This movie just made me want to kiss Bill Maher all over his great big beautiful Jewish nose.
One part gave me the extra willies because, having lived in Pentecostal culture, I recognized a “backstory” that the trucker at the Trucker Chapel told about being a “Satanist priest.” Either he was equating being a drug dealer with being a Satanic priest (something I think the real Church of Satan would think daffy) or he stole outright the so-called life of exposed fraud and Christian comedian, Mike Warnke. (If you’re curious as to what he sounds like, there’s an outtake from one of his concerts on YouTube.) And given how nutty these people are, I wouldn’t doubt there is some genuine mental illness going on there.
I saw the film with Cinriter. It’s funny because I think in parts we saw two different films, solely due to the fact that I was watching it through the eyes of an ex-Pentecostal/ex-Jew/ex-Mormon and she was watching it through the eyes of a long-standing rational person.
What struck me in particular as I watched were the feelings I used to have that welled up as I listened to the Pentecostals in particular reciting their beliefs. I then realized on a whole new level that it’s not about ideas. You can’t have a conversation about changing ideas because it’s about the overpowering emotions that these people feel. When they say, “I know there is a God,” it’s not about an intellectual understanding (although they might say so). There’s this absolutely nuclear mushroom of emotions happening behind their sternum as they “think” about Jesus or God or whoever. The feelings completely cut off rational discussion.
Bill caught this awesome clip of Kirk Cameron talking on his ministry show, saying that when believers witness, they have to “get around the intellect” of the people they’re talking to. Kirk the Banana Genius got that right, boy howdy!
But the best part was that Vatican priest that everyone mentions. He killed me! Oh my gawd, you have to see this movie just to listen to him.