Do you know how they catch monkeys in Taiwan (and parts of India)? A trap is set with a banana. The monkey saunters on by, reaches into said trap, and grabs the banana. The monkey – now with his fist clenched around the banana – can no longer remove his hand. At any point, he could opt to let go of the banana and run free, but instead he is trapped. Hilarious isn’t it?
Bill Maher is that monkey.
See, Bill Maher’s a smart guy. None of us can deny that. A nuisance at worst, a more than worthy adversary at best, Bill Maher is the kind of intellectual whose worst enemy is his own pride. Smart people generally don’t make intellectual miscalculations; they make careless errors. Sometimes, a mistruth is so often repeated in society that even smart folk like Maher accept it as fact. A good example would be Bill Maher’s constant claim that the Bible encourages slavery and the founding fathers were anti-Christian.
Firstly, Bill would be right to say that the founding fathers were anti-religion. One could say the same thing about most pastors heading churches throughout the United States today. A disdain for man-made religion does not equal a hate for personal faith in God.
As a matter of fact, oftentimes as one grows in their relationship with God, they find themselves saddened by the state of the modern church. People like John Adams and Benjamin Franklin (the same people whom Maher loves to quote) would be perfect, powdered-wig crystallizations of religion-hating, God-fearing Christians. A simple glance through the founding documents or personal journals of the founding fathers confirms it.
As for the Bible being a rampantly pro-slavery piece of literature… false. It’s true that there are passages in the Bible dealing with slavery, which when read in modern America without the proper context, seem cringeworthy at best. Nowhere in the bible, however, is there an open-ended encouragement of the practice and in multiple places, being what we would consider slavery today is thoroughly condemned.
See, we have to understand that the slavery referred to in the Bible is most often not slavery as we know it today. In both Old and specifically New Testament times, people would go into slavery themselves if they were unable to pay their debts, or unable to pay their own cost of living (which would then be covered by their master). They would have more in common with a lower class worker or a college student still mooching off of their parents than the race-based slavery we’ve known in the Western world.
A prime example of where one does see race-based slavery in the Bible, is when a little group of people were enslaved by the Egyptians solely because they were Hebrew (Exodus 13:14). Anyone know what happened next?
…God was pretty ticked. Angry enough to bring the freaking plagues. [Note: They were kind of a big deal.]
The Bible also does address the act of “man stealing,” (exactly the kind of thing that Africans did to their own people) and had this to say about it: “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death” (Exodus 21:16).
God then went on to put such folks in the same category as murderers and rapists. I guess you could say he had a thing about that.
In the end, don’t blame Bill Maher. He’s just accepting common mistruths because he doesn’t know any better… and nobody will tell him. Maybe he needs an uneducated, God-loving, gun toting, tea-partying, redneck in his Hollywood entourage. You know… just to keep him in the know.