By Marc Davis, LST Theology Student.
National Geographic Channel has embarked on a six-part mini-series exploring the meaning of God and life from various world religions aptly titled ‘The Story of God’. St. James Church had the opportunity to premier the first episode of the series several weeks before airing on television. In the first episode actor-turned-host Morgan Freeman travels around the world speaking with different scholars and religious leaders to figure out how each religion views the apocalypse.
The first episode tackled various interpretations of the apocalypse in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and even a ancient Mayan perspective. From watching the the first episode, it is evident that the way each religion’s stance is portrayed is quite balanced and fair. This could be credited in most part because the show goes to the sources first-hand, interviewing people who have a distinguished personal investment in the religious history or practice of the religion in question. Credit should also be given to Morgan Freeman who does an excellent job at asking intriguing questions and displaying genuine personal interest in the answer. Even if the apocalypse isn’t a subject of particular interest I would watch if only to see the incredible locations that Freeman visits including Jerusalem, Vatican Square and ancient Mayan ruins. I’d like to give a special mention to the dramatic music score that is used to great effect – I found myself biting my nails in anticipation of learning what the numbers 666 meant. Spoiler alert! It’s not Satan.
After the show ended, a Q&A was opened to the producer of the show and various Christian leaders in London, including LST’s own Krish Kandiah. I found their insight useful in speaking about how people should engage with different religious viewpoints in a way that finds common ground, as well as respectfully pointing out the differences. It was agreed that though we might not have all the answers, we can certainly take action to be pointed towards them.
Overall I found the episode to be extremely intriguing. This is quite a feat considering that I had never had a particular interest in apocalyptic theories in the past, perhaps because the subject of the apocalypse has become so exhausted and embellished in the past fews years due to Hollywood demand for such stories. In any case ‘The Story of God’ is a refreshing take on the subject, presenting the viewers with with answers right from the mouth of people with a vested interest in the religion. I will certainly be tuning in for the next five episodes, you should too!
The Story of God premiers Sunday 3rd April. The trailer for the show may be found here.