Watch Religions of the World

Narrated by Academy Award-winner Ben Kingsley, this series objectively documents religions worldwide with interviews from experts. Travel to exotic locations around the world and see how such religions as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Protestantism and Catholicism have shaped cultures, changed history and left their mark on humanity.

Multicom Entertainment Group
1 Season, 13 Episodes
September 7, 2004
Documentary
5.3/10
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Rina Sircar, Lewis Lancaster, Jakusho Kwong-roshi
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Religions of the World Full Episode Guide

  • Examine the role of philosophy and science in the universal quest to understand the "cosmic order" or purpose to life, and survey major Western thinkers, beginning with the Greek philosophers, Socrates and Plato. Discover how their ideas and questions about morality became the roots of skepticism and religious relativism, and later led to scientific work by Aristotle and Copernicus.

  • Through archival footage, artifacts and interviews, viewers will gain a broad understanding of Native American spirituality featuring Aztec and Maya religions as well as that of Eskimos and Iroquois. Discover traditions with an ancient history that dates as far back as 9,000 B.C.E. and the way changing cultural circumstances have altered the religious lives of these people.

  • Learn about the cultural diversity of Africa through its many religions -- traditional and neo-traditional African, Christianity and Islam. See how shared elements of various customs serve as unifying threads across tribes, centuries and even continents. Observe the strong traces of African religious spirituality that exist today in cultures, which have survived slavery.

  • As the world's largest sea, the Mediterranean has nourished various civilizations for centuries. Trace the spiritual history of the Mediterranean Basin, examining the ancient cultures that have greatly influenced the religions of the modern world. From Mesopotamia and Egypt to the empires of Greece and Rome, discover the mythologies, gods and rituals that played an important role.

  • Examine the religious rituals and myths of the many small groups of indigenous people living around the world. From the Ainu of northern Japan to the Indians of North America, discover common beliefs and practices that bind these societies on a spiritual level. Learn how these small societies have maintained their cultural identities while fighting off the encroachment of Western ideology.

  • While the major religions of the Western world affirm a belief in a single God, Confucianism and Taoism focus inward on human behavior and thought. Learn how the philosophy and doctrine of Confucius has impacted Chinese culture. Enter the world once shrouded in secrecy as the rituals of Taoism are explained.

  • Explore the rituals and ceremonies of Japan's Shinto through interviews, archival and on-location footage. Shinto or "the way of the Kami" which loosely translated, means "god" or "the sacred" is rooted in mythology and folk rituals that are passed through the generations, yet unique in having no congressional worship, founder, or organizing doctrine.

  • Discover the history behind the philosophy that has led millions of followers on a quest for spiritual enlightenment. Through the epic story of Siddhartha Gotama, learn why Buddhists believe the key to "Nirvana" lies within themselves, accessible through thoughtful meditation and prayer.

  • Learn how and why Hinduism has survived to be one of the oldest and largest world religions with nearly one billion followers located mostly in India. Hinduism encompasses wide practices and traditions largely due to its great capacity to integrate the new with the old.

  • Political, religious and social events of 16th-century Europe changed the course of history. These factors sparked the birth of Protestant Christianity, whose new doctrines were formulated in reaction to the Roman Catholic Church. Viewers will explore the many denominations that developed over the centuries, including Baptists, Calvinists, Mennonites, Presbyterians, Puritans and Quakers.

  • From the public ministry of Jesus to the legendary battles of the Crusades, examine the interwoven histories of these two distinct branches of Christianity. Although its followers were long persecuted by the Roman Empire, Christianity spread throughout the Mediterranean region and eventually became the favored religion of the Empire, following the ascension of Constantine to the Roman throne

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