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The People in Darkness by ProQuest

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In the Bible, he points out, it is God alone who can destroy the earth, but now, with powerful weapons in the hands of religious fanatics (and Mher might lump George W. Bush in with the worst of the president's foes), those who believe in "the end of days" or other such apocalyptic notions may be able to fulfill such prophecies. [...] or so Maher says, he and his director, Larry Charles, traveled around the world with a camera crew for the sake of talking with, and understanding, those who are ridiculous enough to be religious.

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                  Richard Alleva
                  The	People	in	Darkness
                  ‘RElIGulouS’	&	‘BlINdNESS’
                               So far this has been an ex-
                                  cellent decade for village
                                   explainers, that tribe that
                                    eternally strives to get the
                                    rest of us to understand,
                                   among other things, that
                                 if religion does not answer
                              to logic and physical science,
                  it does not deserve to exist—that it is, in
                  fact, the root of most man-made evil. If
                  the twentieth century, with its atheistic
                  mass murderers, was a bad time for the
                  explainers, 9/11 and the mutual devasta-
                  tions of Sunni and Shiites gave them a
                  fresh claim on the public forum.
                     Religulous may make Bill Maher the
                  best-known village explainer on the
                  planet. Its opening scene clearly sums
                  up the comedian’s fears about organized
                  religion. In the Bible, he points out, it        Merry ex-mass
                  is God alone who can destroy the earth,
                  but now, with powerful weapons in the            inaccuracies, and even errors in diction.       and Larry Charles records faithfully, even
                  hands of religious fanatics (and Maher           So there’s no real inquiry here, just mock-     though what Coyne has to say blows the
                  might lump George W. Bush in with the            ery of the most ham-fisted sort.                Religulous project to pieces.
                  worst of the president’s foes), those who           To be fair to the unfair, there’s a streak


                                                                                                                   T
                  believe in “the end of days” or other such       of honesty in Maher that competes with                   o sketch the plot of Blindness is
                  apocalyptic notions may be able to fulfill       his smugness. Although he despises his                   to evoke the portentous word
                  such prophecies. Therefore, or so Maher          childhood religion, Roman Catholicism,                   “allegory.” A bustling, nameless
                  says, he and his director, Larry Charles,        as much as other faiths, he includes two        city populated by bustling, nameless peo-
                  traveled around the world with a camera          interviews that at least allow viewers to       ple (doesn’t all this namelessness guar-
                  crew for the sake of talking with, and           see that some believers aren’t “religu-         antee that we are looking at an allego-
                  understanding, those who are ridiculous          lous.” Fr. Reginald Foster, a senior Vati-      ry?) is stricken with a plague: sudden,
                  enough to be religious.                          can scholar, has the gusto of a Falstaff as     random sightlessness. Even though the
                     Actually, Maher makes no attempt              he distinguishes the essentials of his faith    victims are beginning to outnumber the
                  whatsoever to understand the grounds             from the inessentials (prophets swallowed       spared, the government herds the blind
                  of religious belief. He simply seeks out         by fish, December 25 being passed off as        into squalid detention centers to isolate
                                                                                                                                                                . November 7, 2008
                  (mostly) ridiculous people (creation-            the birth date of Christ). The astonished       the infection (but is it an infection?).
                  ists, some guy claiming to be the direct         (and perhaps delighted) Maher tries to          Guarded by panicky soldiers, and de-
                  descendant of Christ, another trying to          call Foster a “maverick,” but the priest        moralized by filth, most of the inmates
                  “cure” homosexuals with Scripture) who           good-naturedly blows the label off.             in one building try to maintain a sem-
                  have some hand in a religious enterprise            I particularly admire Maher for includ-      blance of civilization but are undermined
                  (I use the word deliberately since some          ing the interview with George Coyne,            by others who turn to thievery, rape,
                  are making money out of re
								
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