December 29th, 2011
05:48 PM ET
Bill Maher takes on Tim Tebow and feels the wrath
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)– On Christmas Eve the Denver Broncos were getting destroyed by the Buffalo Bills* on the football field and comedian, liberal commentator, and religious provocateur Bill Maher couldn't help but tweet about it.
People quickly responded to Maher on Twitter and called him (in summary) a hell bound atheist piece of trash. Maher's social media jab was picked up by the media too and landed in newspapers, websites and TVs everywhere. Pundits and twitter users called for a boycott of Maher's HBO show Real Time, and threatened to cancel their HBO subscriptions.
The timing could not have been better for Maher. The new season of his show begins next month and the week between Christmas and New Years is a veritable wasteland for actual news. In a world where no publicity is bad publicity, Maher scored big.
Maher has long skewered people of all faiths as part of his act. In 2008, Maher starred in "Religulous" a documentary that poked fun at any and all religions.
For all the fury aimed at Maher for the Tebow crack, the long time atheist received comparatively little heat for his Twitter dig at Jesus the next day on Christmas.
It was insulting Tim Tebow, not Jesus Christ, that drew the ire of a nation.
"[Tebow's] public image is built on goodness and virtue," Patton Dodd said. Dodd is the author of "The Tebow Mystique: The Faith and Fans of Football's Most Polarizing Player" and the managing editor of Patheos.com. "His particular expression of Christianity, or Christian witness, is built on acts of kindness to the poor and needy and to strangers. It's not just taking a knee on the field and thanking Jesus after the games. I think a lot of his fans know that."
Dodd said fans likely felt defensive towards Tebow, but acknowledged an athlete so public about their faith could not viewed as untouchable.
"I think the difference here is what Maher said was particularly crass and crude and I think it's seen as aimed more ... at Tebow's fan base than Tebow," he said.
For those who said Maher crossed an unspoken line with the tweet, comedian Pete Dominick said no way. "Our job is to push the envelope. There is no line for us. We don't have a line. You can make a joke about my kids getting cancer as long as it's funny. It has to be funny. That's the only rule, that it's funny. We're supposed to be controversial we're supposed to be provocative, that's what our job entails."
"He's begging to be made fun of," Dominick said.
Dominick, who is also the host of Stand Up! with Pete Dominick on the POTUS Chanel on SirusXM, said Tebow's outspokeness about his faith makes him a prime target for comedians. "He goes out on TV and talks about his faith, he puts it on his eye black. We're going to choose to make fun of it. Always."
"I think it's the wrong thing to get upset about. It's a tweet. It's a predictable tweet from a guy who says these kinds of things and who has an audience who love him for those kinds of things," Dodd said.
For his part Tebow has not commented on Maher's tweet, keeping true to his formula of not engaging critics. Dodd said part of what makes Tebow such a great athlete is his ability to block out the noise and focus on the game of football. Requests for comment from Maher were not responded to by his publicist but Maher tweeted on Wednesday night:
There Maher goes after Tebow in far more than in the 140 characters Twitter allows per post.
If Tebow and his Bronco teammates can win on Sunday they will make the playoffs.
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly had the Detroit Lions as the Broncos opponent. We regret the error and apologize to Bills fans everywhere. They have suffered enough this season.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Tebow is not sweating Maher's actions. In fact, the more trash that is spoken about Tebow, the greater Tebow's influence becomes. The worst thing Maher could do to Tebpw is ignore him. Gandi would not have been as influential if the British had just ignored him. So tweet on, and watch Tebow become larger than life.
Bill Maher really, REALLY sucks.
Maher is right. Stop being a sheep and open your mind for a change.
It's funny how someone who closes their mind 100% to a viable and reasonable God hypothesis can spout nonsense about those of faith being "sheep". Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The simple truth of the matter is that not believing in the possibility of a higher being, an Intelligent Source of Being, is a matter of unsubstantiated blind faith and biased opinion. The typical atheist is just as self-righteous and small minded as the typical Fundamentalist. Both reject the scientific method in favor of championing their personal pet notions of truth. From a scientific perspective, the only intellectually honest position on the subject of the existence of God is agnosticism. We simply don't have the means available to prove the existence or non-existence of God. While there are definitely religious nuts who are indeed small minded sheep, the same is absolutely true of the arrogant and shallow minded atheists who blindly follow their pulp fiction masters Dawkins and Hitchens.
Bill Maher is just being true to his sense of intellect which is honorable and wise. Religious fanatics are willing to embrace ignorance for the sake of faith which is wrong. They should not let religion hijack their inner sense of faith in a higher consciousness and then hold it for a 10% ransom! Be FREE, oh ye men of faith! Let not man sway you to believe in ignorance and lies.
"menos" its must be embarrassing for you to be so ignorant.......
