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New Rules: A Religious Test - Comments

hayesky's Avatar Comment 1 by hayesky

Thank God we have an atheist on a somewhat popular show (popular to me). Anyone but Romney '08. Down with the Immoral Majority.

Fri, 21 Sep 2007 21:37:00 UTC | #69093

Quine's Avatar Comment 2 by Quine

Just tell'n it like it is.

Fri, 21 Sep 2007 22:10:00 UTC | #69096

Veronique's Avatar Comment 3 by Veronique

I am warming to Bill Maher. I have watched quite a number of his TV appearances. When he's in control of his show, he lets fly. When he's being interviewed, he can be over run by the interviewer.

BUT, he's out there and that's what is needed. He has a voice and an audience. More power to him!! We need everyone we can get.

It's interesting. Some other Antipodean mentioned that we haven't got anything like Maher down here. It will worry me if we do get a Maher here. It will mean that we have slid into the Slough of Despair. And that will be a disaster.


Fri, 21 Sep 2007 22:43:00 UTC | #69101

EastCoastAtheist's Avatar Comment 4 by EastCoastAtheist

Say what you want about Maher, but when he's talking about religion, he's great!

I can't think of anyone else who has said things like that on television! "Santa Claus and Jesus are really the same guy"

It's too bad that he's on premium cable (I've actually only got regular cable), so he's less accessible. I don't think comments like that could make it on network TV, at least not in America. On regular cable, the closest you get is the Daily Show, and a few other Comedy Central shows. Unfortunately, they usually seem to dance around the issue, using satire and insinuations...nothing explicit.

Whether he knows about it or not, Maher is certainly helping to promote the Out Campaign. (And after the clip posted on this site, I liked the jab at The View)

Fri, 21 Sep 2007 22:54:00 UTC | #69103

Richard Morgan's Avatar Comment 5 by Richard Morgan

I really enjoy Bill Maher. But I absolutely must visit the USA sometime soon in order to get the feel of a country where people will actually split their sides laughing at lines like:
"Santa Claus and Jesus are really the same guy"
(PS Does anybody know where I can buy Magic Mormon Underwear? And does it have the same effect as Viagra?)

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 00:39:00 UTC | #69112


I'm not a fan of Bill's - Maher or O'Reilly - but I do like Maher's take on religion idiocy.

I especially like the label of "Rationalist" - I may adopt that as my label when asked about god belief - "No, I'm a rationalist, instead".

Has a nice ring to it.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 02:17:00 UTC | #69119

RobertlewisIR's Avatar Comment 7 by RobertlewisIR

I found myself applauding many times, even with no one around to hear me.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 03:02:00 UTC | #69123

Yorker's Avatar Comment 8 by Yorker

3. Comment #72615 by Veronique

Good on you there Veronique! Keep plugging away at the most important point: atheists, go forth and multiply!

...I just had an exciting thought, this site has a "Converts Corner", maybe it should have a "Breeders Corner" also. Where atheistic men and women confess their shagging status and announce the impending arrival of a mini-atheist!

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 03:21:00 UTC | #69130

konquererz's Avatar Comment 9 by konquererz

Brilliant as usual. Maher just keeps plugging them on his show. I agree, he doesn't interview well, but he damn sure gets it write when its his show!

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 03:26:00 UTC | #69131

alexanjc's Avatar Comment 10 by alexanjc

Important points from this video:
1. Humor is probably the most effective long term tactic to erode religion's credibility.
2. Seems the best thing "rationalists" could do is to become an organized voting block and publicly reject any candidate who professes to be a "god-worshipper". Candidates will twist themselves into pretzels in order not to offend any organized political group (homosexuals, blacks, hispanics, women, jews, etc.).

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 03:43:00 UTC | #69136

Yorker's Avatar Comment 11 by Yorker

5. Comment #72627 by Richard Morgan

When you do I think you will notice the following: they laugh at the drop of a hat and they cry at the drop of a hat.

Incidentally, I thought Maher was funny and accurate here.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 03:48:00 UTC | #69137

MonkeyTree2's Avatar Comment 12 by MonkeyTree2

If you don't live in America or don't have HBO there is a free (Audio Only) podcast of the show every monday

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 03:54:00 UTC | #69138

Yorker's Avatar Comment 13 by Yorker

10. Comment #72652 by alexanjc

All it needs is for atheists to become more vociferous and obviously numerous, then you will see the magical change that comes over politicians. All of them will start saying similar things like:

"Well, I'm a believer in Jesus myself but I have the greatest respect for those good citizens who don't; they are entitled to believe whatever they like; that's what makes our country great! I think we all need to understand that"

Totally predictable bullshit from people who spend their lives lying to others.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 04:01:00 UTC | #69140

alexanjc's Avatar Comment 14 by alexanjc

Point is that if "rationalists" can achieve an organized voting block, then candidates will not clearly admit that they "believe in Jesus", instead they will find an obtuse way to try to appease the "god-worshippers" and the "rationalists" at the same time. Pretty soon their public statements will become unintelligible.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 04:11:00 UTC | #69141

Yorker's Avatar Comment 15 by Yorker

14. Comment #72657 by alexanjc

As long as religites are the majority, politicians will espouse religion; they have to. Of course they will try to appease both groups but that's old hat for them, they do it all the time. As for unintelligibility, they're already there, do I have to mention Bush?

