Religion. Ridiculous. It's actually the title of a real movie (that I haven't seen - yet) out in some theaters. I saw an interview with Bill Maher, the comedian star, on the Daily Show (DS) a few weeks ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. The movie is more or less a religious satire, probing peoples' certainty about their own religions.
I was a little put off when the DS interview began, thinking, "How can you just go turn religion into a word and movie called ridiculous?!" Followed shortly by - "Hmm, but to be honest, I do agree that religion/faith can seem fairly absurd, if you step back and look from outside ."
Just as I was writing off Maher as a cocky and wealthy not-quite-athiest, he won me over with what I thought was a pretty profound statement. Halfway through, he said "I understand that not having faith is a luxury of a good life. If you're in prison and a guy says "all I have is Jesus," I get that." I realized that as I find myself sorting through aspects of my own faith this fall, it is only because my life is luxurious and good.
Fast forward. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, a one-year-old friend of ours had a severe seizure out of nowhere, and he spent the most of the weekend in ICU. At the end of the holiday weekend, I watched a TV movie (24) about young boys being conscripted into rebel militias in Africa. On a personal scale, and on a big-picture global scale, both of those situations gave me an in-your-face reminder of how life is not always so good.
Religion (or better put, faith?) may be ridiculous. Until we realize that we need it. When I need someone bigger than the world to fix the injustices of nations. When I needed peace and comfort as I watched my mother come to the end of her earthly life. When I cry out for healing for a friend or their child.
I don't have a catchy closing thought, because there are plenty of things on this topic that are still very fuzzy to me. I'll just observe that for today, life is not quite luxurious enough for me to throw in the towel and say it's all "religulous".
Daily Show interview re: Religulous
Other movies that have provoked these thoughts over the past year - Hotel Rwanda, The Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond