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HBO late night comedian Bill Maher has made no secret of the fact that he is a militant Atheist, and it is not uncommon at all for him to make derisive comments about Christians and Christianity. He did not disappoint, recently, when on his show he dismissively said, “The events of January 6 were a faith-based initiative and Trumpism is a Christian nationalistic movement that believes Trump was literally sent from heaven to save them.” He continued, “We need to stop pretending there’s no way we will ever understand why the Trump mob believes in him. It’s because they’re religious. They’ve already made space in their heads for [expletive] that does not make sense.”
As a person who is very interested in observing how worldview beliefs are expressed in the world, I find it personally fascinating to see Maher’s beliefs so openly on display. Most people are not aware of their own worldview beliefs, and, obviously, Maher is not an exception to this rule. Unless a person has taken the time and opportunity to study worldview concepts and become consciously aware of their own worldview beliefs, those beliefs are totally unconscious. People simply cannot imagine that other people actually believe what they, themselves, consider to be fantasy.
In Maher’s case, he honestly believes that people who are “religious” believe nonsense. Did you notice the last sentence of his tirade above?: “They’ve already made space in their heads for [expletive] that does not make sense.”
In truth, Maher has no objective means for making a statement like that. The fact that Christian beliefs don’t make sense to him does not mean that they are not true, nor that they actually do not make sense. What it does mean is that there are beliefs that he does not understand, and what he does not understand he considers to be nonsense. How’s that for open mindedness?
What is really at play here is that Bill Maher is a religious zealot for his atheistic faith. Now if someone were to say that to him directly, he would certainly rebel at the thought. Most Atheists do. They tend to honestly believe that their beliefs are not religious at all, but are based on science. But religious zealotry tends to blind people that way. All they know is their own faith, and are so insecure that they cannot look at people of other faiths with respect. Rather, they seek to destroy them.
“The Bible teaches us that we can hate the sin yet love the sinner.”
Sadly, there are Christians who express the same kind of hateful zealotry, but that is not the faith that is taught in the Bible. The Bible teaches us that we can hate the sin yet love the sinner. We can stand up against untruths yet love, and even respect, those who speak them. In fact, that is the very task of a Christian witness – to speak the truth in love, regardless of how they might respond.
Do I think Bill Maher is wrong? Absolutely! Would I be willing to say it to his face and explain in public why he is wrong? Most certainly! But what I would not do is insult him using an expletive and tell him that he is stupid. The fact that he is ignorant of the true beliefs of the Christian faith, and doesn’t know how to evaluate his own beliefs, certainly does not make him stupid. It is simply that he does not know what he does not know. His remarks only show that there is a lot he does not know, and that he has never encountered the living Christ. In the end, that is the only thing that will give him an understanding of the things he does not know, and change his heart.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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