When conservative atheist S. E. Cupp and liberal atheist Bill Maher get together on the same stage, it's a metaphysical certitude they're going to fight about religion.
Following up on their last heated theological battle on the May 14 installment of HBO's "Real Time," Cupp and Maher went at it again on Friday this time over Glenn Beck's decision to become a Mormon after he got remarried.
Not surprisingly, Maher thought it was absurd Beck and his soon to be bride decided to "shop around for religion."
When Cupp made the case that Maher as an atheist couldn't possibly understand how God's callings work, and others on the panel agreed with her, the host said, "Oh f--k you all," and moved on to his "New Rules" segment (video follows with transcript and commentary, serious vulgarity warning):
BILL MAHER, HOST: I was reading a profile of Glenn Beck recently, and he said that when he met his second wife before they got married, she said, "Well, before we get married, we have to pick a religion." And I thought this was interesting because the idea of picking a religion in adulthood. I understand when you're born into something and you can't help it. Okay, but as an adult to choose how you will be deluded. To go, "Okay, let's shop around for religion" and they decided on Mormonism. I, I, picking this subject because Obama has said the same thing. He said it last week. He said, "I came to Christianity as an adult." He picked this religion.
P. J. O'ROURKE: He picked that church with a nut.
MAHER: Yes, he did. Well, that nut was, said nothing different than every other preacher nut has ever said. He said if we act wicked, if we act wickedly, God will damn us. That's what every preacher says.
O'ROURKE: I've listened to Reverend Wright and I've listened to Father O'Flattery and I detect a slight difference.
MAHER: Yes, one of them sounds black, I know. But you changed religions in adulthood. You say you're open to, you're an atheist.
S. E. CUPP: I'm an atheist.
MAHER: You're open. I don't know what would happen, but.
CUPP: Well, some kind of miraculous event before my eyes might make me change my mind. But I'm an atheist.
MAHER: But you know that's not going to happen. What, you mean you really think Jesus is going to come down and go, "Hey you?"
CUPP: I am sold on atheism. I am an atheist, unapologetic. But I'm not delusional that I could change my mind over the course of the next 70 years that I'm going to be on this earth. It could happen.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, NEW YORK TIMES: I'm actually with her on this issue.
O'ROURKE: How weird.
SORKIN: You're a pretty liberal guy. I'm surprised you're not...
MAHER: To the idea that?
SORKIN: That you could change your religion.
MAHER: You can. You're allowed. I'm not saying there should be a law. I'm just saying it's, it's, it's fucking crazy in adulthood. I can see if it's forced into your head as a child. But as an adult, to me to change it. First of all, religion is supposed to be the one true faith. Their whole thing is about it's from God, it's eternal, it's cast in stone. But we're not married to it?
CUPP: No, but wait. Listen, when you're talking about Glenn Beck, for example, how are you especially as an atheist, how would you know how God works with his callings? Maybe that process of going to find religion was some kind of intelligent design version of finding religion and God was really behind it. I don't know. Two, I mean, why would you begrudge someone choosing during adulthood? We reject a lot of things that are passed down to us. Glenn Beck for example rejected alcoholism which was passed down to him.
O'ROURKE: Well, not me, damn it.
CUPP: Unless you think Mormonism is more offensive than alcoholism, I think he turned out okay with that decision.
MAHER: Religion is supposed to be something absolutely different than any other thing we...
CUPP: You're an atheist, how would you know?
MAHER: What do you mean how would I know?
CUPP: How would you know what the experience of knowing God is? I don't.
MAHER: I was raised Catholic.
CUPP: So was I? I don't know about knowing God.
MAHER: Nobody does.
O'ROURKE: Did the nuns hit you guys a lot?
MAHER: Nobody does. Nobody gets a channel you don't get.
CUPP: Why would you judge someone who says he has a relationship with God for how he came to it? You don't know how it works.
MAHER: Because what somebody is saying who says that is, "My brain picks up a station yours doesn't."
MAHER: Which bothers me a lot.
JOSHUA GREEN, THE ATLANTIC: But why would that bother you, why would that bother you with Glenn Beck? I mean, it's, it's, the fact that he's a Mormon is between him and Mitt Romney.
MAHER: The idea that the wife says to him, "Before we get married we've got to pick out a religion. We're going to go to all the show rooms and say, ‘The Catholics, the Evangelicals.'" And they decided on the Mormons.
GREEN: At least they thought about it.
CUPP: Isn't that a nice thing? Isn't that a nice thing that they're thinking about their future? Let's be good people.
MAHER: Oh fuck you all, New Rules! This is boring.
Isn't that great? No one on the panel was agreeing with him, so he vulgarly ended the discussion.
Now, in fairness, someone was likely telling him in his earplug that it was time for the final segment.
However, to end the discussion this way was awfully rude.
Stay classy, Bill.