Acorn Media // 2006 // 394 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // November 9th, 2010
In a world where religion poisons some lives but gives profound purpose to others, how do we learn to live together?
Along with sex and money, religion is one of those taboo topics you certainly avoid at dinner parties, so it's interesting and fitting that internationally-recognizable, Emmy award-winning journalist Bill Moyers tackled the topic head on. Aired first as a miniseries on PBS in 2006, Bill Moyers: On Faith & Reason addresses what is undoubtedly one of the most controversial issues in world history: what role does religion play in our society and how can people with different beliefs learn to co-exist in peace?
Through the series, Moyers spent time with some of the most recognizable writers and thinkers, gaining an understanding of each of their unique perspectives on faith, and how their perspectives shape their lives, worldview and work. The series consists of seven episodes, spread over three discs as follows:
* Salman Rushdie
* Mary Gordon and Colin McGinn
* Jeanette Winterson and Will Power
* Anne Prevost and David Grossman
* Richard Rodriguez and Sir John Houghton
* Margaret Atwood and Martin Amis
* Pema Chödrön
According to some of the supplemental material included with the set, Moyers drew his inspiration for Faith & Reason from "World Voices," an annual conference he attended that was organized by PEN. (PEN stands for poets, playwrights, essayists, editors and novelists.) With that source as his inspiration, it's no surprise that he has engaged writers and thinkers to explore this controversial but important topic.
What I found particularly compelling was that, regardless of their individual beliefs, none of Moyers' guests berated others, or blamed them for the world's problems. That said, and I'm speaking as a Christian, I would be the first to say that humanity's twisting and perversion of religious beliefs is responsible for many of the atrocities that exist today and have for centuries. Faith & Reason remains respectfully objective throughout, never forcing or promoting one particular religious view or philosophy over another. If you're looking for confirmation that your personal belief system is correct and all others are wrong and heretical, you won't find that here. But whether viewers are firmly grounded in a particular faith, remain separate from any one religion, or they find themselves questioning their beliefs or searching for meaning, this series provides much food for thought.
While the audio mix is anchored in the front of the room and the full frame video presentation may disappoint some, the content is what matters most here. On Faith & Reason also includes a viewer's guide that provides a brief summary on each of the interviewees and additional information about PEN, the definition of fundamentalism, and information about the world's religions and religious affiliations.
Through On Faith & Reason, Bill Moyers has done what he always does so well: given us pause to think about our own beliefs in the context of a larger world, and challenged us to become more accepting of others, even when their views may differ.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 394 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Viewer's Guide
* Official Site