Prophets, spiritual enlightenment and the afterlife - they are mysteries as old as time. National Geographic and Revelations Entertainment seek clarity on some of humanity's biggest questions in season two of the Emmy-nominated hit series "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman," premiering on Monday, Jan. 16, at 9/8c. As host of the network's most-watched series of all time, Freeman will again take viewers around the world on a quest for interfaith understanding and connectivity through the lens of the world's major religions, science, anthropology and archaeology. The series will also air globally later this spring on National Geographic channels in 171 countries and in 45 languages, and in Spanish on Nat Geo MUNDO.
"One of the things we love most about doing this series is finding the interconnected threads all humans share across different cultures, faiths and ideologies when it comes to seeking understanding of life's great mysteries," said Freeman. "I hope this series continues to not just entertain and inform, but also to open dialogue that will allow us to understand our neighbors both here in the U.S. and around the world."
Each of the three episodes in the new season will explore a different major theme: "The Chosen One?" "Proof of God" and "Heaven and Hell." In each episode Freeman meets with individuals, faith leaders, scientists and archaeologists to help him understand these big topics, including the following:
· A 9-year-old boy in Minnesota who Tibetan monks believe is the reincarnation of a lama, a Buddhist spiritual teacher
· Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the keeper of the sacred pipe of the Nakota, Lakota and Dakota tribes
· Kenneth Bae, the American Christian missionary held captive for two years in North Korea
· A woman whose heart stopped for more than eight minutes, who describes in great detail the feeling of heaven she had in that time
· Theoretical physicist Ard Louis, who believes that you can find God in scientific knowledge. The deeper he goes into his studies, the more he sees signs of the divine.
· A visit to a New Mexico church where followers worship by speaking in tongues
· An archaeological excursion to the Dunbar caves in Tennessee to see recently discovered depictions of heaven and hell from ancient ancestors of the Cherokee
The series also visits some of the world's most sacred places, including Angkor Wat in Cambodia, constructed in the 12th century as a model of Hindu heaven; Devil's Tower in Wyoming, which the Lakota tribe believe to be one of the power points of their worship; the underwater caves, or "cenotes," of the Maya in Mexico, which they believed were the entryways to heaven and hell; rare access inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the holiest shrine of the Sikh faith; and the Meskel celebration in Ethiopia that commemorates the discovery of the true cross by Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine.
Viewers who wish to catch up on the critically acclaimed series can do so beginning Jan. 10 with the release of season one on DVD. Bonus features on the discs will include two web series created to support the show online and Q&As with Freeman and other series talent.
Season two episodes are the following:
-- "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: The Chosen One" - Premieres Monday, Jan. 16, at 9/8c Almost every faith has a figure its followers think was chosen by God. Muslims have Muhammad. Christians have Jesus. Jews have Abraham and Moses. Why do we rally around these chosen ones and how do they guide our faith? Morgan Freeman goes in search of the chosen people walking the earth today, including an American boy from the suburbs who is believed to be the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama who has been returning in different bodies for almost five hundred years.
-- "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Heaven and Hell" - Premieres Monday, Jan. 23, at 9/8c What are heaven and hell? Do they await us in the afterlife or are they here and now? People of all faiths and backgrounds have contemplated these conundrums for thousands of years. Morgan Freeman sets out to learn how these unseen places have changed the way we live, by descending into the ancient Native American underworld, investigating the phenomena of exorcisms and the gift of tongues, and meeting a woman who believes she has seen heaven.
-- "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Proof of God" -- Premieres Monday, Jan. 30, at 9/8c Have we cut God out of our modern lives or are there still special moments when the divine breaks through and makes its presence known? Morgan Freeman meets a man who felt God's presence on Sept. 11, learns how Muslims hear God's voice in the Quran, comes across a tribe whose members believe they can channel the healing power of the divine and encounters a physicist who has faith that science will lead him to God.
"The Story of God with Morgan Freeman" is produced by Revelations Entertainment for National Geographic. For Revelations Entertainment, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger are executive producers. For National Geographic, Michael J. Miller is executive producer; Kevin Tao Mohs is vice president, production and development; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.