Anna Githens
Bill Maher and his anti-theist comedy act
By Anna Githens
June 29, 2013

Christians everywhere are providing Bill Maher with perfect comedic material.

Even minors with special needs are legitimate targets for him. Someone like Sarah Palin, who actually welcomes, loves, and cares for a child with special needs is beyond comprehension for someone like him; a self-professed Atheist who compares special needs children to dogs. Mr. Maher couldn't possibly understand the concept of human beings created in the Image of God; so it is by default that mockery becomes the weapon used to compensate for his ignorance.

It is important to note that there are Atheists and Anti-theists; the former being non-believers indifferent to the religious beliefs of others who more or less keep to themselves and don't care enough to attack the believing majority. Conversely, Anti-theists, such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens, have made it their mission in life to attack and demean the religious beliefs of others. This mission is fueled by their tragically flawed idea that all religions are harmful rather than helpful to society. Clearly, Bill Maher falls into this category.

There are varying attack strategies the Anti-theists use to assault the religious. They generally fall into two categories, one attempts to use reasoned arguments based on such things as scientific and personal theories, the other uses comedic mockery to shame and disparage anyone "intellectually challenged" enough to actually believe in God. Maher falls into the latter Anti-theist subcategory.

This mocking of Christians and monotheistic religions has become so commonplace nowadays it almost demands a word to denote itself, something like Mocktheist: an Anti-theist who resorts to using comedic mockery toward world religions as a means to belittle the faithful.

Yet, does Maher really not believe? He has claimed that "Jesus as a philosopher is wonderful" on an interview with Bill O'Reilly. He said, "There's no greater role model in my view than Jesus Christ." Might it then be deduced that when one calls a role model "great" and a philosophy "wonderful" one would believe that the teachings of that role model-philosopher were true? Wouldn't one naturally aspire to embody those teachings if there is "no greater role model" in his view?

Since it seems Mr. Maher is familiar with the philosophy of Jesus, I wonder what he thinks of some of his most prevalent teachings, such as, "Pick up your cross and follow me" (cf. Matthew 16:24) or "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

It would be much easier to dismiss yourself from the challenge to be a Christian.

Just think of the good material you wouldn't be passing up. Why not just sit back in disdainful amusement and laugh at the two billion plus struggling to carry their crosses? Which is exactly what Mr. Maher chose to do. What an ideal set up he has there, a bare shoulder, a clean conscience, and a microphone.

Mr. Maher has positioned himself quite nicely, posed where failure is impossible, that is, according to his self-created standards. How convenient.... a self-professed unbeliever sitting on the outside looking in at all the "Religulous" nuts striving to model Christ but failing miserably.

Bill Maher has also said, "I love Jesus. I just don't like the Christians who don't believe what he says." It doesn't take a detective to identify the hypocrisy here. He loves Jesus, he thinks his philosophy is wonderful, he thinks there is no greater role model, and he doesn't like those who don't believe what he says. Could it be possible that perhaps Bill Maher doesn't like himself?

Mr. Maher says it's a shame that most of the people who call themselves Christian act nothing like Christ. Perhaps many, but not most, fail at modeling Christ. Christians often fall short every day in one way or another. Why? Because being a Christian is hard. But Christians subject themselves to the challenge for reasons actually stated by Maher: they love Jesus, they think his philosophy is wonderful, and they think there is no greater role model. The difference between him and a Christian is Christians actually have the guts to follow the one they proclaim to love. They consistently strive to live in truth and will consent to nothing less. They graciously acknowledge and accept that it is a struggle well worth the challenge – one composed of humility, bravery, and love for Christ. A love that many declare to have, yet do not have the courage to fully embrace and develop.

Unfortunately Bill Maher and his Anti-theist friends neglect to notice the many Christians who don't fail at modeling Christ, perhaps since Maher considers a mark of true courage "staying in the airplane when it hits the building." I suspect he would think nothing of the 800 recently canonized Italians who were beheaded by Islamist invaders in the 15th century for refusing to denounce their faith in Jesus. Pitifully, this often-intentional oversight is made by so many due to false biases toward the Church, biases that have resulted from relentless conditioning by the press, academia, and pop culture.

And yet, despite their unrelenting persecution throughout history, countless numbers of Christians did not fail, as demonstrated by the Church's multitude of martyrs and saints. The twentieth century alone bore witness to millions of Catholic martyrs, such as Miguel Pro, Maximillian Kolbe, and Edith Stein, to name just a few. The mountains of carnage in Africa, Albania, France, Germany, Korea, Latin America, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Spain were almost too high to count. The Holy See received seven thousand names of martyrs for the faith after the Spanish Civil War, and this sort of heroic martyrdom is not limited to past history. In the present day, a Vatican official has said, "more than 100,000 Christians are killed each year because of their faith, and millions more face bigotry, intolerance and marginalization because of their beliefs." Suffice it to say, all have died and are presently dying out of their unfailing love for Christ. I wonder if Bill Maher and his Atheists friends are willing to take such strides for their beliefs.

Unfailing, exemplary Christian models such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John Paul II, and Maria Faustina Kowalska, are just three names among thousands of those listed as Saint or Blessed in the twentieth century alone. One parish, St. Aloysius in New Canaan, Connecticut was able to compile the names of over 7,000 20th Century Christian martyrs. Anti-theists must be too caught up in perfecting their anti-Christian comedy acts to have noticed this "minor" oversight.

Millions of Christians throughout history have tried to mirror Christ and have admirably succeeded. And yes, regrettably many have failed and continue to do so. But at least when their day of judgment arrives they will be able to say they tried. I wonder what Bill Maher will say.

© Anna Githens


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Anna Githens

Anna Githens is a freelance writer who is passionate about promoting Christian ideals and tried and true American values. With an M.A. in Theology from Seton Hall University’s Immaculate Conception Seminary and a B.A in Economics from Providence College, she has diverse career experience in bond trading, teaching, and journalism. She is a mother of three wonderful sons and resides in New Jersey with her family.


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