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Religion & Spirituality

A War On Science

When Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution nearly 150 years ago, he shattered the dominant belief of his day – that humans were the product of divine creation. Through his observations of nature, Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection. This caused uproar. After all, if the story of creation could be doubted, so too could the existence of the creator. Ever since its proposal, this cornerstone of biology has sustained wave after wave of attack. Now some scientists fear it is facing the most formidable challenge yet: a controversial new theory called intelligent design.

In the late 1980s Phillip Johnson, a renowned lawyer and born-again Christian, began to develop a strategy to challenge Darwin. To Johnson, the evidence for natural selection was poor. He also believed that by explaining the world only through material processes was inherently atheistic. If there was a god, science would never be able to discover it.



DMT - The Spirit Molecule

THE SPIRIT MOLECULE weaves an account of Dr. Rick Strassman's groundbreaking DMT research through a multifaceted approach to this intriguing hallucinogen found in the human brain and hundreds of plants, including the sacred Amazonian brew, ayahuasca. Utilizing interviews with a variety of experts to explain their thoughts and experiences with DMT, and ayahuasca, within their respective fields, and discussions with Strassman’s research volunteers, brings to life the awesome effects of this compound, and introduces us to far-reaching theories regarding its role in human consciousness.

Several themes explored include possible roles for endogenous DMT, its theoretical role in near-death and birth experiences, alien-abduction experiences, and spiritual states, both within Eastern concepts of enlightenment and Western ideas regarding prophecy, and the uncanny similarities in Biblical prophetic texts describing DMT-like experiences. Our expert contributors offer a comprehensive collection of information, opinions, and speculation about indigenous use of DMT, the history and future of psychedelics within the research community, and within the larger social matrix, and current DMT research. All this, to help us understand the nature of the DMT experience, and its role in human culture and evolution.

The subtle stimulating combination of science, spirituality, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy within the film’s approach sheds light on an array of ideas that could considerably alter the way humans understand the universe and their relationship to it.



Debate - Hitchens, Harris, Dennett vs Boteach, D'Souza, Taleb.



Deborah 13: Servant of God

Unlike other British teens, 13-year-old Deborah Drapper has never heard of Britney Spears or Victoria Beckham. She has been brought up in a deeply Christian family and her parents have tried to make sure she and her ten brothers and sisters have grown up protected from the sins of the outside world. Deborah is a bright, confident girl who has big ambitions for her life and the film spends a summer with her as she ventures out in the world to see what life outside her family could be and starts putting her beliefs forward to a wider audience.



Does God Exist?

More than 10,000 watched as the acclaimed theist William Lane Craig, research professor of philosophy at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology, and atheist and journalist Christopher Hitchens debated the question of God’s existence in an unprecedented event Saturday evening, April 4, 2009. The question of the night’s debate, hosted by Biola University’s Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics and Associated Students, Does God exist? attracted a diverse audience of Christians, non-Christians and atheists alike.

Craig gave his opening arguments first in which he presented five arguments for the existence of God. Craig remained focused on the issue at hand — the existence of God, rather than making a case for religion as a whole or whether or not religion is good. Hitchens argued that there is not a God or intelligent designer, however, humans evolved over time. He emphasized that a claim as large as that would need substantial evidence, stating that there is no plausible reason there is a God.

Craig used cosmological argument, teleological argument, moral argument and the resurrection of Jesus and the immediate experience of God as his main arguments. Craig noted in his closing argument that Hitchens failed to engage any of these arguments throughout the debate. Hitchens resolved back to the argument that morality is not dependant upon God throughout most of the night and that he saw a lack of evidence for a supernatural realm. At the end of the evening, he stated that unbelief will insure you against evil.

Hitchens, a devoted atheist and author of the bestselling God is Not Great, is among the best known critics and controversial writers in today’s media. Debating frequently, he represents those hostile to religion in general, and Christianity in particular. Craig, one of the leading contemporary philosophers and Christian apologists in the world, is one of the most formidable debaters in the Christian world. Craig, an eminent scholar and debater, advocates for the Christian side on a wide range of topics.



Does Good Come From God?



God, The Universe and Everything Else

In a studio setting, Stephen Hawking, Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan (who joins them via satellite) discuss the Big Bang theory, God, our existence as well as the possibility of extraterrestrial life.



Jesus was a Buddhist Monk

This BBC 4 documentary examines the question "Did Jesus Die?". It looks at a bunch of ideas around this question until minute 25, where this examination of ideas takes a very logical and grounded turn with surprising conclusions.

