Faith-based films have religion as their core subject matter. It may be any religion, and the film may be fictional or non-fiction, but at the center of the film is the idea of the worship of a higher power. Films in the Spirituality genre, on the other hand, can be more loosely defined as films that explore ideas that go beyond the physical world. Spiritual films can examine alternate philosophies, meditative practices or other spiritual topics. Christianity is by far the most well-represented religion in this genre, especially among American movies, although virtually every religion has received cinematic treatment at one time or another.
Religious dramas come in a couple of different flavors. Biblical stories are essential historical dramas that present a fictionalized account of events and characters from the Judeo-Christian Bible. Contemporary religious dramas may present modern-day situations and conflicts with an emphasis on the ways that religion fits into the story. These contemporary dramas generally include a moral lesson or an inspirational message, and they illustrate how religion can help to solve problems and resolve conflicts. Both of these types of films usually present religion in a positive light and are, more often than not, aimed at an audience of the faithful.
Documentaries that confront religious topics, however, are more likely to be critical of religious practices. Although many religious documentaries attempt to simply present religious topics in a factual or historical context, other documentaries concern themselves with the intersection of religion and contemporary or historical social issues; these kinds of documentaries are often unsympathetic to the religious point of view and are not targeted at believers.