"I, for one, do not wish to make the mistake
of blaming Christianity for what men have done to it."
~ Carl Gustav Jung
Have you noticed that Bible-thumping fundamentalists and atheists who reject the Bible have this in common: both prefer to focus exclusively on the worst elements of scripture; the former to promote it, and the latter to refute it? Neither is remotely interested in what is best in the Bible; both callously dismiss, as more or less irrelevant, passages of the most breathtaking profundity, which rival anything our world has to offer. The fact of the matter is that cruelty and stupidity abound in all fields, yet atheists reject religion by focusing only on the stupidity and cruelty of its worst adherents, and fundamentalists reject atheism by doing the same.
The main fault with Maher's documentary is its utter one-sidedness. No attention is paid to the atrocities committed by atheist organizations like the Communist Party, -- presumably because the argument which blames religion for the horrors of the Inquisition might just as easily be used to blame atheism for the horrors of the Russian Gulags; in either case, a specious, if not entirely moronic, argument. Conversely, Maher never once gives attention to the shining stars of religion -- the saints, monks, and activists who, all throughout history, have served as living monuments to what is best in the human spirit and, indeed, in religion. Nor does he so much as mention movements like Quakerism, a religion which eschews arbitrary dogmas (and indeed all doctrine whatsoever, aside from the one which states that there is something sacred, and deserving of encouragement, in every person), but which is based firmly on common sense, moral reflection, silent meditation, and political activism.
If anyone wishes to formally criticize the evils of religion, it would be wise to offer an alternative (apart from the flat negation which atheism represents) in the form of at least one affirmative example of religion.
Quakers, in particular, deserve some notice as forerunners in the promotion of civil rights for minorities and women -- including fair dealings with Native Americans, the abolition of slavery and the boycotting of goods produced through slave-labor, the equal right to vote, and better treatment for prisoners and mental patients. Not to mention, their ongoing work in favor of nonviolent resistance, an aspect of which includes the successful institution of a law (as early as 1672) which rejected the military draft in favor of freedom for conscientious objectors. And, lastly, a modest -- as opposed to materialistic, consumption-driven -- lifestyle; a position which perhaps has the most significant ramifications of all, particularly now that such stark class divisions exist between wealthy nations and the third-world countries upon which they prey; exploiting their indigenous resources, not the least of which are the lives, labors, liberties, and livelihoods of human beings.
Neglecting this, one wonders how anyone can take Bill Maher's documentary, his atheist views, or his mansion in Beverly Hills, seriously.