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Dr. Susan Corso Headshot

An Open Letter to Bill Maher About Faith

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Dear, dear Bill,

I am one of your best fans. I so enjoy the insight and the controversy you purvey on Real Time. So I never thought I'd have to say this but I have to agree with this week's conservative, Catholic guest Andrew Sullivan--you've become a religious bigot.

My brain is wondering . . . . Bill? Bill Maher? That wonderful open-minded comedian whose trenchant observations about humanity are so on point? It can't be.

Bill, dear, I understand. I do. Comedy, your forte, works because of extreme (shall I write: xtreem?) positions. Witness the witness of Carlos Mencia, Equal Opportunity Offender. And yet, Bill, and yet, you've become juvenile in your insistence that there is no God.

I also know that your new film is about to debut, Religulous, and that you mean it to be funny. Truthfully, my friend, faith is a funny thing. Not funny ha-ha, funny odd.

I have to side with Andrew yet again. He tried, Friday night, to make a distinction amongst situations where faith applies and where it does not. I'd like him to go one better, and declare to you the Truth about faith. (Yes, I meant the Capital T!)

Faith in itself, dear one, is actually neutral. Another way to put this is: faith swings both ways. It works for the good and the bad equally. By this definition, sweet Bill, you are a man of faith! The reason is because you are consistent in placing your emotional and mental energy in what you fear. And that's a form of faith.

What you really object to is blind faith, faith that begs the logic of our minds, faith that asks us to believe in what is impossible. Me too, and I'm a minister. (I had a seminary professor who used to say, "If it begs the logic of your mind, it's not God.") You also object to blind faith traditions, inherited faith, if you will. Ever read the Hebrew Bible? God has no grandchildren. (Code: One cannot inherit faith itself, only a faith tradition.)

Anyway, I understand your fear about the intelligence of the American People, Bill. You've got proof that we're not always as smart as we're cracked up to be. Okay, I get that, but what I don't get is why you are insisting on keeping it in place? Do you really think that people can't change, learn, grow, heal, think for themselves? God, I hope not. That would make this world a devastating place to live in.

With all due respect, Man of Humongous Talent, may I make a gentle suggestion? Could you please consider allowing those of us who do like and use our faith a little space to like and use it? And could you allow the possibility that the good old U.S.of A. just might wake up, smell the coffee, then the roses, and grow up to vote for the change we need?

I promise to go see your new film.

Sending you richest blessings,

Rev. Dr. Susan Corso