Bill Maher on Missionaries

This is from the September 7, 2007 broadcast of HBO’s outstanding series Real Time, starring Bill Maher. As he often does, Bill makes a lot of sense in this excerpt. Bill would make one heck of a curmudgeon, from whatever state he wishes.

And finally, New Rule: If you want to bring Jesus to the unbelievers, you can’t be surprised if you get the same reception he did. This past weekend, the Taliban in Afghanistan finally released 19 South Korean missionaries after weeks of negotiations, a $20 million ransom and several warnings to “buy something or get out!” Now, here’s a little tip for missionaries: if you want to get people to believe in your god, make sure he can do something really impressive like not let you get kidnapped! Because, Muslim extremists are generally a) Muslim, and b) extremists!

No matter how many times you ask a Jihadi, “What would Jesus do,” his answer is always, “Convert.”

And why are there still Christian missionaries anyway? I’m pretty sure everyone has at least heard about Jesus by now. So it comes down to arrogance. Walking into Taliban country with a smile and a cross is like crashing a party at Jay-Z’s house and popping on a Kenny Chesney CD; “Oh, once they hear this, they’ll change their mind about what good music is. Come on, it’s the ‘Ches-NUT!'”

And it’s that kind of naïve certainty that led a certain current U.S. president to also stumble blindly into the Middle East with good intentions and no prayer of success. Bush didn’t need to check with experts or historians. He knew he was right, a point confirmed in the new book about him, appropriately titled, Dead Certain, the first attempt at burnishing the Bush legacy, or as it used to be called, “polishing a turd.”

In the book, President Bush goes on and on about how his certainty about Iraq is not just for show; “Oh, I’m not pretendin’ to have my head up my ass. It’s really up there!” and the message you hear from Bush apologists these days is, “Oh, sure, short-term Bush may have fucked everything up, but he’s thinking long-term, 100 years into the future.”

Well, thank you, George W. Nostradamus. America’s first science fiction president. I’m sure when Americans are all flying around in jet packs and eating Soylent Green, they’ll be building statues in your honor. You know, it must feel good to be dead certain about everything. But it’s not a virtue. Especially when you’re ALWAYS WRONG!

Bertrand Russell said, “The trouble with the world is the Stupid are cocksure and the Intelligent full of doubt.” And then rewrote that quote 56 more times.

Doubt, for lack of a better word, is good. It suits human nature. Doubt is what makes you careful. Doubt is what makes you open to change. Doubt is why Eddie Murphy took a DNA test.


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