4Religulous -- The "Jesus Is Fake" Evidence Is Fake
In Religulous, Bill Maher sets out to make you question what you think you know about God, telling you everything church leaders don't want you to know. He interrogates everyone from truck stop parishioners to pious scientists to visitors of a holy amusement park, poking holes in their beliefs by pointing out things like how the original sin isn't mentioned in the Bible or how the Christ mythology is eerily similar to other ancient religions -- at one point, a Tumblr-ready slideshow informs us of the many similarities between Jesus and the Egyptian god Horus:
Man, that's some incriminating evidence right there. How come the entire Catholic church hasn't collapsed under the weight of this one documentary?
All this "Jesus was copied from earlier religions" stuff has been going around the Internet for a while, and it will make you look awesome if you post it on a Halo message board, but none of it is true. The Egyptian links have been debunked by actual Egyptologists.
That's ancient Egyptian for "bullshit."
Let's start with the "virgin births" part: You've gotta make some pretty big logical jumps to claim that any of those earlier gods were born from virgins, having come from a mother seven times over (Krishna), some freaky necrophilia (Horus), and a fucking rock (Mithras).
Then there's the resurrection thing. Contrary to Maher's claims, Mithras was never resurrected, and the older versions of the guy's story don't have any of the Jesus similarities -- those came about in the first or second century A.D. (that is, after Jesus was born). Horus, like Mithras, was also never resurrected, didn't have 12 apostles, and didn't raise Asar from the dead (which doesn't translate to "Lazarus" even a little bit). There isn't even any record of a figure call Anup the Baptizer; the closest we come is Anubis, the god of embalming, which astute readers will note is a leeeeeetle different from baptism.
"We need to take you downtown for a few questions about your baptism practices, sir."
Oh, by the way, original sin is totally in the Bible, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a scholar who disagrees with the overwhelming evidence that a person (not necessarily a divine being) matching Jesus' description existed during his purported lifetime. So where did Maher get all this crap? Probably from the viral "documentary" Zeitgeist (which doesn't cite any sources) or, and this is a serious possibility, the fucking Da Vinci Code (which is about as historically accurate as the movie Splash).
None of this means the Christian Bible is right or that it represents the one true religion. But if you think something is bullshit, the answer is not more bullshit.
3Searching for Sugar Man -- Sugar Man Was Touring, Shooting Up the Charts in the '80s
Searching for Sugar Man is the tale of two South African music fans going on a quest to find a mysterious American singer called Rodriguez, who had become huge in their country but whose whereabouts were unknown. The story is that this musical genius had released two little-heard albums in the early '70s and then vanished (rumors swirled that he had long ago committed suicide onstage). He remained unknown until a sudden surge in popularity when his songs about poverty and urban decay made him an icon in apartheid-era South Africa. So the guy was a star, but nobody knew where he was or even if he was still alive.
Spoilers: The documentary discovers Rodriguez toiling in anonymity in his native Detroit, having no idea of his superstar status abroad. Thanks to the documentary, Rodriguez became the ultimate artist-you-probably-haven't-heard for hipsters everywhere, and he was even invited to play at some festivals.
Via Michael Robinson
"Wait, he didn't kill himself? Fuck this, let's see if Nirvana is playing."
The documentary tells us that Rodriguez is a guy who put out two extremely obscure albums in the '70s, had zero success, quit music, and became a regular Joe. That makes for a great story -- the idea that the guy threw the albums out there and dropped off the map, unaware that his work had become huge on the other side of the globe years later. Well, we don't know about you, but we haven't met any regular Joes who spent years touring Australia with bands like Men at Work and Midnight Oil.
Andy Kropa/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
He still has fucking "Down Under" stuck in his head.
Yep, Rodriguez was a huge sensation in Australia in the late '70s and early '80s, with his singles shooting up the charts for over a year. One of the fans from the documentary is a record shop owner and a massive Rodriguez nut -- surely he'd heard of his 1981 live in Australia album? Maybe he listened to it and figured the huge crowd cheering for the guy at the beginning was in some tiny Detroit cafe. Also, the name of the album is Rodriguez Alive, so maybe he should have taken it as a clue.
It's true that Rodriguez's work didn't catch on the U.S. before the film, and that he wasn't aware of his popularity in South Africa, but to paint him as a criminally ignored genius is absurd. He enjoyed a sterling career lasting over a decade before his 15 minutes were up and he was forced back into the real world, making his story about as remarkable as any '80s hair metal band (that is, if Blackie Lawless inexplicably became the poster boy for the Egyptian revolution, which -- can we make that happen?). That might explain why he seemed so underwhelmed when he met up with the filmmakers.
He was just relieved that they didn't call him "Menudo."