"Religulous," which comes out on Friday in New York and Oct. 3 in the rest of the country, shows Mr. Maher on a world tour of rapid-cut interviews in Israel, Denmark, Vatican City and Monsey, N.Y., the home of Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism, whose leaders participated in a convention of Holocaust deniers in Iran.
The movie is trying to tap the same spirit that has propelled books crusading against religion, like Richard Dawkins's "God Delusion," Sam Harris's "End of Faith" and Christopher Hitchens's "God Is Not Great," to the best-seller lists. Atheist groups now even have their own dating Web sites, glossy magazines, paid lobbyists and annual cruise outings.
Mr. Charles and Mr. Maher carry their evangelism to a broad swath of targets: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, even Cantheism, a pot-centric belief system that is often overlooked in theological debate. Buddhism and Hinduism get a pass; interviews with Muslims are intercut with footage of warring jihadis. At the end of the movie Mr. Maher calls on "anti-religionists" to "come out of the closet and assert themselves" in the face of religious extremism. "Grow up or die," he says.