The three wise men were Buddhist monks who found Jesus and came back for him around puberty. After being trained in a Buddhist Monastery he spread the Buddhist philosophy, survived the crucifixion, and escaped to Kashmir, Afghanistan where he died an old man at the age of 80.



Jesus: The Lost 40 Days

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ spent 40 days on Earth after his Resurrection on that first Easter Sunday before ascending to Heaven. Astonishingly, the New Testament is practically silent on what happened during this period. Why are only a few scattered paragraphs devoted to perhaps the central, most defining and miraculous event in Christianity? And most importantly, what did Jesus do and say during those incredible 40 days?



Judgment Day - Intelligent Design on Trial

In this two-hour special, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District.

In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design–the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state.

NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Is intelligent design a scientifically valid alternative?" Kitzmiller v. Dover was the first legal test of intelligent design as a scientific theory, with the plaintiffs arguing that it is a thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature.



Miracles for Sale

With the cameras in hot pursuit, Derren faces his toughest project yet, going in search of an unsuspecting member of the British public prepared to adopt the guise of a pastor and miracle worker.

His chosen one then has six months to learn the trade and flourish across the pond as a convincing pastor.

The final phase of the volunteer's extraordinary challenge sees them attempt to perform faith healing miracles live in Texas, but will Derren's new recruit be accepted as a faith healer or cast away as fake healer?



Noughts and Crosses

With the domination of Christianity from 500 AD, Jonathan Miller wonders how disbelief began to re-emerge in the 15th and 16th centuries. He discovers that division within the Church played a more powerful role than the scientific discoveries of the period. He also visits Paris, the home of the 18th century atheist, Baron D'Holbach, and shows how politically dangerous it was to undermine the religious faith of the masses.



Oh My God

"What is God?" is the question that drives Oh My God?, a glib, simplistic documentary from first-time director Peter Rodger. To his credit, Rodger displays no qualms about tackling a subject that has perplexed the world's greatest thinkers. Regrettably, his film adds nothing but glitz and noise to our understanding of religion.

Rodger concentrates on four faiths—Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism—offering observations about each and backing them up with illustrations. His approach is annoyingly scattershot, bouncing from one continent to another while pretending to find connections between, say, a rodeo in Texas and a druid ritual in England. Interview subjects range from schoolchildren to taxi drivers, with the occasional musician and B-list celebrity thrown in for ballast. The end result is a kind of whirlwind course in comparative religion, with theology reduced to soundbites, pretty pictures and limp metaphors.

Capturing imagery and recording interviews do not add up to a documentary, no matter how much you swaddle them in World Beat music and fancy editing. What's missing from Oh My God? is any sense of narrative structure, of logical debate, of intellectual curiosity. Instead, Rodger inserts himself into the material, displaying astonishing condescension and attitudes that are borderline-racist. He plays cartoon music over a sequence of a Muslim searching for a passage in the Koran, ridicules a born-again Christian for owning a gun shop, and refers to the Maasai as "colorful" people who "cut fashion figures."

What will viewers learn from Oh My God? God means different things to different people. The concept of God has been used for both good and evil purposes. Religion has caused many wars. But the most prominent fact to emerge from the documentary: Rodger has a broad list of contacts and enough free time to travel the world to film them.

Picking apart the reasoning in Oh My God? doesn't require much effort, even if you are the type to take spiritual guidance from tour guides, singers and models. It's one thing to give voice to crackpots only for the opportunity to belittle them, or to bask in the glow of presences like Ringo Starr and Hugh Jackman. But when Rodger prowls the corridors of a children's cancer ward to question terminal patients about the afterlife, he crosses into disturbingly exploitive material. Poor judgment like this is the defining characteristic of Oh My God?.



Religulous

Bill Maher interviews some of religion's oddest adherents. Muslims, Jews and Christians of many kinds pass before his jaundiced eye. Maher goes to a Creationist Museum in Kentucky, which shows that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time 5000 years ago. He talks to truckers at a Truckers' Chapel. (Sign outside: "Jesus love you.") He goes to a theme park called Holy Land in Florida. He speaks to a rabbi in league with Holocaust deniers. He talks to a Muslim musician who preaches hatred of Jews. Maher finds the unlikeliest of believers and, in a certain Vatican priest, he even finds an unlikely skeptic.

With quotes from major figureheads like Thomas Jefferson, George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden, Bill Maher, with a Jewish-Catholic background, sets out to prove that having faith and seeking directions from God is basically ridiculous and may be due to a neurotic disorder. Interviewing Christians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, scientists, gays, and atheists, he cites that the number of non-believers is increasing in North America. He attempts to prove his point by citing inconsistencies in the Bible, the controversial birth of Lord Jesus, the inability of religious heads to account for His absence for over 18 years, as well as the absence of any concrete evidence that disproves the theory of evolution.



