William "Bill" Maher, Jr. born January 20, 1956 is an American stand-up comedian, television host, social and political commentator, and author. Before his current role as the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher hosted a similar late-night talk show called Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central and later on ABC. Maher is known for his political satire and sociopolitical commentary. His commentaries target a wide swath of topics: religion, politics, bureaucracies of many kinds, political correctness, the mass media, greed among people and persons in positions of high political and social power, among many others. He supports the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage and serves on the board of PETA. He is also a critic of religion and is an advisory board member of The Reason Project. Maher is number 38 on Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-ups of all time.
NOVEMBER 2009 ON IMUS - MAHER REFERS TO HIMSELF AS AN ATHEIST
November 1, 2009 on Imus "Neither me nor my girl believe in God or marriage, so there's not gonna be a big church wedding... I always say I don't know. Even Richard Dawkins a man whose name has become synonymous with atheism says he puts a scale of 1 to 7, 1 being absolute certain there is a god and 7 being absolutely certain there isn't, and he says even he's a 6.9. Because no one knows for sure what's out there. He says yes there could be a god and there could be a spaghetti monster out there, but it doesn't look like it. To me it was always great fodder for comedy. There isn't a week that goes by that there isn't something hysterically funny if it's not tragic, having to do with religion. My recent favorite example was at the Michael Jackson Memorial Stevie Wonder said 'we needed Michael but God needed him more.' And I thought really God needs people, God needs singers, God is up there saying 'Jesus, nothing on, get that Michael Jackson up here.'
Imus then asks if Hitchens is a 7. Bill Maher responds "he may be, I think we're just talking semantics at some point, we are all atheists (referring to Dawkins, Hitchens, and himself), which means we don't believe in a deity, we don't believe in a magic spaceman, and we think people that do, have a neurological disorder and they need help."
And on religion in general he said "When I hear from people that religion doesn't hurt anything, I say really? Well besides wars, the crusades, the inquisitions, 9-11, ethnic cleansing, the suppression of women, the suppression of homosexuals, fatwas, honor killings, suicide bombings, arranged marriages to minors, human sacrifice, burning witches, and systematic sex with children, I have a few little quibbles. And I forgot blowing up girl schools in Afghanistan."
From a June 07, 2006 article  titled Bill Maher takes on Religion in New Documentary in SlashFilm:
"I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need. But I'm not an atheist, no." I believe there's some force. If you want to call it God... I don't believe God is a single parent who writes books. I think that the people who think God wrote a book called The Bible are just childish. Religion is so childish. What they're fighting about in the Middle East, it's so childish. These myths, these silly little stories that they believe in fundamentally, that they take over this little space in Jerusalem where one guy flew up to heaven�no, no, this guy performed a sacrifice here a thousand million years ago. It's like, "Who cares? What does that have to do with spirituality, where you're really trying to get, as a human being and as a soul moving in the universe?" But I do believe in a God, yes."
"The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs."
"We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I "think religion stops people from thinking. I think it justified crazies."
“We need more people speaking out. This country is not overrun with rebels and free thinkers. It's overrun with sheep and conformists.” 
"If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you Pope." -Real Time with Bill Maher, April 13, 2008
"Why is monotheistic faith better than polytheistic? I mean, either you believe – if you believe in, like, a magic person who can do magic things, why is it different – so different if it’s Superman or the Fantastic Four?" -Real Time with Bill Maher, January 18, 2008
"The problem is that the people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are most certain of them." Bill Maher: The Decider, July 21, 2007
"New rule: If churches don't have to pay taxes, they also can't call the fire department when they catch fire. Sorry reverend, that's one of those services that goes along with paying in. I'll use the fire department I pay for. You can pray for rain." -Real Time with Bill Maher, 17 February 2006
"Whenever you combine a secretive compound, religion, and weirdos in pioneer outfits, there's gonna be some child fucking going on." -Real Time with Bill Maher, 12 April 2008
"I hate religion. I think it's a neurological disorder."
- Political comedian Bill Maher The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, aired April 21, 2004
From the 09-Oct-2002 Onion AV Club 
Until this summer, Bill Maher was host of the ABC late-night talk show Politically Incorrect. The Onion: Is there a God?
