This documentary, brainchild of Bill Maher, has one of the topic usually avoided at family dinners and cocktail parties – religion. Maher bravely goes where not many have before. He states from the beginning that he believes that religion is detrimental to human evolution. That is saying a lot about him and the viewpoint of the film. It is not without its problems.
Maher examines all religions and tries to get to the bottom of the odd beliefs and rituals within different religions. He questions why faith is thought of as something good. Questions why something is believed in without any scientific proof. Maher preaches the gospel of "I don't know" or of doubt.
While he goes into this bravely I think he goes into it brashly and does not do it with the respect it deserves. Just because you make fun or ridicule all religions does not make it right. How he handled the whole investigation I feel was disrespectful. You can investigate the questions of faith and religion without making fun of the believers or people involved.
A very interesting part of the film is when Maher turns the focus on his own religious upbringing. With his mother and sister, he investigates his own part Catholic, part Jewish household. Now he is basically an atheist and is willing to ponder, in front of everyone, why. This section showed me what the potential of the film. Too bad the rest isn't up to this standard.
He also makes an interesting point that because of some of the zealots that people with oppositional views are kept in the background. Their views need to come to the forefront if we are truly to get to the bottom of this subject. Religion is a subject is an easy target to attack, but when you claim to be doing a documentary on a subject I think it is your duty to do your subject justice.