Bill Maher gets Religulous

We don’t usually post clips here at Movie Make-out, but I’m making an exception here, for Bill Maher and Borat director Larry Charles’ Religulous:

It always bothers me when rich Christians willfully misinterpret Jesus’s saying, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” That doesn’t mean it’s really really hard — it means it’s impossible. I don’t really understand how you can twist that one around.

Maher, in my opinion, goes a little overboard in his anti-religious stances. I do think it’s perfectly possible for people to be religious and to believe in a god (or God, if you insist) of some sort, and yet not hold ridiculous beliefs that contradict observable facts about the universe beyond that (I’ll refrain from getting more specific than that, because this ain’t the place). But Borat was hysterical, Maher is a very funny, very intelligent man, and there is certainly a lot of room for comedy in a sort-of-documentary about religion such as this. Of all the movies coming out this fall, this is the one I want to see the most.

You can watch the trailer over at Apple (or the offical site). A heart-wrenching (to me, anyway) clip with Maher and Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor about how someone helping to run our country doesn’t believe in evolution can be found at YouTube. (He also meets Jesus in the film.) Religulous had a qualifying run earlier this summer, but it begins its proper, limited release on October 3.

Posted on September 5, 2008 at 15:11 by Gordon@MovieMakeout · Permalink
In: News

5 Responses

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  1. Written by Jackson Ferrell
    on 2008-09-06 at 18:39

    It actually doesn’t seem an untenable proposition to me that Jesus’ needle’s-eye saying was meant to underscore the difficulty of the task rather than its impossibility. Two explanations are often advanced, neither of which I’m knowledgeable enough to refute with certainty. One is based on the similarity between the greek words for camel (kamelon) and rope (kamilon). Given how vowels work in Semitic languages, a conflated translation of the two words from Hebrew/Aramaic to Greek would be possible, though unlikely. The second explanation is that cities, in addition to the main gate, had a smaller and narrower gate about four feet tall, and these gates were nicknamed “needle’s eyes.” Although there are no surviving extrabiblical texts that specifically refer to the smaller gates as “needle’s eyes,” modern archaeology has confirmed that the gates do exist, and native Syrians and Jews refer to them as “needle’s eyes” today, so the theory is not without viability.

    Nonetheless, if I go on too long about this possible historical background stuff, I am missing the point. Whether Jesus meant it’s difficult or impossible for a rich man to enter heaven, he was unequivocal in his condemnation of those who use their wealth selfishly or irresponsibly, with no concern for the poor. For every rich man whose faith he applauds, there are ten he lambasts for their ostentation, greed, and exploitation of “religiosity” for social and political power. American Christianity is similarly afflicted with the disease of affluenza, and to the extent that Maher ends up exposing this in Religulous, more power to ‘im. I guess that’s a little off-topic from the original post, but there’s my two cents.

  2. Written by Gordon
    on 2008-09-06 at 21:33

    To be totally fair, Jesus did follow that saying with “all things are possible with God,” or something to that effect.

    In any case, you are right; the broader meaning of it is more important.

  3. Written by MovieFan
    on 2008-09-07 at 09:51

    actually the story about those gates known as ‘eyes of the needle’ are a myth: there were no such gates. The british gameshow QI (which is in part dedicated to correcting misinformation and myths) deals with it here:

  4. Written by Jesus DeSaad
    on 2008-09-08 at 07:28

    I’d like to point out that I’m a history buff with a linguistics major and a Greek to boot, and the kamilon and kamelon words above are gibberish.
    The camel has a female name for both sexes (kameela and… male kameela). It’s been so since the introduction of the camel to the Grecian world way before Christ.
    The rope in question is named chamelon (with the greek chi(X) letter in the beginning. It was used to tie boats to lower ports, hence the name (chamelon means lower one).

    The two words have such a different set of letters in the greek alphabet that it would be impossible to confuse the two unless the person writing them was as illiterate as someone who can confuse the words Dublin and dubious in the english language.

    This is not the only silly mistranslation argument. Some people believe that the crossing of the Red Sea is a mistranslation and that the original story referred to the Sea of Reeds close by. It frustrates me because those people don’t take into account the fact that the Hebrew fugitives spoke Hebrew and NOT ENGLISH at the time.

  5. Written by Jackson Ferrell
    on 2008-09-08 at 20:12

    Man, I really should have known that! I studied ancient Greek for a year and a half. I guess that’s what I get for doing my research on the internet, instead of cracking out my interlinear New Testament and lexicon… :P

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