Being completely objective, I think Maher wiped up O'Reilly. By the way, if I had my choice to watch either, it would be O'Reilly by far. I can't stomach Maher at all.
O'Reilly starts by taking a shot at Maher because no one watches his show. That was his best point and it goes down hill from there. And Maher's answer was perfect for O'Reilly---say nothing, show no emotion, just a blank look on your face, like he said nothing.
I saw this clip in an opinion column about a tweet that Maher made about Tim Tebow. However, the discussion is about peoples' ideas about solving the deficit. Maher, it seems, said that the American people were stupid. At about 1:10, it becomes a religious discussion, when Maher backs his claim that the American people are generally stupid because 60% of them believe the Noah's ark story.
O'Reilly is obviously out of his league here, because he says he knows no one that believes the Noah's ark story. That seems like a lie (or a spin, if you put it like O' Reilly would). And then he said he read that they found Noah's ark on a mountain in Turkey. OK, that sounded like he might want to defend the flood account. But he said it with a teasing smile on his face, like he didn't believe it himself. But Maher didn't answer that one, told him just to go down the hall at Fox news to find people who do believe in Noah's ark (Jesus believed it, of course).
Then Maher makes a good point at about 1:35---"that's in your Bible." Good one. If it is in the Bible, why doesn't O'Reilly believe that if he is a Christian? And then Maher, asked, "if you're a religious person and the Bible is written by God, why isn't -- why is stuff in the Bible untrue?" At 1:45, O'Reilly answers, "Well, because it's allegorical, Bill. I'm sure you know -- I'm sure you know it's allegorical, and these are parables. They're designed to -- to teach you a greater truth that apparently has eluded you. You know, it's not a literalist interpretation, the Bible." Bill says the Bible is an allegory. And that part, the part about the Noah and the ark and the flood, is conveniently an allegory, despite the fact that Jesus said it wasn't one (Matthew 12:40).
Maher answers, "I thought it was the Word of God. I thought it was literal, and a lot of religious people do." And we believe it is literal too. And then he asks, "OK, what about the part in the Bible that says if you see your neighbor working on a Sunday, you should kill him? Is that a parable or is that literal?" There Maher becomes loony (well, loonier). No verse in the Bible prohibits working on Sunday. That shows the ignorance of Maher (who is half Jewish). But O'Reilly wouldn't have corrected that. No verse says that if you see your neighbor working on a Sabbath, you can kill him. None.
O'Reilly is right to ask for a passage that backs up what Maher says, because none does. O'Reilly though says 'what parable?' not 'what passage?' Maher correctly says that it is "a law." And Maher pulls out "Deuteronomy" at the 2:18 point. He wasn't referring to anything in Deuteronomy, but what is in Exodus 31:14-15 and 35:2, the latter of which says:
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
The seventh day is Saturday, not Sunday, and someone doesn't kill his neighbor for doing it.
Maher continues with, "But if it's your perfect holy book written by God, why is there stuff in there that makes no sense or is immoral?" No one can judge morality without starting with objective truth or even laws of logic, which one cannot without starting with God. If everything is an accident, then nothing is either moral or immoral. No one can judge God or His Word to be immoral. Maher feels like it is immoral, but he has no basis for saying anything is immoral, unless he borrows from a Christian world view, which would then say that Maher is actually the one who is immoral, not God or His Word.
O'Reilly has no answer for Maher on killing someone for working on Sunday, so he shucks the Old Testament completely, especially since it also justifies slavery, and says he's a believer of the New Testament. That's a loser. Maher rightfully asks, "But they're both written by God. Right?" O'Reilly says Christians love the "half of the Bible that teaches you to love your neighbor as you love yourself." To which, Maher answers, "But you can't disavow the Old Testament." Which is what O'Reilly is doing.
The next part of their conversation goes like the following:
O'REILLY: I'm not disavowing anything. I'm telling you what I believe in, and what I believe in is love your neighbor as yourself and don't call him stupid because they don't agree with you politically.
MAHER: But if you're saying that some things in the Bible are true and other things aren't. It's not like the Constitution, Bill. It was written by God or inspired by God. So how come so much of it is either wacky or immoral?
Devastating to O'Reilly. If both parts are written by God, you don't get to choose to believe just one part. What Maher nor O'Reilly understand, because they're actually both stupid, ironically, is that the Old Testament law has a threefold division (nicely discussed in the recent book From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Basis for the Threefold Division of the Law), consisting of moral, civil or judicial, and ceremonial law. The Sabbath law was ceremonial.
A last give and take was of interest.
O'REILLY: I've read the New Testament. There doesn't seem to be a lot of downside to being like Jesus. He seemed to be a pretty good guy to me, Bill.
MAHER: He was a good guy.
Maher admits that it would be good to be like Jesus. But how could Maher think it would be good to be like someone who said He was God and said that He agreed with the Old Testament law? I don't think that Maher knew what he was saying.
So who is worse? The one who won't believe the Bible because he can't take it literally? Or, the one who doesn't believe the Bible, but he just allegorizes it instead?