Engaging Culture

How Christians Should React to Bill Maher’s Shocking Statements

Every time comedian and talk show host Bill Maher blasts Christianity, calls Christians idiots, or describes God as a “psychopathic mass murderer” the web lights up. Religious news sites like Christian Post, Charisma News, or the Christian section of Huffington Post carry the story with headlines expressing “shock,” and their readers dutifully respond with hysterical blog posts by the thousands. His abrasive comments become the big subject on Christian radio and TV programs, and callers express outrage. All of which is exactly what Maher wants.

In a media-driven culture, it doesn’t take insightful questions, great talent, or intellectual depth to get on the radar. All it takes is shock. Shock built careers for people like Howard Stern, Russell Brand, and Madonna. It’s surprising to me that it still works, but the shock train rolls on. Based on his media persona, Bill Maher appears to be an incompetent theologian, a fairly hateful person, and an average comedian. But he’s a master communicator.  He understands how to push buttons and get a response – and he does it with regularity. Ratings of his show low? Nail Christians. Viewers tired of watching him? Say something shocking about God.

In a digital age, visibility is just as important as ability, and when it comes to getting noticed, Maher’s a master.

So how should the Christian community respond the next time he says something shockingly inappropriate or over the top?

Don’t.  That’s right, don’t respond at all. It’s the push-back that keeps him in the public eye. It’s the angry blog posts, outraged responses, and talk show fodder that keep him on life-support. Certainly his loyal cult following will keep watching, but they don’t get outraged by this statements because they already agree with him.

Stop the response. Let the crickets chirp. You can’t keep offending people who refuse to be offended.  After all, we have bigger fish to fry than being upset by a cable  show host.  As the old saying goes:

“The dog barks, but the train keeps on rolling.”

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46 Comments

  1. I agree completely, although perhaps if Christians have films like Noah to argue about instead that will divert their attention away from him.

  2. I agree we shouldn’t engage in spewing hatred at people who spew it at us, regardless of how vile it may be. We become just as nasty and hurtful as the people who said those things to begin with. Christ instructed us to turn the other cheek, and that is something I as a human being struggle with to do but still try to do when I feel someone insult me. One of the reasons for this is because I feel like if someone truly hates something so much that they want to lash out at it or at me personally then perhaps God placed me here to absorb that hatred for a reason. Because if hatred isn’t fed, it dwindles. If your response to hatred is love, there is no place left for hate to go.

    Nobody ever said walking with Christ was easy, and the “easy” response to when people insult us would be to insult them back. I highly encourage people to remember that they are representing Christ when they respond to the hatred of others. Remember that we are all human, we are all sinners, and we are tasked with showing love first and foremost. When we are hateful and hurtful to others, we have failed our most important task on Earth. And rest assured, we will certainly be judged for it.

  3. It’s a hard habit to break, but we really tend to turn to our digital hostility when our faith is seemingly being attacked. But come to think of it, there is nothing more consistent, stable and solid than the message of the cross – no amount of human/christian effort will be able to bring it beyond where it has already established itself. And yes, the bigger picture is to not feed this media frenzy with any attention at all.

  4. Actually the commercial media in Australia tried that tactic with an outspoken Christian politician several years ago. They got so sick of what he was saying that they decided to not give him any coverage about anything that he said – ever. And guess what? It worked. For the years they had that policy in place he virtually disappeared from the public eye.

  5. Wow, Phil, so you are now telling Christians to see an athiest produced movie that distorts the true Word of God, and now you are saying not to speak out against evil. You are AGIN going against God’s word. I pity your lost soul. I hope you repent, Phil, I mean that. Stop leading people astray. People just like you have ended up in Hell. Repent before it is too late. Google Mary Baxter videos of Hell.

    Ephesians 5:11
    And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them

    1. “I pity your lost soul” – Really? Are you honestly going to be that condescending, patronising and judgemental? Regardless of whether or not you agree with his views on the Noah film, or what the correct response to the Bill Maher thing should be, how can you possibly know whether or not Phil is saved? Your arrogance astounds me.

