‘The Story of God with Morgan Freeman’ explores Satan, demonic possession, exorcism

Morgan Freeman looks back at the camera while standing outside of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C. | (Photo: National Geographic/Reza Riazi)

In the season 3 premiere of “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” the Academy-Award winning actor goes on a search for the devil in various religions and talks to a man and a priest who have first-hand experience with demonic possession.

“Religions around the globe have given many names to our darkest impulses,” Freeman said during the show open, so he and his team sought out to explore what religions “believe” about the evil, “what purpose does it serve and who is the devil.”

In the episode, the actor visited the desert outside of the ancient city of Jericho where it is said that Satan tempted Jesus in the desert. He later visited Rome.

“The Vatican has sanctioned disciples who see demons at work in every part of society,” Freeman said before speaking to two exorcists who “every day go into combat with the devil.”

The Nat Geo show revealed that Catholic priests consider exorcism to be “prayers for the soul of someone who is possessed.” During an exorcism, those present are the person battling demons, a medical doctor, psychiatrist and a respected exorcist.

According to the Vatican, the exorcist needs to be a trustworthy priest with an “intense spiritual life and courage.”

The priest Freeman sat down with said he was currently dealing with a 15-year-old boy who speaks 10 different archaic languages when possessed.  

The Catholic church would not allow Freeman to witness an exorcism so he met with a physicist, who remained anonymous, that was highly demon-possessed but was freed instead. The man first tried science and medicine but nothing worked so he thought to turn to the faith he was raised in.

After searching some scriptures online he prayed “I cast you out foul spirit” and that stopped him in his tracks, he fell to the floor and couldn't control his body.

He then sought an exorcist who “spoke to the demon” in him. He began to convulse violently, and scream.

Freeman asked how the man knew the process was successful. The physicist explained that the demon ceased to react to the prayers and his life returned to normal.

“Who is the devil? A god? A fallen angel? Or a natural urge lurking inside us all? Morgan Freeman’s quest to discover how humankind’s views of evil incarnate affect our world takes him from the Holy Land to Rome to a temple in Vietnam. In his travels, he learns that whether the devil is seen as an antagonist or a natural complement to the forces of good, there is a role for the dark side in almost every faith,” the premiere episode synopsis reads.

The full episode is now available to watch on National Geographic.

Season 3 of “Story of God with Morgan Freeman” features six episodes that “take viewers on an interfaith journey around the globe, traveling to 30 different cities of historical and anthropological importance, including Jerusalem, Kathmandu, Jericho, Rome, Bethlehem, Paris, Prague, Hanoi, Toronto and Lourdes.

"The series’ filmmakers met with 13 religious experts, eight priests, three druids, three shamans, one imam, one rabbi, one former executioner, one nun, two 'living goddesses' and hundreds of monks. The series interviews believers of many faiths including Christians, Jews, pagans, druids, Muslims, Hindus, Jains, animists, Buddhists and agnostics,” the show’s synopsis reads.

Visit National Geographic for more information on “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.”

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