In the May 1st episode of The Story of God, brought to us by Morgan Freeman and the National Geographic Channel, Mr. Freeman will explore the different concepts of evil in the episode entitled 'Understanding Evil.' Here's a sneak peek into what viewers may learn on Sunday.
Freeman visits a maximum security system, this time, to explore what may have caused a man to become a psychopathic criminal who murdered 3 and raped over 20 women. Neuroscientist Kent Kiehl tells about his studies of the brain functions in psychopaths, and reveals that the brain of this man who has no impulse control is very different from most people- even those who are prisoners. Here is a snippet of that scene:
A trip to Luxor, Egypt will reveal the oldest depictions of the struggle to choose to do good or evil. In the Tombs of the Nobles, he views artwork that is around 3,500 years old. There is a scene where the dead noble is being judged on his good and evil works. In the picture, we can see that his heart is in balance.
Freeman suggests the idea of the eternal reward based on turning one's back on evil spread through Egyptian society, and could be the basis for the theology of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He wonders, "Are we inherently good, or inherently evil," when pondering the idea of the fear of consequences being the only thing that keeps people on a righteous path.
He discusses the Christian concept of "original sin" with a Baptist reverend and theologian, who suggests that original sin is a primal desire that we all have. Freeman expression looks to be somewhat incredulous when the pastor explains the psychopathic criminal's tendencies away as a demonic possession.
We find Morgan Freeman in India, again to learn from this Hindus. This time, he learns about their beliefs on the source of evil, which they explain to be the unhappy souls of their ancestors. Hindus visit the temple to be exorcised of their ancestors' troubled spirits, which can be the source of physical and mental illness, as well as financial troubles. Rituals are performed, including an offering of a meal and even physical items, like shoes, that their ancestors may need for their journey.
Hinduism is explained to have "no dichotomy between good and evil," with evil being treated respectfully and with care, with the hope that the evil can be purified. Evil is thought of as a spirit that needs help or needs to find peace. Freeman thinks that is "cool."
The religions of Zoroastrianism and Buddhism are also explored, as well as a study in New Zealand where a bunch of kids are studied to see if they will do the right thing, following rules of a game, testing a theory that people need a supernatural being to keep them on the right track, as he tells a group of kids that they are being watched by an invisible magic princess.
This episode, 'Why Does Evil Exist,' will show on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday, May 1st at its usual 9/8 central time. Be sure to tune in, and leave your thoughts about this episode in the comments!