Maher is a small-minded bully who makes his living saying incindiary things about people and digging at those who dare to have values and live by them. He was the guy no one liked in school, so now he's getting even. Hey, he gets his jollies and earns a living spewing his special brand of nonsensical insulting crap. When he's old and can't feed himself, his own grandchildren (will he have any?) won't bother to visit him as he whithers away. Good for Tim Tebow for not bothering to reply. Bill Maher is (way) beneath him....don't stoop down there.
There's no way in hell (that's a pun) that Tebow could intellectually engage with Maher. Fundamentalist Christians are the epitome of anti-intellectualism. But the really funny thing about vociferous Christians is that whenever they can't answer a question they either hold up the bible or hide behind scripture (you know, that stuff written by various human story tellers over the centuries)
You can't handle the truth
Maher is an adiot. Like most liberals, he thinks he's smarter than anyone in the room. In truth, Maher is a little man with little ideas.
In reality, you are describing yourself
Bill Maher is smarter than you. I don't know anything about you, other than the little line you just posted- yet I know this is true. Bill Maher is smarter than you, and so am I.
I am not an atheists and I think Bill Mahr is hilarious. I think organised religion is a joke. What I find ironic is how Bill Maher is significantly more informed and a lot more educated about the religions than most of the religious people that hate on him.
Why do religious "folk" get so upset if someone says something against them or their religion....after all ...it is just about faith....not science...right? Remember.....Chjristianity was considered a Cult at one time....whoops...it still is.... So....someone could believe in pink elephants and that would be OK....right? I think the reason non-believers get so much hostility ....is that the religious want everyone to think ( I use that term loosely...) like them.....It's their way or the highway ...... Why?
Cuz sheep like to travel in packs
Funny – it all comes down to respect of a fellow person. On all sides are people who want to say their way is the best – atheists are just as strong in this as are Christians. Maybe it's about being tolerant of each person's path as long as it doesn't infringe upon yours. If your path gets you to where you want to go in life, then fine. Religion doesn't start wars, beliefs do – and we ALL have them as these posts show – as does intolerance of others' beliefs. The strongest, "smartest" atheists seem to be as intolerant of the people they scorn. Obviously, there's something in human nature that needs to say "I'm better than you."
hmm. . .maybe that even comes out in my comment.
Maher is a devout & faithful atheist. Mother Teresa is a devout & faithful chris tian. Which one has done more good for the world ? It's well and good that you believe in something but if it's a useless belief and doesn't provide any benefit to the world, then good luck with that. In the meantime, try not to be chris-to-phobic like the romans who threw chris tians to the lions.
"Maher is a devout & faithful atheist. Mother Teresa is a devout & faithful chris tian. Which one has done more good for the world ?"
Bill Maher, without question. Mother Teresa may have been a devout Christian, but she was also a doctrinaire fanatic who, through her staunch opposition to birth, did as much to perpetuate poverty and misery as the repulsive "Baby Doc" Duvalier (from whom she was all to eager to accept blood oney), or any of the other Central and South American dictators who were among her staunchest admirers. As the late Christopher Hitchens correctly noted, she was no friend to the poor, but merely a friend and enabler of poverty itself.
"Maher is a devout & faithful atheist. Mother Teresa is a devout & faithful chris tian. Which one has done more good for the world ?"
Bill Maher, without question. Mother Teresa may have been a devout Christian, but she was also a doctrinaire fanatic who, through her staunch opposition to birth control, did as much to perpetuate poverty and misery as the repulsive "Baby Doc" Duvalier (from whom she was all to eager to accept blood money), or any of the other Central and South American dictators who were among her staunchest admirers. As the late Christopher Hitchens correctly noted, she was no friend to the poor, but merely a friend and enabler of poverty itself.
So how many sick & poor people did Bill Maher care for ? All you have is words. blah blah blah. Try to cite numbers as far as people that were helped. I understand you don't care much for the poor and would prefer that poor people just vanish. Certainly we can see who the humanitarians are. Atheists don't have an obligation to be human itarians or to care. It's an easy life.
Bill Maher is irrelevant. He attacks religion and is a complete bigot. I agree with Sandanista. Bill Maher is basically a cruel and insensitive slob whose blathering isn't worth warm spit!
Maher blows a lot of hot air, but you know what? I just don't listen to him and it's like he doesn't exist. He has a right to think and say whatever he wants, but it's up to you to pay attention or not. Only you have the power.
Yep, and you have the power to stay dumb and believe in hobgoblins if you like. Wonderful isn't it?
Maher is just another atheist ho~mo hack. He is about as relevant as fat Rosy O or nig ger whoppiShyt.
Jimmy CrapCorn = Racist POS
Aren't you late for your KKK meeting Jimmy? I head they were going to elect you Grand Dragon of your Klavern. Here's your white sheet.