Bill Maher: I think there is. We did a show last night about God and religion with Dave Foley, who I love, and we were arguing against this one woman who had a book called I Like Being Catholic. Someone said, "Oh, boy, a lot of atheists on this panel." I said, "I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need. But I'm not an atheist, no." I believe there's some force. If you want to call it God... I don't believe God is a single parent who writes books. I think that the people who think God wrote a book called The Bible are just childish. Religion is so childish. What they're fighting about in the Middle East, it's so childish. These myths, these silly little stories that they believe in fundamentally, that they take over this little space in Jerusalem where one guy flew up to heaven no, no, this guy performed a sacrifice here a thousand million years ago. It's like, "Who cares? What does that have to do with spirituality, where you're really trying to get, as a human being and as a soul moving in the universe?" But I do believe in a God, yes.
From a June 2, 2004 Larry King Live []
CALLER: Hi, thank you for taking my call. Here's my question. Other than who we vote for and keeping respect for everyone's beliefs, Bill, I'm wondering how you think we can work to restore a separation of church and state?
MAHER: Restore it, that's a good point. I think we have -- I hate to sound like a broken record. It has to take place at the top. When you have a president who is this openly religious and this openly contemptible, in contempt, rather, of the separation of church and state, I don't think anything is going to change until that changes.
This is a man who proudly says that Jesus picked him to be president. You said something about you have to respect people's beliefs. I know that's what we always hear, we have to respect. I'm sorry, I don't. I don't respect religion. I don't respect superstitious thinking, which is what religion is. I don't respect childish thinking, which is what religion is.
We talked about this before, this whole gay issue wouldn't even be an issue except it says it in the Bible. The Bible, that book that has people lived to be 900 years old and says the world is 6,000 years old, and that there are people who lived in a whale. That infallible work of genius and slavery is OK. You should stone a guy to death if he works on Sunday. That's the book that says, sorry no queers.
So I'm sorry, I don't respect people who believe in religion. I was religious when I was a kid. We all had dumb stuff drilled into our head. It doesn't mean when you get to be an adult you can't drill it out. I tell you something else they drilled into my head when I was a kid, mercury in my cavities. We found out later mercury is so bad we shouldn't even eat it when there is a trace of it in fish. But it was drilled into my teeth. So when I got older, I had it drilled out. You can do the same thing with religion. To talk about this terrorism situation without talking about religion is like talking about AIDS in America without talking about homosexuality. You can do it, it will get you applause on Oprah but it's not true.
Note that Maher is classified as Category:Ambiguous because he has said (earlier, paraphrased) that while he disdains organized religion he nevertheless doesn't reject the possibility of a god. It's not clear if this position of his is still in effect. He was added to after calling Richard Dawkins a "fellow atheist" in October 2009. It seems Maher is disinterested in using the "a" word in front of the wrong crowd, so I left him in Category:Ambiguous as well. In November of 2009 on Imus we have the first known moment in which Bill Maher refers to himself as an atheist!
Bill Maher stated on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Monday, September 29, 2008, promoting his movie, "Religulous," that he is not an atheist because he sees it as the mirror image of theism and he rejects certainty. It sounds like he would likely accept the label of agnostic.
In early October 2009 Bill Maher was honored with an award by Richard Dawkins and an appearance by Dawkins on his show airing the same day.
Examiner.com account of events: Maher threw red meat to the crowd of nonbelieving conference attendees, dissing the pope for discouraging condom use in Africa, expressing exasperation with President Obama for his overt religiousness (said Maher, "When Obama gets Christ-y, I'm like, motherfucker, you better be lying."), and mercilessly tearing apart Pastor Rick Warren's bestselling Purpose-Driven Life simply by reading aloud selected passages. Said Maher of Warren's writing, "It makes me pee my pants."
Significantly, on his HBO program Real Time with Bill Maher broadcast live earlier that evening and streamed to conference attendees, Maher referred to Richard Dawkins (also on the program) as a "fellow atheist." In the past, Maher has made a point of referring to himself as an agnostic, claiming not to be utterly certain that there is no a god, while still generally casting his lot with atheists. (I even jibed a columnist last year for--at the time--wrongly labeling Maher an atheist. He is wrong no more!) --Sapient 05:17, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
More information on the discrepancy between the definitions of agnostic and atheist.
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