is Christianity that is being perverted or changed to a form that is not true to its original goals. In that sense, I would agree heartily.