    2. Rather selective, out of context, Scripture quoting, it seems to me. In context of the whole of Scripture, it is totally unbiblical. We are never told to “combat evil” by fighting with those who oppose Christ. Our battle is with the Evil One and it is spiritual. Perhaps you (and all of us) should ask the Dr. Phil question: “How’s that working for you?” Do we want to be “right” more than we want to live out the grace of the gospel?

    3. Michael is obviously one of these legalist charismatic types….as for people like Mary Baxter, she’s in there with the biggest BS artists of all time. I’ve read all about her and seen her stuff—her CRAP—thoroughly debunked—using SCRIPTURE of all things…..these people who write stories about seeing heaven and hell are A: full of crap B: using what they’ve supposedly “seen” to some how give some sort of perceived authority to what they want to preach in their books; in other words, telling a nice story to justify their viewpoints C: having Angel of Light experiences where they have a demon give them the whole big light show, song, and dance—meaning theyre being shown a lying wonder. I don’t want to hear about Mary Baxter or any of the others—there stuff runs on two things: fear and legalism….claiming you have to work your way to heaven and how “special” they are….its a bunch of false, self-aggrandizing crap and I don’t believe ANYthing they write. Honestly, people have been writing these sorts of books for centuries and they never agree, they never measure up if you know your scriptures very well, it’s just…….crap…..

  6. All I can say is wow! I remember the song we use to sing right after I got saved during the Jesus Movement. It went in part, “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love! Hey Phil I love ya man and I love your posts! The old axiom is true, you are known by your friends and enemies. Keep up the good work Phil. I don’t always agree with you but you do make me think. When I don’t agree with you I don’t say, “Die Heretic!”

  7. I completely agree with you Phil. Given Maher’s public and well known stand on God and Christianity should we, as believers, be shocked by what he said? Absolutely not! His comments would be something a believer should expect from a non-believer. He doesn’t know any better. Peter describes it best in 1 Peter 4:14 “If you are reproached (called stupid as Maher did) for the name of Christ, blessed [are you], for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their (Maher’s) part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.”

  8. I had a teacher in high school who made this same type of point to us in class. When someone would be messing around, cracking (inappropriate) jokes, or just being an idiot in class, he wouldn’t address that student directly, but the rest of us by saying, “Don’t feed the animals.”

    Wisdom.

  9. One maybe exception…

    i did post items on a comment thread attached to a Maher story of this type, but the responses to were not about/to Maher, but others who were posting. There is a point were silence becomes acquiescence, although it takes some wisdom to know the difference:

    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

    Proverbs 26:4-5

  10. Do not subscribe to HBO and write to tell them why. HBO is who gives this man the power along with the darkness he promotes.

    1. That’s good advice, and do so in a way that is charitable and reasonable. In the same way we can let the sponsors of shows that are objectionable know that we won’t be buying their products as long as they are sponsoring bad or harmful shows.

  11. I’ve said the same thing to Christians in the past…and they looked at me like I was a heathen and blasphemer. For some odd reason, Christians seem to feel that they are God’s Great Defenders…but instead, the responders are simply trying to justify their own belief…it’s a great deal of insecurity involved when we have to defend our beliefs/faith against perceived slander.

  12. sheesh…he’s just a comedian. Albeit, not a very funny one. Nothing the foolish, moronic jester says is to be taken seriously!

  13. Your post is spot-on, Phil.

    Unfortunately, there will always be people who respond to “news” items like the one you mentioned. And, as a result, there will always be media outlets who will report on them. And, in my opinion, it’s a monster that is being fed more and more with the decline of professional journalism. It’s no longer just the tabloids that are immersed in sensationalism. Sadly, in more and more newsrooms today, “click magnets” have as much value (if not more) than stories that are newsworthy.

  14. Who is Bill Maher? is that unresponsive enough? BTW; I do know who he is and really pay no attention to what he does say. Shock jocks are only as popular as others make them by their returned vitriol.

