TV Show Review

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman

By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is a mini-series that first aired on the National Geographic Channel in 2016. In six episodes, it covered the following God-related topics: "Beyond Death," "Apocalypse," "Who is God?," "Creation," "Why Does Evil Exist?," and "The Power of Miracles." The series consists of Morgan Freeman traveling all over the world to beautiful and amazing locales and interviewing experts from various world religions to get their perspectives on the various issues.

In no sense is the series intended to argue in favor of the Christian understanding of the issues. The Christian worldview is presented as simply one choice among many. Generally speaking, every religion is treated reasonably fairly, i.e., every religion gets misrepresented to a certain extent. However, it is clear that Morgan Freeman and/or the producers favor the worldview of the eastern religions, Buddhism and Hinduism. This is evident in how much time is given to the various religious perspectives, can definitely be discerned in the concluding summaries, and is even sometimes apparent in Freeman's tone of voice.

To summarize the conclusions of the six episodes exceedingly briefly:

Beyond Death
Every religion believes in some form of afterlife. But there is no way to know which viewpoint is correct. So, I guess we will just have to wait to see what happens.

The word apocalypse simply means "revealing." There isn't going to be an end of the world apocalypse. The only apocalypse we will ever experience will be the revealing of whatever God and spirituality is truly all about.

Who is God?
God, whoever or whatever he/she/it is, is beyond our comprehension. So, we need to abandon our narrowmindedness and instead open our hearts and allow our souls to connect with nebulous spirituality, however we are led.

We can't adequately explain how the universe and life came to be, so it is possible that "God" was somehow involved. Even if "God" was involved in creation, all of the creation accounts found in the various religions are nothing but myths.

Why Does Evil Exist?
Evil exists because humanity is messed up. We are not in tune with "God," with nature, or with ourselves. This leads us to make horrible decisions and to do terrible things. But just as our understanding of evil has evolved, so will we eventually evolve to the point that we can cure whatever there is in us that causes us to do evil things.

The Power of Miracles
It is good to believe in miracles, because believing in miracles gives us hope. But, it is highly unlikely that true miracles actually occur. No matter how strong the odds are against it, virtually anything can happen if given enough chances.

The above are definitely oversimplifications of what the episodes present, but I believe them to be reasonably accurate summaries. It is an interesting series, especially when Freeman visits important archaeological sites. Watching the series will give you a better understanding of how some cultures understand God and spirituality.

At the same time, the series was also incredibly frustrating. I wish I had counted the number of times I literally face-palmed while I watched the episodes. While I do not claim to be an expert in Hinduism or Buddhism, the series portrays those two religions as somewhat monolithic, with most adherents having the same beliefs. This could not be further from the truth. Hinduism comes in polytheistic, pantheistic, and even monotheistic varieties. There is no universal form of Buddhism.

In the "Beyond Death" episode, Freeman visits a site in India where the dead are cremated and their remains sent down a river. Freeman stated that Hindus believe if this is done, they can bypass the cycles of reincarnation and become one with Brahman. This concept was stated as if all Hindus would agree with it. The vast majority of Hindus adamantly reject the idea that having to be reincarnated many times can be skipped by having your cremated remains float down a tributary of the Ganges River.

In another episode, Freeman interviews a Roman Catholic priest at the Vatican. At the end of the conversation, Freeman says, "What I hear you saying is..." and then says something that was absolutely not what the priest had just said. And, of course, no rebuttal or clarification from the priest is then given. There were many other examples of misunderstanding/misrepresentation. I likely even missed some due to the repetitive sound of my hand hitting my face and the intermittent sobbing.

The main point of the series seems to be: no religion has it all right, so pick and choose the parts you like, reinterpret them as you see fit, and then be a reasonably good person.

I would have been hiding in the corner in the fetal position crying out "make it stop" if I didn't like Morgan Freeman's voice so much.

Image Credit: Henri Vidal; "Cain from killing his brother Abel"; Tuileries Garden, Paris; 1896; Public Domain

TagsBiblical-Truth  | False-Teaching  | God-Father  | Reviews-Critiques

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Published 5-25-16