Resolved: The Evolutionists Should Acknowledge Creation

William Buckley hosted a creation/evolution debate on the PBS show Firing Line 19 December 1997. The cast of debaters was impressive with four respected names representing each side. The debate was organized into a series of mini-debates, some one-on-one between two individuals, and some involving the whole group.



Scientology and Me

Reporter John Sweeney visited the United States to investigate whether the Church of Scientology was becoming more mainstream. The programme gained particular controversy before and during filming due to unresolved differences on content and approach between Sweeney's production team and Scientology members, who did not want detractors or perceived enemies of the church to be interviewed or included in the documentary.

The documentary itself was intended to be a documentary investigating the claims of both critics of the Church of Scientology and the Church itself to see if the Church "still deserved its sinister reputation". In the introduction Sweeney outlines his documentary investigation into the reputation of the Church of Scientology, its affiliated celebrities and current activities, and begins with an edited version of a statement issued in the 1994 Los Angeles Superior Court case "Church of Scientology of California vs Gerald Armstrong", in which Judge John Breckenridge describes the Church of Scientology as "Schizophrenic, bizarre, ... paranoid ... an organization that harasses its enemies ... and abuses the trust of its members". Sweeney also notes at this part of the documentary that the decision has been derided by the Church of Scientology since the court date by their claim that the decision was made based upon circumstantial and discredited evidence.



Shadows of Doubt

Jonathan Miller visits the absent Twin Towers to consider the religious implications of 9/11 and meets Arthur Miller and the philosopher Colin McGinn. He searches for evidence of the first 'unbelievers' in Ancient Greece and examines some of the modern theories around why people have always tended to believe in mythology and magic.



Something From Nothing: Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins

Join critically-acclaimed author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and world-renowned theoretical physicist and author Lawrence Krauss as they discuss biology, cosmology, religion, and a host of other topics.

The authors will also discuss their new books. Dawkins recently published The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, an exploration of the magic of discovery embodied in the practice of science. Written for all age groups, the book moves forward from historical examples of supernatural explanations of natural phenomena to focus on the actual science behind how the world works.

Krauss's latest book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing, explains the scientific advances that provide insight into how the universe formed. Krauss tackles the age-old assumption that something cannot arise from nothing by arguing that not only can something arise from nothing, but something will always arise from nothing.



The Final Hour

The history of disbelief continues with the ideas of self-taught philosopher Thomas Paine, the revolutionary studies of geology and the evolutionary theories of Darwin. Jonathan Miller looks at the Freudian view that religion is a 'thought disorder'. He also examines his motivation behind making the series touching on the issues of death and the religious fanaticism of the 21st century.



The God Debate II: Is Good From God?

The second annual God Debate features atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris and Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig as they debate the topic "Is Good from God?"



The Language of Science

 

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries.
 
Its legacy is tangible, with terms like algebra, algorithm and alkali all being Arabic in origin and at the very heart of modern science - there would be no modern mathematics or physics without algebra, no computers without algorithms and no chemistry without alkalis.
 
For Baghdad-born Al-Khalili this is also a personal journey and on his travels he uncovers a diverse and outward-looking culture, fascinated by learning and obsessed with science. From the great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, who did much to establish the mathematical tradition we now know as algebra, to Ibn Sina, a pioneer of early medicine whose Canon of Medicine was still in use as recently as the 19th century, he pieces together a remarkable story of the often-overlooked achievements of the early medieval Islamic scientists.



The Secrets of Scientology

In 2007, while investigating the Church of Scientology for Panorama, reporter John Sweeney had a dramatic on-camera confrontation with a church spokesman named Tommy Davis. The church was accusing the reporter of bias and it attempted to stop the documentary from being broadcast - a campaign backed by Scientology A-lister John Travolta. Sweeney has returned to investigate the church again.



The Ultra Zionists

Louis Theroux spends time with a small and very committed subculture of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers. He discovers a group of people who consider it their religious and political obligation to populate some of the most sensitive and disputed areas of the West Bank, especially those with a spiritual significance dating back to the Bible.

Throughout his journey, Louis gets close to the people most involved with driving the extreme end of the Jewish settler movement - finding them warm, friendly, humorous, and deeply troubling.



What Best Explains Reality - Theism or Atheism?

Filmed at The College of New Jersey, Frank Turek and Christopher Hitchens meet again in their second debate to give their arguments for what best explains reality.