Atheist and comedian Bill Maher recently made the shocking comment that there is "no more psychopathic mass murderer than God." Maher, who is known by many to make intentionally controversial comments relating to religion, received criticism on social media for his comments.
The comedian, who hosts the HBO talk show series "Real Time with Bill Maher," said in an interview with The Atlantic's Scott Stossel that he thinks people who believe in God are "insane," noting that the God portrayed in the Bible's Old Testament is a "mass murderer."
Maher was responding to Stossel who asked if the comedian believes in the argument of Pascal's wager, which states that atheists could be wrong by betting that there is no God and therefore be dooming themselves to an eternity in hell.
"Of all the reasons to be religious, that is the one of the dumber ones," Maher responded. "What if I'm wrong? If it is the God of the Old Testament, I am so [expletive] already, and you and everybody else. A more psychopathic character you will not ever find in fiction. Just the idea that people worshipped the God of this Bible is insane. There is no more psychopathic mass murderer than God, so good luck with worrying that you picked the wrong religion, you're going to suffer for it."
Maher went on to say that he believes himself to be an "apatheist," a combination of an atheist and apathy, adding that he does not know all the answers to the universe, human existence or religion.
"So you know we don't know the answers but the answer to that is not to make up stories. If you don't know something, just say, I don't know. That's your gospel right there. The gospel of 'I don't know.' I combined apathy and atheist, and I came up with apatheist. I don't know what happens when I die, and I don't care."
Maher's most recent comments regarding religion received some public backlash on social media. One reader of The Atlantic article, William Bergmann, commented on the piece, saying: "[Maher] has his moments, but he wears his liberalism and comedian badge as a shield. No matter what he says, at worst, he is in bad taste. If anyone he disagrees with says something questionable, they're racist, misogynist, bigoted, etc."
Another reader onThe Blaze argued that Christians should have faith and love toward Maher with the hope that one day he will become a champion for God. "The best way to deal with [Maher's] unbelief is to pray for him and watch God move into his life. God knows there are people like him; it is posted in [the Bible]. What the world needs to see is a modern day miracle and Maher may be the instrument that God is looking for ... Pray for Bill Maher. I look forward to the results."
The comedian is no stranger to controversial statements. In November, Maher criticized the Boston Red Sox for their tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, in which three were killed and hundreds injured when two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the race's finish line. The Red Sox had stopped at the marathon's finish line and placed their World Series trophy on it and a "617" Red Sox jersey.
Maher said on his HBO talk show in response to the dedication: "Three people died, that's terrible. More were maimed, that's horrible. But unfortunately that happens every day in a car accident and everything else. I mean, your city was not leveled by Godzilla."
Maher's comments gained widespread media attention and many criticized him for treating the terrorist attack too lightly.
Pete Brown, an uncle of brothers Paul and JP Norden, two men injured in the bombings, issued a response, calling them "preposterous," "insulting" and "unfair," adding that the talk show host has a "documented history of rude and devoid of compassionate behavior."
"[Maher] is well known for his ostentatious and foolhardy dialogue, opinions and views … I am left little doubt but to conclude that Bill has lost his ability to practice good judgment and perhaps lacks any moral conscience," Brown added.