Wow what a bunch of stupid people. Athiests think that they are so much smarter than everyone else. I actually feel sorry for you. You live a hollow meaningless existence! You all appear to be self-serving. You probably live your lives saying what's in it for me. I do not care if you believe in God, I truly do not. But how dare you live your lives to bash and ridicule those that do? I do not watch Maher because he is not funny. He wouldnt know comedy if it jumped out of the first row and smacked him in the face! All he does is insult people, that is is act...insults. I guess that is one of many things you athiests have in common. And for the record, MAN has ruined the world, not religion. Just like guns...they dont kill people, people do that! This is the generation of excuse makers...
Here's the thing , Wendy: you say how dare someone bash other beliefs, then say atheists live a hollow existence. This is called hypocrisy, and theists are blind to it every time they whine about atheists speaking out.
You said, "Wow what a bunch of stupid people."
Plenty of stupidity to go around. We haven't found a cure yet. Ignorance, on the other hand, is curable.
You said, "Athiests think that they are so much smarter than everyone else."
Statistically atheists are. But they are not smarter because they are atheist, they tend to be atheist because thy are smarter. By the way, it is "atheists", not "athiests"
You said, "I actually feel sorry for you."
Don't. You obviously don't have a clue about what atheists are about.
You said, "You live a hollow meaningless existence! You all appear to be self-serving. You probably live your lives saying what's in it for me."
Wrong, wrong and wrong.
You said, "I do not care if you believe in God, I truly do not."
Good. Neither do I.
You said, "But how dare you live your lives to bash and ridicule those that do?"
Anybody that comes to a public comment board such as this one and displays his or her ignorance, is asking to be rebuked. I encourage you (and all believers) to open your eyes and mind.
The odds that any god, not just yours, exists is about as likely as the existence of the Tooth Fairy. At the basis of every religious argument is the assumption that there is a god. Without any evidence in support of the god at the basis of the argument, the entire debate is a hypothetical one. Every debate should start by stating the assumptions. All I do is challenge yours (even though you may not explicitly state them).
Unless and until you provide credible evidence in support of your assumption, you have no argument.
If you feel that is "bashing" you, I recommend you grow a thicker skin, or stay off the comment board.
You said, "I do not watch Maher because he is not funny. He wouldnt know comedy if it jumped out of the first row and smacked him in the face! All he does is insult people, that is is act...insults."
What you watch is entirely your choice. But how do you know anything about it if you don't watch it?
You said, "I guess that is one of many things you athiests have in common."
Wrong again. You appear to know nothing about atheists.
Hey girl! You're needed back at the island. Peter is waiting. No wonder it's called "Neverland"!
"But how dare you live your lives to bash and ridicule those that do?"
But it's perfectly okay for you to bash atheists as '"stupid," "self-serving" people living a "meaningless existence"? Why should anyone respect your beliefs when you show such blatant disrespect for the beliefs of others?
"Plenty of stupidity to go around. We haven't found a cure yet. Ignorance, on the other hand, is curable."
1. Ignorance works on both sides. And no, quoting HItch, Harris, Dawkins or any number of faux-intellectuals who make a killing selling books reciting tired and reductive "arguments", then passing them off as your own (which uneducated secularists love to do) doesn't count.
2. Statistically atheists are. But they are not smarter because they are atheist, they tend to be atheist because thy are smarter. By the way, it is "atheists", not "athiests"
*Face Palm*. Hilarious. You assert and it doesn't make it so. I know plenty of cretins on both sides. Atheists might not corner the market on stupidity, but they certainly are attendants.
3. You said, "I actually feel sorry for you."
Don't. You obviously don't have a clue about what atheists are about.
Sounds like the same can be said for you.
4. The odds that any god, not just yours, exists is about as likely as the existence of the Tooth Fairy. At the basis of every religious argument is the assumption that there is a god. Without any evidence in support of the god at the basis of the argument, the entire debate is a hypothetical one. Every debate should start by stating the assumptions. All I do is challenge yours (even though you may not explicitly state them).
You don't impress with your Philosophy 101 rehash. OBVIOUSLY, assumptions are made from BOTH sides. It's not the assumptions up front that are the issue; it's the reasoning - and implications - that follow after that that make for a compelling or not so compelling case.
"Unless and until you provide credible evidence in support of your assumption, you have no argument."
Another reflexive statement.
5. What you watch is entirely your choice. But how do you know anything about it if you don't watch it?
I watch Maher all the time. He has every right to do what he does. My issue with him is he's simply NOT funny. Tries to mimic the comedic timing and delivery of his idol, Carson, and is clearly in nowhere near the same league.
Maher might take a lesson from Louis CK on what "being funny" is all about.
the good thing about all this is that it establishes that all posters have been exposed to the truth .. not that it needed establshing, as GOD has clearly been revealed by His creation .. "there is no God!!" .. now that's a turf that hardly seems worth defending as literally there is nothing to defend!
