What is Bill Maher’s Problem?

 

Bill Maher by David Shankbone

 What is Bill Maher’s problem?

Kevin Sorbo, the star of God is Not Dead, responded in the video below to yet another of Bill Maher’s ugly anti-God rants.

In this particular rant, Mr Maher raises the “God is evil” argument, basing it on the movie Noah. I’m going to write a post discussing the “God is evil” argument. But for now, let’s just look at Mr Sorbo and Mr Maher.

Mr Sorbo’s view of Mr Maher’s behavior is worth thinking about. What is behind all this ranting and raving? Is Mr Maher doing it because it attracts an audience and makes money? Or, does he believe it? Even if he believes it, why all the crazy carrying on?

I have never watched Mr Maher’s show. I have seen a quite a few scenes from it on You Tube. Based on that, I would say that he’s also nasty in his treatment of women. In fact, Bill Maher seems to be thoroughly ugly in the way he expresses himself on a number of topics.

But it seems that God is his special hate. In addition to rants like the one on this video, he also made an entire movie attacking God and people of faith. Again, I never saw — and don’t plan to see — the movie. But I have seen a few scenes from it. The pleasure he takes in attacking people of faith is rather striking.

So, what is Bill Maher’s problem? It would seem that, like the professor in the movie, it isn’t so much that he doesn’t believe in God, as that he hates God. He really goes off in this video. It’s as if he’s talking to God directly instead of his audience. Why all this rage about someone he doesn’t believe exists?

I’m sure Mr Maher makes a lot of money attacking God. But I think he probably means most of it. I think he’s as God-obsessed as he appears. I am guessing, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t also as vicious and unpleasant in person as he appears in these clips.

One connected point Mr Sorbo made is something all of us should consider: He doesn’t subscribe to HBO.

We subscribe to a rather expensive cable television package at our house. I honestly don’t know the particulars of this cable package, since my husband set it up and pays the bill for it. If there’s a way for us to dump HBO, we certainly need to do it. If not, we might ought to consider getting rid of the premium channels altogether.

Watching this clip made me wonder if we’re not unintentionally tithing a good bit of our money to support direct attacks on our faith.

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  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    He is nasty about God, and he is nasty about women. You don’t suppose that he was dumped by a pretty young Catholic or Evangelical girl?

    • SisterCynthia

      There might be something to your theory! However, he’s nasty about just about everything. It’s a sad sign of the times that merely being a cruel, nasty person with a smidge of wit can land you your own show, interviews and movie. :p

      • Alvaro Fidel Martinez

        I agree.

        There are commentators from across the political spectrum, and of various religious beliefs, whom I cannot stand.

        On the secular Left, I find people such as Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, and Amanda Marcotte to be absolutely vicious.

        On the religious right, I can’t stand to hear Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Peter Ruckman.

        I’m a (pro-life) Mennonite, and I simply can’t stand meaness and intolerance one way or the other. It doesn’t matter what your political persusasion or religious beliefs are, such behavior is wrong.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        It was NOT meant as a serious remark.

        • SisterCynthia

          I knew you were kidding, Fabio. I should have perhaps indicated that. :)

    • Gordis85

      Maher claims he was raised in a home where one parent was Jewish the other Catholic. The best of two worlds I would say but it seems he has tossed both out the window.

      I remember reading in a People magazine that he was a regular at the Playboy mansion here in Los Angeles, CA until he met Arianna Huffington and took up with her. She has a nasty side to her as well.

      Lots of folks need prayers…ourselves included. ^^

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        American liberalism, in general, is anti-historical. Everything that happened before 1960 is useless to their way of life.

    • Gordis85

      Or maybe a nice Jewish girl. ;p

  • erin

    Whenever I hear things like Maher’s rants, the first thing that strikes me is that he desperately WANTS God not to be real. Because if God is real, then that demands quite a bit from him, beginning with a little bit of intellectual humility. So many more components as well . . .

    • John Curnutt

      Maher is making the argument that religion is not neutral in society. It is, on balance, harmful. And if anyone can explain how the god of y he old testament is NOT evil, I for one would like to hear it.

      • fredx2

        It is interesting that no one ever heard much of the God of the Old Testament being “evil” before the New Atheists. It is a faddish meme that we will get over in a few years, just like their previous “Pope Pius XII was a Nazi” meme. (see Gary Krupps new book, See Rabbi David Dalin’s books etc)

        Don’t you find it odd that over three thousand years of history, no one really noticed this “evil God” until now?
        Perhaps it is because the God of the Old Testament is not evil. Perhaps when you read the entire old testament, you find a loving God. To be sure, there are passages that do not square with that idea. You have found them. They have always posed a problem. But only a person who is completely unscientific throws out all the thousands of bits of evidence for God being good because he has found a couple of bits of evidence for God being evil.
        And lets look at the evidence: The accounts are fairly fragmentary , written three thousand years ago. Does the bible go into great detail about the Amalekites, or are they just mentioned in passing? There are mentioned in passing and we have no clear idea of the whole picture. Now, you have a point if you assume that all believers are Fundamentalists and believe every single sentence written in the bible is the historical truth. But very few are Fundamentalists, and you make the mistake of attacking your opponents weakest arguments, not his strongest. That is weak.

