In a great post, Serge has tipped me off to the recent appearance of Bill Maher on the Larry King show. I've never understood how people can stomach Maher and I even feel somewhat guilty linking to anything that comes out of his mouth but I think Maher provides a fine example of how those who seem so opposed to faith, continually rely on their own version of faith in their arguments.
CALLER: Yes. What convinces Bill that God exists?
MAHER: I'm not convinced that God exists. But I do allow the possibility. I'm not an atheist. I'm open.
KING: You're an agnostic.
MAHER: My view on spirituality is I don't know. I never will as long as I'm alive. So why waste time dwelling on something I can never know? Just be a good person. It should be enough to want to be a good person for the sake of being a good person. I don't need the approval of Jesus or a God. If a God exists, or something that is a realm in another world, great. I'm happy about that.
On one hand, Maher claims that his view is "open." But then on the other hand he says, "I never will (know about the existence of God) as long as I'm alive." How "open" is that? "God might exist but I'll never know (not just I don't know now)." It seems to be a very closed off agnostic view. He goes on later to insult Christians for having faith but instead of having faith in God, Maher has faith in his own never ending doubt and uncertainty. Isn't it a bit of a "faith" statement to claim that you will never know about the existence of God as long as you're alive? What is that based on? Can Maher predict the future? Or is he basing his certainty of his future beliefs on blind faith?
What I'm most against is the certitude that people have about faith. You know, human beings are very ill-equipped for certitude, and that's what faith is. It is saying, I know more -- I just know it. When Bush was -- came back from the funeral of the pope, the press asked him what he thought about it. And he said, no doubt in my mind the Lord Christ was sent by the Almighty. Way to keep it neutral, huh? That's the first thing. I mean, what about the people who aren't Christian, what do they think when the leader of their country says a thing like that? But no doubt in my mind? Doubt is very fitting for the human mind, because we don't know. We're not that good. So you know, to answer that question, I would say, no, I don't...
So it's ok for Maher to be certain that he will never know but it's not ok for Bush to be certain about Christ? Talk about double standards.
"Way to keep it neutral?" Since when did "keeping it neutral" and becoming a pluralist guru become a priority for the President of the United States who is Christian? Why is it wrong for President Bush to share his faith? Would it also be wrong for agnostic or atheists leaders to share their lack of faith? Would Maher be worried about what Christians think if an atheist or agnostic president shared his views?
Doubting is very fitting for the human mind? What about searching? What about investigating? What about looking for answers? These things seem much more fitting to the human mind than doubt. Ask any parent of a young child. Yet Maher seems to have given up his search (if he ever had one) and has concluded that he will never know so why take the time to look.
KING: What do you say to those intelligent -- the Billy Grahams, who say they have no doubt? They have no doubt. They're going somewhere. They believe it.
MAHER: Well, they've brain-washed themselves. That's what religion is. It's brain-washing people to believe what you can never believe. And it's childish. It's childish. Instead of just saying, I don't know. That's what the adult thing is to do. To say, I don't know, and I'm going to be a good person for the sake of being a good person.
The adult thing to do is give up? Throw your hands up in the air and say, "I don't know." That sounds more like the kind of thing frustrated adolescents do when they've grown tired of looking.
Only in Bill Maher's faithful world of the faithless is examining the evidence and coming to a rationale conclusion considered childish thinking while simply saying, "I don't know. I'll be a good person for the sake of being a good person" considered adult thinking.