After Maher wrote his controversial essay, Smith spoke about it on his "Just taking a shot when no shots are f-ckin' necessary," Smith said. As for the Stan Lee situation, Maher had previously attempted to do some damage control on "But talk about making my point for me: Yeah, I don't know very much about Stan Lee and it certainly wasn't a swipe at Stan Lee. After all, scripture is meaningless without interpretation.Scripture requires a person to confront and interpret it in order for it to have any meaning.BILL MAHER’s recent rant against Islam has set off a fierce debate about the problem of religious violence, particularly when it comes to Islam. Maher, who has argued that Islam is unlike other religions (he thinks it’s more “like the Mafia”), recently took umbrage with President Obama’s assertion that the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS, does not represent Islam. Maher’s view, Islam has “too much in common with ISIS.”His comments have led to a flurry of responses, perhaps none so passionate as that of the actor Ben Affleck, who lambasted Mr. Maher’s own HBO show, for “gross” and “racist” generalizations about Muslims.Yet there is a real lack of sophistication on both sides of the argument when it comes to discussing religion and violence.On one hand, people of faith are far too eager to distance themselves from extremists in their community, often denying that religious violence has any religious motivation whatsoever.This is especially true of Muslims, who often glibly dismiss those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam as “not really Muslim.”On the other, critics of religion tend to exhibit an inability to understand religion outside of its absolutist connotations.What a member of a suburban megachurch in Texas calls Christianity may be radically different from what an impoverished coffee picker in the hills of Guatemala calls Christianity.The cultural practices of a Saudi Muslim, when it comes to the role of women in society, are largely irrelevant to a Muslim in a more secular society like Turkey or Indonesia.The same Bible that commands Jews to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus ) also exhorts them to “kill every man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey,” who worship any other God (1 Sam. The same Jesus Christ who told his disciples to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew ) also told them that he had “not come to bring peace but the sword” (Matthew ), and that “he who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke ).The same Quran that warns believers “if you kill one person it is as though you have killed all of humanity” () also commands them to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (9:5).