So, you're using the argunment that since the Earth exists, 'god' must also exist?
"clearly"? Obviously not, since many doubt. That atheists even exist disproves your entire point.
Maher is an idiot, pure and simple. His only goal is to offend, and to make fun of anyone who opposes his point of view. He's just a cheap-shot artist. I'm waiting for the day Maher grows a pair and insults the Muslim faith and its followers.
There is no redeeming value in Maher's show. His continued employment by HBO is the reason I do not subscribe to HBO now.
@Kandi: You said, "I'm waiting for the day Maher grows a pair and insults the Muslim faith and its followers."
He did it four years ago in "Religulous." I suggest a simple Google search next time will save you from making an ass of yourself.
Why don't you do a Google search?
OK, if you're right about Maher poking fun at anyone opposing opposing his view, then if there's any damage done, it's to the opposer's thin skin. Now look at what trasitionall happens to those opposing the Christian point of view: persecution, torture, slaughter, ad nauseum. I don't know abou tyou, but I'd rather be made fun of than burned at the stake.
I'll bet Kandi listens to Limbaugh faithfully.
Maher rips on every religion. Christianity is going to be the main target, since it is not only the dominant religion in our culture but the most prevalent religion in the world.
Maher's real goal is to make a living doing all this. Just about everyone has laughed at some point at someone who was doing something silly. In some poeple's eyes religion is quite silly.
It's funny how comediens always say it's their job to "push the envelope". So why is that you never hear comediens making fun of "Allah and his prophet Muhammad". How about something funny about Muhammad and Bin Laden. Ahhhhh!!!! There is easily some enveloping pushing to be done there in that category since so many other comediens before them have been Big Wimpy COWARDS to say a thing just like Bill Maher. Let's see SNL do a skit with Muhammad in a skirt and a beard!!!! COWARDS!!!!
Bill has plenty of Muslim jokes. Since this country's dominant religiion is Christianity, it makes sense that he does more Christian jokes right smart guy? Perhaps you don't remember the Muhammed South Park episode, they certainly took Allah to the cleaners. Maybe if you actually watched secular comedy you would be more satisfied with the balance.
the reason why bill maher is who he is is because of the media. right now he is laughing at the publicity that everyone is giving him. if you dont like what he says, dont respond. he is who he is because he gets people to respond. what's wrong with you people?
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Maher is still trying to find himself. He's shepherding a misguided flock but there are so many Christians praying to God for his soul... God loves Bill Maher and continues to knock at the door of his heart. He only thinks he's a bad boy but under all that, it's just him and God. http://www.lordspromise.blogspot.com
Religion is the easiest thing to make fun of, because it's b.s. to begin with. It is the biggest hoax the world has ever known and so many people believe in it!
Are you serious? Religion is a joke. Most of the world's problems are caused by religion.
@(Think for once)
Most of the world's problems are caused by people who think they know & understand religion, whether it be theirs or someone else's. You need to be credible with several hundred million people first before you dare to speak about religion. Mother Teresa is credible. If you claim to know as much about religion as her, then give us some details so we can research your life and see if you're credible. If not, then you don't know much about religion, and are useless to argue.
You don't need religion to live a perfectly happy life. Anyone who thinks you do is just dead wrong.
The Chinese gov't is happy. The Russian gov't is happy. Paris Hilton is happy. Hit ler was happy. Charles Ma nson was happy. The trigger-happy ma niac who may happen to be behind you knows what will make him happy. So, yes, I agree that you do not need religion to be happy.
I understand being an atheist. But I don't understand guys like Maher attacking and ridiculing others for their beliefs. The beliefs that make them who they are and guide them through life and beyond. It's just cruel and is basically a slap in the face to freedom of religion.
We riducule people for all other beliefs and opinions–why not religion? I give christians credit that at least they don't usually threaten to kill people who make fun of their beliefs like some in the muslim world do.
i ridicule all religions equally.
Because the problem with religion is that it teaches you to be content with not knowing the world around you. There is a reason the same ignorant idiots who do not believe in evolution or global warming are also the very religious.
Atheism and atheists rule. Everything that atheists believe is true. We don't need to prove anything.
@Think for once
I agree with you 100%. China and Russia are great examples of how atheistic societies are better educated about the world around them, than those wha cko chris tian societies. Information and education are freely available in those two countries.
Oh yeah, those two countries totally believe in evolution and global warming. They treat their people with utmost respect because of their highly evolved intellect. The air and rivers in those two countries are the cleanest in the world. Yeah.
Like Howard Stern, Limbaugh and Coulter, Maher gets paid to be rude and vicious. Americans love it and I don't get it. Y'all are a trashy bunch ain't ya?