        What you are doing is polemics – the art of not caring about the truth, rather taking isolated bits of evidence to make a case that does not stand scrutiny over time.. It is helpful in quick debates, or comm boxes, or college dorm rooms, but not in real life.

        Perhaps they are full and accurate accounts. Perhaps things are left out. Perhaps the Israelites thought that God told them that, or were told that God wanted this or that, and they wrote it down, but got it wrong. Although we can trust the bible overall, we do not treat it as a strict historical text. Most believers agree on that.

        Anyone who is scientific evaluates all the evidence. No serious scientists ignores mountains of evidence because he finds a few scraps of fragmentary, contrary evidence. You accept that God killed all of humanity during the flood, but you ignore his stated reason – that mankind had become unbelievably corrupt and violent. You can’t accept one without the other.

        Furthermore, your position is incredibly insulting to Jewish people. They are the people of the old testament. This is their book. You insult them by saying they believe in an “evil” God.

        • FW Ken

          Fred, this is actually an old argument, possibly going back to Marcion in the second century. When I was taking religion classes in the early 70s, it was also fashionable to contrast the OT God of vengeance and the NT God of love. That works really well for polemicists and people who don’t examine the whole picture (as you correctly note).

          One thing that polemicists ignore is that the people the Israelites wiped out were heavy into child sacrifice. They had idols with ovens carved into their bellies. Babies and young children were thrown in to gain favor. Repeated experience showed that their evil corrupted the Israelites when left in place.

        • Macmooski

          What seems to happen is that unbelievers come across God passing judgement in the OT and they label His judgement “evil”. They do the same with any NT scripture that labels an act wrong. What they are really doing is trying to escape the moral consequences of their actions. They have placed themselves above God; it is a rejection of His authority.

      • peggy-o

        Very little is neutral in society. Maher’s views are so polarized to such a negative extreme. He completely ignores how much good has been done by religions and people of faith, the enormous contribution to western civilization in art, science, education, philanthropy and more. I used to like his show when it first started on ABC years ago but his ego has run amok. You can find reasoned answers to your question at catholic answers forum at catholic.com or look up Mitch Pacwa he’s an old testament scholar steeped in ancient languages. It’s more than worth the time to investigate.

        • FW Ken

          I’m going to start telling obnoxious atheists to go built a charity hospital and then we’ll talk about the evil religion had some in the world.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        Others did it better, but here’s my suggestion: The modern definition of evil is what changed, not God. New atheists want to have their ideals be supreme, and are just as willing to accept “evil” as the people wiped out in the old testament were. Only the accepted evils have changed.

  • george-a

    Just an aside, but it struck me that — in what was shown in that clip, which clearly was an excerpt, so all appropriate caveats — the biggest laugh came from the joke poking fun at Russell Crowe. The rest of the time, it sounded as though the audience was primed to laugh but was holding back a little … not finding it really funny or a little shocked or something.

  • SisterCynthia

    Humor aside, I think Sorbo is probably onto something about there being something in Maher’s past that has prompted this level of unhappiness and rage against God and anyone he disagrees with. There seems to be way more emotion there than simple disbelief would cause. And yeah, I’m disinclined to chalk it up to an act when he routinely goes out of his way to “go there” and even made a movie to get his view on the big screen. He desperately needs prayer for his salvation, tho it would hack him off to hear that. :-/

  • Faithr

    Whenever I see a clip of Bill Maher I think to myself: that is one unhappy man. Pray for him.

  • Caleb Fiero

    How can you say anything about Bill Maher thoroughly, without having actually watched his show and only having seen clips on the internet? I stopped reading your article at that. You obviously didn’t research your subject very well.

  • fredx2

    There are two kinds of atheists. There is the emotional atheist and the rational atheist. The emotional atheist has some deep seated psychological reason for hating the church, and God. He enjoys mocking people, he enjoys trying to make them feel stupid by means of logic tricks. Mocking and derision is central to his atheism. These are the New Athiests. It is a parlor trick; the art of the polemicist, not the art of the searcher after truth.

    Rational atheists are people of good will who, after careful consideration, simply see no evidence for God, and therefore do not believe. They don’t don’t make it their business to constantly harass believers. They believe each person can come to their own conclusions.

    Maher seems to be an emotional atheist.. Perhaps, he just figured out a way to make money by doing it. But I think he is sincere.

    But what is odd about Maher and his Noah schtick is this – he wants to take one part of the Noah story and accept it as true ( that God killed all of humanity except Noah and his family) but at the same time he refuses to accept the other part of the story as true. The bible says that God did this because mankind had become incredibly corrupt and violent. Maher ignores that part, and pretends the bible did not say it. If you want to condemn God for killing everyone, you have to accept that the reason he did it is as is explained in the bible. Maher tries to ignore the reason.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      The sad part, is the emotional Biblical Atheists that reject God based on the Noah Story, are invariably the modern part of the story they reject- I see nothing in their lives worth emulating at all.

  • lroy77

    I have also seen Bill Maher in bits and pieces. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. He’s just NASTY! No religion is exempt….his ravings against “cults” like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses IS amusing; but when he goes on and on…and on…against legitimate Christian religions like Catholics and Protestant (pick your denomination) that’s going too far.

    There are other atheists (Penn Jillette), that while do not believe in God, at least it appears respectful of those who DO believe and doesn’t make nasty hateful remarks against Christians.


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