Ah well, enough from me for now, more important and pleasurable things to do.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 04:22:00 UTC | #69142

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 16 by SilentMike

I don't know if I always agree with him but I love watching Bill Maher. From my home in a faraway small country in the middle of the desert this lunatic makes me believe that there is hope for a sane america.

It's importent that people like Maher speak up their mind about religion in every public forum. I've been following Maher for some time now. Though I've never heard him actually define himself as an atheist it seems clear to me that he's been getting bolder and bolder about this topic (religion) over the last few years. He clearly derives confidence from polls showing the number of nonbelieving americans is on the rise. Statment like Maher's in turn make rationalists feel that they are not alone in rejecting religious belief. The true size of non-believing rationalist camp is gradually becoming clear.

This self-feeding process is very important, and is due in great part (in my opinion) to the success of atheistic books such as Richard Dawkins' TGD. And now, the more people talk about this, the more it becomes something you can talk about in more and more social situations (untill everybody gets sick and tired of hearing about it that is). In closing, good for Maher. I hope more people speak out like him; in the US as well as here.

BTW. I am aware that this is probably hardly news to most of you. I just needed to write it down and get it out of my system.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 06:05:00 UTC | #69152

JackR's Avatar Comment 17 by JackR

That was great, and the reason it was great is that it's an American show. I think maybe people in Britain and elsewhere outside the US still don't really get that it's unusual and gutsy to have an American TV host saying things like that so clearly and uncompromisingly. America needs more if it.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 06:27:00 UTC | #69154

ksskidude's Avatar Comment 18 by ksskidude

This was great! I wonder if he has been coached on talking points. Meaning he never says atheist, he uses rationalist and non-believers. So it makes me wonder if it has been suggested to him to stay away from that dirty word.

I was so happy watching it. I felt my chest fill up with pride as he reminded his viewers of what being a athei er rationalist means.

Its happening...

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 07:28:00 UTC | #69157

oxytocin's Avatar Comment 19 by oxytocin

I've never felt comfortable with the term "atheist" and have taken to referring to my stance as "rational materialist". This has the benefit of positively stating one's method of thinking, and circumventing the stigma associated with the negation term "atheist". People simply don't understand the latter term.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 07:36:00 UTC | #69159

NJS's Avatar Comment 20 by NJS

I received an appointment letter to see an ENT specialist today and the out-patient form has a space for religion.

Any suggestions at to what I should put?

I was think "Not Applicable" but that implies reticence rather than "pride" in my rationality.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 07:55:00 UTC | #69164

Mango's Avatar Comment 21 by Mango

Maher's use of humor will reach many people who 1) aren't reading books 2) don't understand science 3) can have their ideas challenged by ridicule.

Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, and Maher all have different tones and approaches, which is great to reach the most people.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 07:57:00 UTC | #69166

oxytocin's Avatar Comment 22 by oxytocin

NJS, at the hospital where I work, we have several options to choose from, and I often see "None" selected. I think that sums it up.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 08:04:00 UTC | #69167

NJS's Avatar Comment 23 by NJS

Ocytocin: I think "none" is a bit of a wimp out generally - it implies it doesn't matter when I feel strongly it does.

However I don't want to go down the "Atheism" is another religion/belief system route.

I like the idea of "None (I have a brain)" but in the UK that might offend the doctor and I don't want tortuous sinus surgery if I don't need it :).

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 08:11:00 UTC | #69168

oxytocin's Avatar Comment 24 by oxytocin

NJS, wow, you feel strongly about filling out forms. If you want, you could submit a short essay with every form that requests your religious status. I can't see any reason for "none" being wimpy, unless you're super surly and just want to take every opportunity to bash people. None means simply that. It's accurate and succinct. As you say, putting atheist there implies a set of beliefs where there are "none"...and so we're back to that word again.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 08:48:00 UTC | #69171

NJS's Avatar Comment 25 by NJS

Its just that it doesn't happen that often and I like to take it seriously :)

I remember ticking the "None" box with gusto for the 2001 census (I don't think they had in 91) but thought at the time that they should have stated "by the way, going to weddings, funerals and christenings does not make you a bloody christian - actually think before answering" just to see what the figures would have looked like if everyone followed the advice.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 08:54:00 UTC | #69172

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 26 by Dr Benway

Regarding the "what to write in the religion box" question: I recommend flying under the bureaucratic radar. Put "none." Don't be clever, cute, or interesting.

Remember that privacy is a thing of the past. What you write goes into a large database which can be cross referenced with other information about you.

I'm sure most of us lead dull lives and have little to hide. But you might one day find yourself in an adversarial relationship with a person who can access these data stores, and who might query for inconsistensies, dirt, or anything that might paint you in a negative light in someone else's eyes.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 09:05:00 UTC | #69174

posiedon's Avatar Comment 27 by posiedon

When I fill in a form that says "religion" with a blank box beside it, I write in the box "No thanks".

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 09:49:00 UTC | #69179

Corylus's Avatar Comment 28 by Corylus

I personally am a fan of the 'Mind Your Own Business' response :-)

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 10:10:00 UTC | #69181

notsobad's Avatar Comment 29 by notsobad

well said

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 10:13:00 UTC | #69183

oxytocin's Avatar Comment 30 by oxytocin

The problem with putting "mind your own business" or some such thing is that people of no faith will be under-represented and we'll continue to be perceived as a puny, whiny, insufferable minority.

Sat, 22 Sep 2007 10:50:00 UTC | #69186