What do you say to people like Bill Maher?

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January 12, 2011 by Nicole

Last night, I happened to catch Bill Maher’s sacrilegious documentary Religulous on television, and at the very least, I can say I felt a mixture of anger, sadness, shock, and a whole mixture of other things that I can’t quite describe.  I was quite disturbed to watch someone take the time and the trouble to spend two hours blaspheming religion and labeling the religious faithful as deluded and, for lack of a better way of putting it, simply misguided to the point of living in a fantasy world.

I did not even watch the end of it, but I found myself in a place that I think a fair number of us are in.  I openly admit that I struggle with doubt and that I wonder at times if there is anyone up there who can hear me.  I try to be a committed Catholic and attend mass regularly, but there are times when I know that my faith is weak.   I want it to be stronger.  The scary part is that people like Bill Maher voice the doubts and the fears that I find myself struggling with; the power of what if? is intense, especially at the times one feels most separated from God and at the times when God is quiet.

I don’t think that Maher is right, and found myself wondering whether he has ever read one of the best, most logically constructed arguments against his beliefs: C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.  I don’t think that Christianity is a delusion, nor do I believe that millions of people around the world are insane.  What on earth can you say, or do you say to an atheist as arrogant and outspoken as Maher?  How do you defend your faith to those who tell you that you are living in a state of denial and fantasy? Is there anything that you can say that begins to crack the shell of their ignorance, especially, when in the case of people like Maher, his “logical” argument is clearly full of fallacies–he stacks the deck against Christians, makes them look like childish morons, and proceeds to develop his argument by begging the question of God’s existence by placing the burden of proof squarely on Christianity.

Thus, I found myself wondering–if people like Maher can voice doubt so keenly, what does one say in response?

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