‘The Story of God’ shares Morgan Freeman’s questions of faith

Print More
Morgan Freeman from "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman" airing on the National Geographic Channel.

 Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channels/Miller Mobley

Morgan Freeman from "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman" airing on the National Geographic Channel.

 Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channels/Miller Mobley

Faithful Viewer logo. Religion News Service graphic by T.J. Thomson

Faithful Viewer logo. Religion News Service graphic by T.J. Thomson

CHICAGO (RNS) It all started about seven years ago when actor Morgan Freeman visited the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Noticing the mosaics of Jesus inside the museum, Freeman asked his tour guide, who was Muslim, if the tiles had been covered over when the building, originally a Greek Orthodox church, was used as a mosque.

No, the guide said, because Muslims view Jesus as a prophet.

Freeman never had heard that. And if the actor — who has said he is fascinated by God and even has played the deity in the movies “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty” ­­–  was unaware, how many others were, too? What else didn’t he know?

Those and a few other questions — “Who is God?” and “Where do we come from?” — led him on a personal journey to 20 cities in seven countries around the world. They’re questions Freeman explores as host of the six-part television series “The Story of God,” premiering at 9 p.m. Eastern on Sunday (April 3) on the National Geographic Channel.

“In some places I found answers, and others led to more questions,” Freeman said in a statement from the National Geographic Channel.

“The constant through it all is that we’re all looking to be part of something bigger than us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that we are.”

"The Story of God" with Morgan Freeman. Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channels/Matthew Paul Turner

“The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman. Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channels/Matthew Paul Turner

Each episode of “The Story of God” explores a different question, and Sunday’s premiere starts with one of the biggest: “Where do we go after we die?”

“Beyond Death” took Freeman to the pyramids in Egypt, to Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and to a spot on the Ganges River in India where Hindus believe they can die and be cremated and end the cycle of reincarnation.

Another episode, “Apocalypse,” asks why people draw comfort from the idea of an end of days ­– and it brought Freeman to a science lab in Chicago, where the episode screened Wednesday (March 29).

Afterward, a panel of faith leaders from Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian traditions discussed their religions’ apocalyptic beliefs and the episode’s approach.

Azam Nizamuddin, co-chair of the Interfaith Committee at the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, expressed disappointment the show focused on the so-called Islamic State rather than on centuries of Islamic theology. And Rabbi Frederick Reeves of KAM Isaiah Israel in Chicago said the Jewish beliefs shared in the episode didn’t represent “the Jews who live down the street from you.”

Bishop Wayne Miller of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pointed out that not only is there a great diversity of beliefs among world religions, but also within each religion.

“I’ve always found that one of the great values of a piece like this is not that it answers all the questions but that it invites us to open the questions and continue the conversation,” Miller said.

Morgan Freeman in a scene from "Story of God." Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channels/Matthew Paul Turner

Morgan Freeman in a scene from “The Story of God.” Photo courtesy of National Geographic Channels/Matthew Paul Turner

James Younger, who produced the series with Freeman and Lori McCreary, said “The Story of God” isn’t meant to be a theological treatise, but a reflection of Freeman’s “personal journey” and a response to “this apparent discord and disconnect between different faith traditions around the world and even within the U.S.”

That includes atheists and agnostics, as well — both people of faith and no faith are asking these big questions, the producer said.

“We have a lot more in common than we think we do,” he said.

(Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS)

  • Pingback: ‘The Story of God’ shares Morgan Freeman’s questions of faith | Christian News Agency()

  • Pingback: ‘The Story of God’ shares Morgan Freeman’s questions of faith - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • PJ

    Morgan Freeman for President!

  • Pingback: ‘The Story of God’ shares Morgan Freeman’s questions of faith – The Reformed Post()

  • Morgan needs to read the Urantia Book.

  • Pingback: My Weekend Picks for 4-1-2016 | Life on the Bridge()

  • Jim

    Of the 7 billion people in the world, 5 billion are not Christians. Has you god condemned them all to hell? Is that your loving god?

