In preparation for political comedian Bill Maher’s appearance at the Palace Theatre on Sunday in Columbus, The Lantern spoke to him about a variety of issues last month.
This is part two of Maher’s interview.
The Lantern: Why does it seem to be that liberals can be tolerant and open-minded on many concepts but are close-minded when it comes to religion? There seems to be a hard stopping point there, why do you think that is?
Bill Maher: Well, because liberals are humans too. They are not always voting or thinking logically. There is nothing that has a greater hold on people’s heartstrings than religion.
Religion provides the one answer that people are most looking for, which is, “What happens when you die?” This is what everyone who is a religious person, I think, ultimately is getting from religion more than anything else. An answer to the question, “What happens when you die?” Religion has that answer: “Great things.”
“Great stuff happens when you die.” Oh, it looks bad, what with people weeping and wailing, getting cremated and buried and all that s— — not being at the dinner table anymore. But, actually, this is where it all gets good. That’s what religion tells you.
If they ever cured mortality, trust me, religion would wither away in, like, 20 years. But, they haven’t cured mortality and people need these answers. People want to think that when they die, there is a heaven or paradise or nirvana, Valhalla — there are many words for it — but it’s all the same thing. It’s just something people pulled right out of their a– and everybody said, “I like that and I want that.”
I think that’s why religion has such a pull on people.
TL: In a previous interview with The Daily Beast, you said that the leaked Jennifer Lawrence photos are natural consequence of modern society. Some time has passed since then, has your opinion changed at all? Have you seen the pictures?
BM: (Laughs) I did see them — somebody showed them to me — it’s impossible not to. I was disappointed to find out from Ms. Lawrence herself apparently that I have committed a “sex crime.”
Apparently she thinks that is a “sex crime,” which are some pretty harsh words. And look, I would never say that what happened to her and these other actresses is cool — it’s not — it’s wrong, it shouldn’t of happened, but I also think there is something to be said for perspective. I don’t think it makes you look great to act like something like this that happened to you is the worst problem the world has ever seen. People are dying of Ebola, get some perspective.
TL: In your opinion, what did George W. Bush do correctly?
BM: He was pretty good on AIDS in Africa.
TL: Anything else?
BM: (long pause) Painting?
This is part two of Bill Maher’s interview with The Lantern.