Religion is part of human history, our society today, and the processes of deep social change–right, left, and center. As such, it is an important topic to be understood by any political left seeking changes in consciousness. Here we are not so much concerned with ‘truth’ or ‘falsehood’ regarding religion and faith as we are with the role it plays in people’s lives and the uses to which it is put by all classes.

The Bible Unearthed

This far-ranging exploration of biblical history, in 3.5 hours of video covering 7000 years of history, makes use of archival footage of previous archaeological excavations, maps, biblical illustrations and computer animation, revealing ancient architecture, cuneiform tablets and other rare artifacts. Based on the best-selling book of the same name, this enthralling documentary features interviews with archaeological specialists and biblical scholars from all over the world, including experts from the Louvre, the Museum of Cairo, the Museum of Jerusalem, and the British Museum. The Bible Unearthed does something which has never been done before: it reveals a still-unraveling revolution of what we know of the society, the history, and the men who wrote the Bible. Access Here

Weber, the Protestant Ethic and Capitalism

In his first major work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber argues that the Protestant faith, especially Luther’s notion of “calling” and the Calvinist belief in predestination, set the stage for the emergence of the capitalist spirit. With his more complex understanding of the causes of capitalism, Weber accounts for the motivations of capitalists and the spirit of capitalism and rationalization in ways that Marx does not. 50-minute lecture by Yale’s Iván Szelényi. Access here

The Protestant Revolution

Historian Tristram Hunt examines how Protestantism affected people’s lives in The Protestant Revolution. This is a story of a revolution that has affected every person in the West and nearly every country in the world. It is a revolution that influences the very fabric of existence – from what we do for a living, to who we vote for, who we go to war with, and how we see ourselves as individuals and as nations. Four one-hour videos. Access here

Islam: Empire of Faith

15 PBS Videos, about 15 minutes each. Islam, followed by more than a billion people worldwide, is the world’s fastest-growing religion and will soon be the world’s largest. Islam: Empire of Faith explores the first millennium of Islamic cultures, from the revelation of Prophet Muhammad ( P.B.U.H ) to the greatest Islamic empires. The accessible overview shatters stereotypes and enlightens readers – both Muslim and non-Muslim alike to the many of contemporary Muslim civilization. Access Here

Through the Wormhole: 

A Journey Through the Science of God

Hosted by Morgan Freeman, Through the Wormhole will explore the deepest mysteries of existence – the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity. What are we made of? What was there before the beginning? Are we really alone? Is there a creator? These questions have been pondered by the most exquisite minds of the human race. Now, science has evolved to the point where hard facts and evidence may be able to provide us with answers instead of philosophical theories. Through the Wormhole will bring together the brightest minds and best ideas from the very edges of science – Astrophysics, Astrobiology, Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, and more – to reveal the extraordinary truth of our Universe. Access Here

Religion Without A God: Life of the Buddha

This documentary covers the life of Siddhartha Gautama, a young prince from India who went out to find the reason for “Dukkha” [problems] of human life. He later found the reason of Dukkha and taught him a way to live life. He was later known as the Buddha, the founder of “Buddhism.” To sign up for a Harvard course, ‘Buddhism Though Its Scriptures,’ go HERE. For the video, pick the other button. Access Here

Liberation Theology in the 21st Century This 1:45-hour talk featuring Ivan Petrella presents liberation theology’s key ideas and relates them to debates in history, education, economic development, and the environment. Liberation theology, therefore, is taken beyond theology and applied to other disciplines that decide the fate of people–who are given a chance to develop a life project and are allowed to fall by the wayside. Petrella is an Argentine social theorist and liberation theologian who is the co-executive editor of the “Reclaiming Liberation Theology” book series with SCM Press. He holds a doctorate in Religion and Law from Harvard, taught at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, and is the co-founder of the Argentine and current Academic Director of the think tank “Pensar.” ACCESS HERE

A History of God

A 90-minute documentary on how ideas of gods and the deity have changed through time. It features some of the work of theologian Karen Armstrong, one of Britain’s foremost commentators on religious affairs. The film traces how men and women have perceived and experienced God from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong makes a good effort to distill the intellectual history of monotheism.

Access Here

ZEN IN AMERICA. Zen in America is a multi-part documentary series on Zen Buddhism in North America. Still in production, the series on Zen, both a nontheistic religion and an approach to life, will introduce viewers to Zen’s history in North America through first-hand accounts and experiences. Dozens of its components are available already. Access Here

The Gospel According to St. Matthew Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian Communist filmmaker, in deciding to make this two-hour film, read all four Gospels straight through, and he claimed that adapting a film from one of them “threw in the shade all the other ideas for work I had in my head.” Unlike previous depictions, Pasolini’s film does not embellish the biblical account with any literary or dramatic inventions nor present an amalgam of the four Gospels. Pasolini stated that he decided to “remake the Gospel by analogy,” and the film’s sparse dialogue comes directly from the Bible.

Given Pasolini’s well-known reputation as an atheist, a homosexual, and a Marxist, the reverential nature of his film was surprising. At a press conference in 1966, Pasolini was asked why he, an unbeliever, had made a film that dealt with religious themes; his response was, “If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.” The film begins with an announcement that it is “dedicato alla cara, lieta, familiare memoria di Giovanni XXIII” (“dedicated to the dear, joyous, familiar memory of Pope John XXIII”).