Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this provocative documentary about religion in the modern world is meant for adults. Star Bill Maher makes no claims to impartiality; he's unwavering in his belief that humans can't possibly know if there's a god and that religions are man-made power structures designed to absolve or encourage anti-social or immoral behavior. Maher looks at all faiths -- Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Scientology, and more -- and proceeds to articulate and analyze what he sees as their historical and logical failings. There's lots of strong language, some nudity (in film clips), and extensive discussion of hot-button issues involving sex, power, violence, and more.
Discussion of Catholic Church sex scandals; discussion of prostitution; three brief clips from adult-themed films with implied sexuality and nude female breasts. Discussion of masturbation, birth control, sexual acts, marital and pre-marital sex, and homosexuality. An English landmark -- a cliff carving depicting a naked man -- is shown.
Violent images of suicide bombings, warfare, the 9-11 attacks, the explosion of the Hindenburg, and more; discussion of murders committed in the name of religion; armed marchers brandish guns and grenades; violent imagery (including extensive blood) as part of a theme park performance depicting the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Discussion of rape, weapons of mass destruction, torture, the Holocaust, Armageddon, and holy war. News images of a murder victim's body.
Very strong language throughout, including "s--t," "bulls--t," "blow job," "pissed," "f--k," "hell," "damn," "balls," "p---y," " vagina," "ass," "a--hole," and more.
The entire film is a discussion of religion in the modern world, with Bill Maher travelling the globe to talk with religious leaders of all faiths. Maher says he believes that "religion is detrimental to the progress of humanity." Maher examines religiously motivated violence, prejudice, and sexism, as well as abuses of power by religious authorities. The film also states Maher's belief (shared by authors like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) that, in an age of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, the conflicts and commands driven by religious extremism are no longer something that "rational" people can allow to go unchallenged. Jokes are made about Catholic, Islamic, Mormon, Scientologist, and Jewish stereotypes and cultural ideas.
Lots of clips from other films and TV shows are used for comedic or artistic effect or discussed for their cultural significance; the list includes Superbad, Scarface, Oprah, Planet of the Apes, Lawrence of Arabia, The Tonight Show, CNN, Fox News, The Flintstones, Hell Town, Star Wars: Episode I, Saturday Night Live, The Ten Commandments, Jason and the Argonauts, and many more. Brands mentioned include Starbucks, Craigslist, and more.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Drug abuse is discussed, with "diet pills," "ludes," "speed," "crank," and others mentioned; Maher interviews a believer in "Cantheism," which involves using marijuana as a religious sacrament; marijuana is smoked on screen, with clear demonstrations of how it blunts mental acuity and memory.