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The Story of God with Morgan Freeman

By Rev. Clete Hux –  Most Christians have grown accustomed to seeing the media give questionable reports in documentary form of so-called historical accounts of the life of Jesus. Although, there has been a progression of such, this is nothing new. It has been going on for decades. Whether produced by Newsweek, USA Today, the History Channel, or National Geographic, there have been special holiday editions of their versions of the real story. These usually surfaced at Christmas and Easter when Christians celebrated both the birth/incarnation and the death/resurrection of Christ.

Now, there is a steady flow of media reports that have gone way beyond questioning the historical Biblical account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Today, it is commonplace for the new atheism movement to attack any idea that there is a God in whose image mankind derives identity. Instead, a Social Darwinian view of man and evolution is promoted replacing the need for an idea of a creator.

Whatever the determinations may be to limit talk of the personal God of the Bible and the exclusive claim of Christ to be the only salvific way to the only true God, these cannot quench the spiritual appetite. It is one thing to deny that God exists; it is another to explain the hunger and thirst for real meaning to life without appealing to some conception of God. People hope for something beyond this earth realm that will help them cope with life in the present.

With the aforementioned documentaries in mind, the National Geographic Channel is stepping in to  answer the basic questions of life: Who is God? Where did we come from? Why does evil happen? What happens when we die? “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” a 6-part series starting Sunday, April 3, is an attempt to answer these questions as the producers explore different religions and cultures around the world.[i]

However, do not expect the producers to affirm only one true personal God to whom all people are responsible and whom will only be approached salvifically through Jesus Christ. Mine is not a prophetic voice giving news before it happens, because the producers have already given us a ‘heads up’ before the series even starts. Lori McCreary and James Younger, executive producers with Morgan Freeman, have said, “There are no wrong answers when it comes to God or what you believe, and we hope The Story of God will help open an interfaith dialogue about ideas and values that we all share, not that we disagree on.”[ii]

A little logical ‘food for thought’ before proceeding to the producer’s 6-part series.  If there are no wrong answers when it comes to God or what you believe, then conversely, there are no right answers when it comes to God or what you believe. Also, if there are no right or wrong answers about the most important topic of all time, then how is it that any hope or help can be offered by having an open interfaith dialogue about ideas and values that we all share? Sorry for the rhetoric, but I find no truth value in such contradictory statements. At best, right or wrong answers about God can only be relative to what the individual wants them to be. Such is the nature of a narcissistic culture whose reference point for defining truth is itself. Therefore, it proceeds from a subjective position and unable to view things objectively.

Morgan Freeman, who has played God in the films “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty”, will be the face of the 6-part series on Creation, Who is God?, Evil, Miracles, End of Days, and Resurrection. These topics will be explored in hopes of understanding the mystery of the divine. Thus the title The Story of God. Freeman said that for him this is a personal and enduring quest to understand the divine and that he was humbled to take viewers along on this incredible journey.[iii]

In preparation for his quest, Freeman has immersed himself in religious experiences all around the world. He took meditation lessons from a Buddhist leader of the oldest line of reincarnating Lamas, conversed Galileo with the head of the Papal Academy of Sciences and explored instructions for the afterlife found in hieroglyphics inside Egyptian pyramids. He said that in some places he found answers, but others led to more questions.[iv]

It is yet to be seen if Freeman changes his mind from previously held ideas about God. The Wrap interviewed him a few years ago on his view of God. When asked did we invent God, he said Yes and went on to explain, “…Has anyone seen any hard evidence?…My belief system doesn’t support a creator as such, as we can call God, who created us in His/Her/Its image.” Also, when asked by Wrap if he considered himself an atheist, or agnostic, he replied, “It’s a hard question to answer… I think we invented God. So, if I believe in God, and I do, it’s because I think I’m God.”[v]

In another interview he was asked what he thought God looked like. His response seemed to parallel the earlier one. He said, “God looks like me.” He elaborated further by saying, “See, my God is a bit more terrestrial. I am God. So, it’s easy to play him. They say God is in all things. So, if God is in me, then I am in God. Therefore, I am God. God does not exist without me.”[vi]

There are a lot of implications from such a worldview. Obviously, the personal God of Biblical history is not the God Freeman has in mind. As he has stated, his God is only in his mind because he believes we invented God. It might as well be said that God is only what one thinks God to be. If that is the case then God could also be just a figment of imagination. Either way, God really does not exist, at least not independently from our imagination. It has been said that in the beginning God created man in his image and ever since the fall man has attempted to return the favor. This mindset is nothing new. It’s been around for a long time starting with Satan’s response to Eve when he said, “Thou shall surely not die, because God knows that in the day you eat thereof, you will be like God, knowing good from evil.”

 

Stay tuned for the next article as we follow The Story of God series!

[i]  Tambay A. Obenson, “Trailer: 6-Part Event Series ‘ The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” Shadow and Act,

20 January 2016. http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/trailer-6-part-event-series-the-story-of-god-with

-morgan-freeman-20160120/

[ii] Tambay A. Obenson, “Trailer: 6-Part Event Series ‘ The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” Shadow and Act,

20 January 2016. http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/trailer-6-part-event-series-the-story-of-god-with

-morgan-freeman-20160120/

[iii] Stoyan Zaimov, “Morgan Freeman to Visit Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Megachurch as Part of ‘The Story of God’ Nat Geo Project Exploring Religious Beliefs.” CP Entertainment, 20 January 2016. http://www.christianpost.com/news/morgan-freeman-to-visit-joel-osteens-lakewood-megachurch-as-part-of-the-story-of-god-nat-geo-project-exploring-religious-beliefs-140317/

[iv] Tambay A. Obenson, “Trailer: 6-Part Event Series ‘ The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” Shadow and Act,

20 January 2016. http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/trailer-6-part-event-series-the-story-of-god-with

-morgan-freeman-20160120/

[v] Tim Molloy, “Morgan Freeman on Inventing God, Aliens Eating Us and His Survival Odds in ‘Dark Knight Rises,”

The Wrap, 6 June 2012. http://www.thewrap.com/tv/article/morgan-freeman-inventing-god-aliens-eating-us-and-his-

odds-surviving-dark-knight-rises-42886/?page=0,1

[vi] Marlow Stern, “Morgan Freeman on God, Satan and How the Human Race Has Become A Parasite,”

The Daily Beast, 28 January 2014. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/28/morgan-freeman-on-god

-satan-and-how-the-human-race-has-become-a-parasite.html

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