  15. Thank goodness we have been given advice on this very thing… “shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

  16. If it were not for Christians, this guy wouldn’t be very popular. He has made mocking Christianity more popular. Hopefully he will come to Jesus before it is too late.

    1. Through jesus am i made perfect by jesus. I am by no means without blemish. Neither am i wanting to send the wrong message. Even as we trully beleive jesus who command vnto us that our good women teach our young women not to be of gossip. Is this of any other not gossip? Even as this fact for our good women to teach it must be reflected by ourselves. Additionally as one may even portrait another by their own judgment and hold their own plank we should beleive jesus and pull our plank. Having a brother like luke we would even know jesus loved us when he said “7 times 70”. With all these alone we have been trully loved. More abundantly elijah saith the light shinned in the darkness but the darkness did not comprehend it. In revelations jesus said “i send my angel” even more abundantly as we have jesus said love your enemie do good to them that would harm you bless them that curse and pray for them that abuse you and dispitfully use you. We must so shine our light before men that they might see our good works and so glorify our father in heaven as command vnto us through jesus. With our failure to see the light always jesus upon the cross said “forgive them father for they know not what they do”. What measure have we that any child of god is said to not be fully with jesus. Even we beleive it has been given for us to know. Its a great sin to show all how to gossip how to judge how to measure nothing but evil begets evil. If we might even remotely say we are with sin then even bill would need one like me a true wretch to go and confess to him my sin having partaken not even as jesus did for judas. And how can i fellowship if we love only those who love us !!! And then to not shine such. Is to even be without. He who has not jesus shall take even that which he hath. We are commanded by reign unto our soul by jesus. My planks surly are massive for i fail to find any fellowship in such a call. But i am trully wicked and so unworthy hang me sideways. Longsuffering. Peace out.

  17. Issues like this and fomenting against the Noah movie speak volumes about how distanced we are from the work of the Kingdom of God. Anyone who spends a significant amount of time working on spending time with the homeless, studying how 5% of the people posses 80% of the wealth, helping and praying for or just studying about how brothers and sisters in Christ are persecuted abroad, human trafficking, etc. just don’t have emotional space for this pop culture crap.

  18. “. It’s the push-back that keeps him in the public eye.”

    No, it is his talent, and keen on-target observations that keep him in the public eye. Low ratings? That has never been a problem for Maher. He has sold out every tour show he has performed for over a decade. He is not a hack or a gimmick. He is an gifted craftsman/comedian who you like to hate because he is so good at pointing hypocrisy in Christians, among others. Self-righteous, self-proclaimed Christians are very easy targets. No one has the answers, and if you claim you do, you’re a fool, and an instant and easy target for Bill Maher, and the rest of the world. NO ONE KNOWS the ANSWERS

    http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-mahers-approach-to-mastering-the-craft-of-comedy-2014-4

  19. You’re talking about a very funny, very popular, very sincere comedian, who has honed his craft for over 3 decades. Watch him, don’t watch him. Respond, don’t respond. It doesn’t even matter. He deservingly wields a zillion pound sledgehammer of hard truth. So sorry.

          1. Exhaustive! And Punctual! You’ve indeed proven that there are a million different ways to view the prism.

  20. It is amusing to read your assertions. “Low ratings? Slam Christians!”, like he sits with his writers and producers and says “guys ratings slipped this week, I need some funny Christian mockery ASAP!” As with so many conservative Xtians, you do not get the jokes, nor do you even understand the comedic process. My evidence? Name one conservative comic who wields his level of influence (sorry the “blue collar comedy”guys and Dennis Miller really do not count for sh*t).

  21. God ‘s Word was not given for the nonbelievers. It is for those who confessed Christ Jesus as Lord and believ in their heart that Goddid indeed raise Him from the dead. Bill Maher chooses to blaspheme God. This is the one sin that is unforgivable unforgivable according to God ‘s matchless Word.. See Matthew 12:31.

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