Author's note: The views and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect the other writers at Legends of Springsteen, or the website as a whole. Thank you.
"Sometimes the truth just ain't enough,
But it's too much in times likes this."- "Worlds Apart", The Rising
Last week, Bill Maher and Ben Affleck made headlines on Maher's HBO show "Real Time With Bill Maher", when they got into a heated debate on the Islamic faith. Even though I'm fairly conservative, and Maher is staunchly liberal, I do watch his show every week. Part of the reason is the intellectual reward of wanting to broaden my horizons and hear the counter-thoughts to my views so I can fully understand issues. However another part, and major part at that, is because I like how angry shows like this make me and strengthen my own conservative arguments.
However, even though I usually can't stand Maher, I absolutely agreed with him on this issue. It got me thinking about the Springsteen song "Worlds Apart", which musically and lyrically compare and contrast Eastern and Western cultures. Maher is an unapologetic critic of all organized religion, but has said "All religion is disease. But Christianity is herpes, and Islam is cancer." I thought about the above Springsteen lyrics during this debate, when Maher and author Sam Harris plead for fellow liberals to stand up for their liberal values and face the ugly truth that sometimes criticizing someone other than White Christian Males, which liberals are always fine with criticizing, is sometimes acceptable. But notice, even before they get to that point that Ben Affleck, another staunch liberal, seems to sense where this conversation is going. Before Harris is even finished with his point, Affleck is combative and dismissive of his credentials. When Harris confirms that he has studied Islamic culture extensively, Affleck give him an incredibly passive-aggressive comment of "I was just asking." And the whole debate is downhill from that point, and neither really seems to listen to one another. Maher asks his fellow liberals to examine the facts and not just label criticism of Islam as bigoted. Affleck, overwhelmed by anger and emotion, lashes out and calls Maher a bigot. "Sometimes the truth just ain't enough, But it's too much in times likes this." Worlds Apart, indeed.