Real Religion or Religious Ruse?: A Response to Mr. Bill Maher

“I think religion is a neurological disorder.” Bill Maher

These are the words that made my stomach turn.

Heaven knows I don’t have much time to stay abreast of the news these days unless it is happening in my backyard. I have to find creative ways to insert any sort of cerebral input regarding what’s happening around the world. I’ve even had one of my daughter’s young friends plop herself down on my couch and innocently ask me, “Who are you going to vote for?” I just smiled sheepishly and confessed I’d have to figure that out by the first Tuesday of November.

Even though the news, at least in some way, shape or form, is at my virtual fingertips via phone apps, social media and my web browser, I’m still pretty old school when it comes to reading. I like the feel of real books and real newsprint that engages all of my senses. I may not always find time to read said newspaper, but come what may, I refuse to give up our annual subscription.

I love the sound of the paper hitting the driveway at some un-godly hour of the morning, I love the look of it as an academic accessory on our kitchen table and if I can squeeze in some “me” time, I love reading the newspaper on Fridays because Fridays bring the “Go!” section.

This is the section that carries my mind to another world. I imagine enjoying the weekend in an alternate reality. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Saturdays spent cheering on my kids from the sidelines, trips to the local pool, and engaging in household chores couched as “creative family time.” I really do love my life, but in my fantasy world, I have all sorts of time and money to enjoy the local flavor. In this parallel universe I am first in line to grab a glass of wine and settle into the theater to see the latest art house flick, followed by a sensuous meal at the well-reviewed eclectic restaurant and of course, I’d hop online to grab tickets to the next rockin’ concert at the World Arena and not think twice about how much the babysitting alone would cost that night.

This past Friday, however, the words on the front page of the “GO!” section stopped me in my tracks.

Quotes from satirist and provocateur, Bill Maher littered the front page. Quotes like, “Kids. They’re not easy. But there has to be some penalty for sex” and “I think religion is a neurological disorder.”

To be honest, my first reaction was to rip the front page right off and throw it into the trash can. I thought, not in my house, you don’t.

And then, I decided to confront the bully. Yes, Mr. Maher, you are entitled to your opinion. And I am entitled to mine. I fished that newspaper clip right out of the trash can and decided to pray for him.

That’s right!

He can provoke. And I can pray.

He can rip on religion. And I can react. In love.

In love, I will respectfully retort that I dare you to meet my Jesus. I invite you to soak up the power of His living word and sit in the mercy of His gracious love.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

Dear Mr. Maher, I’d love to hear your response to that.

We humans may not be the best representation of our religion, but our Lord is. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

Perhaps you need to give true religion another try — through the lens of the cross.

“In the Christian view, the ultimate evidence for the existence of God is Jesus Christ. If there is a God, we characters in his play have to hope that he put some information about himself in the play. But Christians believe he did more than give us information. He wrote himself into the play as the main character in history, when Jesus was born in a manger and rose from the dead.”  — Tim Keller, “The Reason for God:  Belief in the Age of Skepticism”

I worship a God who moved into the neighborhood.  For me.  And yes, for you.

Go ahead. Give it a try. Get to know my Jesus and get back to me.

In the meantime, I’ll be praying for you. 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Karen says:

    He sure does like to get under our skin…but then we can also see how ignorant and shallow his conclusions are. You are right on target with your response, Megan, to love, pray and gently correct. My husband faces this stuff daily in his job in academia. Sometimes it really gets on his nerves. But when we’re on our game, we remember to love and pray and gently correct…haha it’s sure not easy!


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