Actor Morgan Freeman says he's come to a final conclusion about religion following his worldwide journey to experience the diversity of faiths for National Geographic's docu-series "The Story of God."
"What we came away with at the end of the series is the fact that all religions and beliefs share remarkable similarities, these commonalities. There they are, so we should celebrate them rather than let them cause rifts between us," Freeman told Entertainment Weekly in an article on Sunday.
Lori McCreary, executive producer of "The Story of God," said he was enlightened about some beliefs that he did not know about.
"I was quite frankly enlightened about some Christian beliefs that I wasn't clear about and some places on the planet where they worship in interesting ways. I'm hoping that it leads to more conversation between people of either the same faith or different faiths [and reveals] something that we have in common we might not have known about before," McCreary said.
The-six part series, which concluded on Sunday with an exploration of miracles, saw Freeman travel to 20 cities in seven different countries as he sought answers to some of the deepest questions people have about the world's religions, from the belief in God to what happens after death.
The program showcased the major religions of the world, including notable Christian locations, such as Vatican City, the base of the Roman Catholic Church, and Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest megachurch in the United States.
"We received a really enormous amount of support throughout the world, wherever we went. People were very forthcoming and seemed excited about the idea that we were doing it, from everywhere from the Vatican to Varanasi, India," Freeman reflected.
The actor noted that some religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church, are leading the way in bridging science and religion, with the Vatican's academy of science established nearly 400 years ago, studying cosmology, astronomy, and related topics.
"The big bang. And they have very credible answers for all of these phenomenons that are scientific. For instance, the big bang is the scientific explanation for Creation. The church asks, 'Okay, so what was before the big bang?' There's no answer for that but God," Freeman reflected on the thoughts of the Catholic Church.
Freeman said that the experience did not change his own views on God, but said he was enlightened about how cultures around the world practice their beliefs.
McCreary added that, as a Christian, people have sometimes asked him how he reconciles his faith with science.
"I think, somehow, through this exploration, it really helped me reconcile those two sides of who I am — which is that you don't have to believe in the big bang and not Creation," the producer said.
"You don't have to believe in evolution or only be a Creationist. You can actually be someone who believes all of this. They don't contradict each other. That was a really great thing to confirm for me."