  • jim.meriden@gmail.com

    Thomas Aquinus said that he believed there is a hell, but that it is empty.

  • Gray Lady

    It must give you lots of comfort to believe only you are right. Happily, the God I worship is Love. And scripture reminds us that Jesus died “once for all.” I don’t feel like a member of an exclusive club, I am blessed to be made in the image of God — as are all people.

  • JRP

    The program is entitled:‘The Story of God’ shares Morgan Freeman’s questions of faith.” I expect the story will be more about Morgan’s questions and the messy journey of trying to find God than about who God really is, which is best discussed after one actually finds Him. People should not expect any validation of what they believe, it’s Morgan’s questions and perhaps his answers.

  • Fran

    Yes, Jesus did die, but his Father, the only true God, did not, having no start and no end (Psalm 90:2).

  • Who does Morgan Freeman think he is? Oprah?

  • Journeyman

    Where in scriptures did It say that Jesus died for all? Does it say all, or only those who believe in Him?

  • Fran

    Journeyman,

    John 3:16 says that God loved the world (of mankind) so much that he
    gave his only-begotten son, Jesus, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. That sacrifice was made on behalf of all mankind, who are imperfect. God, his son, Jesus, and the angels in heaven are perfect; we definitely aren’t (Romans 5:12).

    It would take the sacrifice of a “perfect” human life, of which only Jesus was qualified, since he lived and then died without sin, to put an eventual end to human sin and resulting old age and death, which will soon take place through God and his kingdom or heavenly government Daniel 2:44; Revelation 21:3,4).

  • Fran

    The human family can then look forward to perfection and unending life, which was God’s purpose and plan for humans to begin with.

  • Journeyman

    From all of your comments, can we now say that the atonement made by Christ’s sacrifice is for everyone in the world including those who do not believe? “For God so love the WORLD” as you all have said, would mean that it is for everyone, right, regardless of whether they believe in Him or not?

  • Daisy Cuevas

    Amen! Jesus is not one among gods, He is the only true God!

  • tammy

    No, Journeyman, that is not accurate. Yes, He died for everyone in the world, but Romans 10:9 says,If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. The point is that you must BELIEVE this to be true in your heart.

  • OO

    I and many other christians believe in something called Universal Reconciliation which is the belief that while there may be a punishment for people who lived evil lives there is ultimately reconciliation
    Lamentations 3:31-33 (NIV), “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love”

  • Pingback: ‘The Story of God’ Tonight 9:PM shares Morgan Freeman’s questions of faith – Courtesy Universal One Church Newsfeed – Universal One Church – Universal Church()

  • ILoveJesus

    “All” have the opportunity to “believe” thus be saved by faith that Jesus rose from the dead and His blood covered our sin…….thank you Jesus!

  • David VanderWel Sr.

    GOD is one being ALL religons worship ONE higher being. NO religion is higher than the other. How can one religion say their religion is right and all others are wrong?

  • This program was about as expected from a Rupert Murdoch channel. There was no trouble taken to portray truth, even where it would hurt no feelings. There was no deep questioning, only Freeman’s oohing and awing over what others said. Nothing was covered with even an attempt at depth, and it was a showcase of Freeman, as much as religion. I will hope for more in future episodes, but will not count on it.

  • Pingback: What media coverage tells us about the (lack of) faith of 'Story of God' host Morgan Freeman - HOLLYWOOD NEWS UPDATEHOLLYWOOD NEWS UPDATE()

  • ATP

    David Vanderwel-Read Jesus among other gods by Ravi Zacharias.

  • Fran

    Jesus acknowledged, in prayer, that his Father is the only true God (John 17:3), and God acknowledged that Jesus was his son (Matthew 3:17) at his baptism. We should take both of their words as the final say.

  • Pingback: Watch Morgan Freeman's 'The Story of God' Trailer()

  • Pingback: Watch Morgan Freeman’s ‘The Story of God’ Trailer -IKTHUS.NET()

  • this all is by chance??

    no man, the holy quran. for the rest is all the other religions satanic. astaghfirullah.