Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media.

The Story of God Season 2 with Morgan Freeman premieres tonight (1/16) at 9:00 PM (ET) on  NatGeo.

The highest-rated series in the network’s history continues to explore humankind’s search to understand and relate to the Creator in a three-episode second season.

Each of the three episodes in the new season will explore a different major theme: “The Chosen One?” “Proof of God” and “Heaven and Hell.” In each episode Freeman meets with individuals, faith leaders, scientists and archaeologists to help him understand these big topics, including the following:

  • A 9-year-old boy in Minnesota who Tibetan monks believe is the reincarnation of a lama, a Buddhist spiritual teacher
  • Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the keeper of the sacred pipe of the Nakota, Lakota and Dakota tribes
  • Kenneth Bae, the American Christian missionary held captive for two years in North Korea
  • A woman whose heart stopped for more than eight minutes, who describes in great detail the feeling of heaven she had in that time
  • Theoretical physicist Ard Louis, who believes that you can find God in scientific knowledge. The deeper he goes into his studies, the more he sees signs of the divine.
  • A visit to a New Mexico church where followers worship by speaking in tongues
  • An archaeological excursion to the Dunbar caves in Tennessee to see recently discovered depictions of heaven and hell from ancient ancestors of the Cherokee

I had the opportunity to speak with Freeman who told me that while all religions are different, it’s also remarkable how similar they are though also radically different– virtually of them, for instance, offer some sort of representation of what happens after death (the subject of next week’s episode). Freeman says last season’s episodes (as evidenced by the ratings) were overwhelmingly well-received by the audience.

Season two episodes are the following:

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: The Chosen One

Premieres Monday, Jan. 16, at 9/8c

Almost every faith has a figure its followers think was chosen by God. Muslims have Muhammad. Christians have Jesus. Jews have Abraham and Moses. Why do we rally around these chosen ones and how do they guide our faith? Morgan Freeman goes in search of the chosen people walking the earth today, including an American boy from the suburbs who is believed to be the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama who has been returning in different bodies for almost five hundred years.

 The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Heaven and Hell

Premieres Monday, Jan. 23, at 9/8c

What are heaven and hell? Do they await us in the afterlife or are they here and now? People of all faiths and backgrounds have contemplated these conundrums for thousands of years. Morgan Freeman sets out to learn how these unseen places have changed the way we live, by descending into the ancient Native American underworld, investigating the phenomena of exorcisms and the gift of tongues, and meeting a woman who believes she has seen heaven.

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Proof of God

Premieres Monday, Jan. 30, at 9/8c

Have we cut God out of our modern lives or are there still special moments when the divine breaks through and makes its presence known? Morgan Freeman meets a man who felt God’s presence on Sept. 11, learns how Muslims hear God’s voice in the Quran, comes across a tribe whose members believe they can channel the healing power of the divine and encounters a physicist who has faith that science will lead him to God.

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is produced by Revelations Entertainment for National Geographic. For Revelations Entertainment, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger are executive producers. For National Geographic, Michael J. Miller is executive producer; Kevin Tao Mohs is vice president, production and development; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman  Season 1 on DVD January 10, 2017 and Season 2 premiers on National Geographic, January 16th.

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