Bill Maher's "Religulous" is exactly the anti-religion rant that it appears to be. He interviews religious people to make them look ridiculous. He takes sensible, caring, mainstream parts of a faith and mixes it indiscriminately with the extremist parts. He evangelizes for his own faith, secular rationalism; then, when challenged, retreats to the claim that "I'm just asking questions." "Religulous" is the film equivalent of Richard Dawkins' or Sam Harris' anti-religious books of the moment.
Maher tells us that his own religious education ended at about 13. His Jewish mother did not attempt to educate her children in her faith, and his Catholic father raised his two children as Catholics until he had a falling out with the church over birth control in young Bill's early adolescence. Maher's strong anti-religious zeal now is a relatively new development, as he was a wishy-washy "recovering Catholic" for decades. Recently, though, he has turned to a faith in rationalism beloved of many adolescent boys, myself included at that age. It is the faith that the vast majority of people on earth on ignorant, superstitious fools, and the world would be a better place if everyone were rational like me.
Yet early in the film Maher makes a different, better point. In a "gotcha" visit to the Trucker's Chapel at a truck stop in North Carolina, Maher admits that his faith is a luxury of the rich. He allows that if, for example, a man in prison said "I've got nothing in here except Jesus," Maher could respect that view. But people who are as favored as Bill Maher -- rich, famous, smart -- have the luxury of rejecting God and religion.
I believe that Bill Maher hit the nail on the head right there, as he sometimes does. He just failed to be as critical of himself as he is of everyone else through the rest of the film.