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America the Rude [electronic resource]

As common courtesy becomes less common and good taste is all but a contradiction of terms, Americans continue to push the envelope of socially acceptable behavior. Does the Golden Rule still apply, or are people too busy to care about the feelings of others? This program probes the apparent erosion of decorum in the United States, which has had a profound impact on respect for authority, trust for one another, and willingness to give a helping hand. Experts include Professor Stephen Carter, of Yale University; psychologist Arnold Nerenberg, author of Overcoming Road Rage; and Pier Forni, of Johns Hopkins University's Civility Project.
2006; 1999

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire [electronic resource]

This program takes a penetrating look at what is happening to American culture as honesty comes to be measured less by truthfulness and more by the reasons for lying and the degree of deception involved. What is to become of a society in which professional ethicists are required to help companies recapture a culture of integrity, a role previously reserved for religion? Experts include Laura Nash, Director of the Institute for Values-Centered Leadership; L. Gregory Jones, Dean of the Duke Divinity School; and Professor Jeffrey Abramson, author of We the Jury.
2005; 1999

Death [electronic resource]: The Ultimate Enigma

What does it mean to die? Is death a form of transition to a higher plane, mere physical dissolution, or something else altogether? In this program, Robert J. Kastenbaum, Professor of Communication at Arizona State University; historian Michel Vovelle, of the Sorbonne; anthropologist Luce Des Aulniers; and clinical psychologist Marie-Frederique Bacque delve into the ways in which science and religion have attempted to come to terms with humankind's ultimate enigma. Viewed from a cultural point of view, topics under consideration include mortality, mourning, eternity, and life itself, which most people hope to prolong at any cost.
2007; 1998

Rights and Responsibilities [electronic resource]

In a society that is so economically, racially, and culturally diverse, how hard should people pursue individual and group rights? Does humanity's modern obsession with rights create a self-obsessed world preoccupied by victimhood? Archbishop Rowan Williams thinks so, and worries that rights groups become static whenever civil liberties are obtained. Filmed at Lambeth Palace, this multifaceted program examines the conflicting ideals between group rights and the Anglican church as Williams argues his point to controversial civil rights lawyer Imran Khan, and to philosopher Jonathan Ree.
2006; 2003

Bringing Up Children [electronic resource]

Is there a crisis of childhood caused by the consumer society and the mass media? "There is impatience in our culture for letting children be children," says Archbishop Rowan Williams, who cites lack of in-depth conversations between parents and children as the main cause for their vulnerability to advertising tactics. In this intriguing program, Archbishop Williams argues with children's author Philip Pullman about the theme of militant moral atheism in Pullman's work, and with abandoned children's charity coordinator Camila Batmanghelidjh, who says that the Anglican Church is behind the times in giving a message that is relevant to troubled children and their experiences.
2006; 2003

Faith, Politics, and Tradition [electronic resource]

This straight-talking program seeks to understand if religious belief can be reconciled with the changing values of modern life. Archbishop Rowan Williams argues that religion must suit a modern audience by changing the way it communicates its message-a point disputed by conservative historian Jonathan Clark, who believes the forces of modernity should be resisted. Reformist Muslim Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Islamic adviser to George W. Bush, submits that the West lacks acceptance of Islam despite Muslims' tolerance of Christianity. A valuable dialogue between representatives of major religious entities searching for mutual knowledge.
2006; 2003

Marital Sex [electronic resource]: Religious Perspective

This program examines religious guidelines designed to regulate and add meaning to the sex lives of married couples of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh faiths. Topics include when intercourse is permissible and when it should be avoided, whether it is sinful for men and women to use contraception, what type of genital contact is allowable, whether marital sex for non-procreative pleasure is morally acceptable, and possible penalties for marital sex that is deemed sinful. Special attention is given to ways in which these religions are changing, or not changing, with the times.
2006; 2003

Fornication [electronic resource]: Religious Perspective

Whether viewed as a spiritual matter of immorality or a secular concern with maintaining family lineage, premarital and extramarital sex have caused consternation since ancient times. In this program, theologians Melissa Raphael and Gavin D'Costa, author Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, and others explain what constitutes adultery and talk about how Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism regard women, virginity, chastity, promiscuity, prostitution, and polygamy. In addition, punishments that may await people in this life or hereafter who engage in fornication are described. Contains mature themes and explicit language and imagery.
2006; 2003

Homosexuality [electronic resource]: Religious Perspective

Throughout history, homosexuality has been censured by some of the world's major religions-and often punished to the severest degree. This program studies the scriptures and doctrines of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam to understand why, and then contrasts their stances with those of Hinduism, Sikhism, and the Rome of Hadrian. A compassionate and compelling discussion of gay marriage and child adoption by gay couples involving the Reverend Richard Kirker, of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement; Rabbi Chaim Rapoport; and others is featured. Genetic predisposition toward homosexuality is considered, and homosexual acts in the animal world, as they relate to scripture, are addressed. Contains mature themes and explicit language and imagery.
2006; 2003

From Jesus to Christ: Part 1 [electronic resource]

Part one of the series From Jesus to Christ examines the influence of Judaism and the Roman Empire on the life of Jesus. Through compelling interviews with archeologists, theologians, and historians it is revealed that Jesus was an ordinary Jewish resident of his time, but new findings show that he was probably not of the assumed humble class. Nazareth, where he grew up, was about four miles from the cosmopolitan urban center of Sepphoris, one of the Roman provincial cities. And while Rome defined one dimension of Jesus' world, the other was symbolized by the great Temple in Jerusalem. The film also reveals an excavation of new theories leading to Jesus' crucifixion - likely an act of the Romans - with little notice taken by Jewish people.

From Jesus to Christ: Part 2 [electronic resource]

Part two of the series From Jesus to Christ explores the period after the crucifixion of Jesus by tracing the beginnings of the "Jesus Movement", as Christianity was first called in its early years. Drawing upon historical evidence and archeological finds as well as engaging interviews, we learn that the early Christians branched out spreading their message to non-Jews, while the Apostle Paul, in approximately 50 CE, travelled away from the traditional centers of the Jesus Movement to found new churches in Greco-Roman cities. In fact, Paul's letters to these fledgling congregations mark the first writings of the New Testament. Meanwhile, spiraling tensions between Jews and Rome would culminate in a catastrophic Jewish revolt against Rome, propelling the destruction of Jerusalem and t [...]

Birth, Marriage, and Death [electronic resource]

From birth to death, in every country on the globe, for tens of thousands of years, the rhythm of human life has been accentuated by the practice of religious ritual. In this program adherents of three different faiths share their understanding of some common rites of passage: a rabbi explains the elements of a Jewish wedding, including some that date back to the book of Genesis; a minister discusses the role of Christian faith in making funerals more bearable; and a Hindu couple demonstrate the use of both astrology and the Internet to choose the right name for their daughter. Featuring footage of the ceremonies, the video provides an intimate look at the affirmation of spiritual beliefs.

We Shall Not Be Moved [electronic resource]: African-American Churches in the Civil Rights Era

Using a rich supply of archival photographs and film footage as well as first-hand accounts from pastors, activists, and community members, this program gives long-overdue attention to the pivotal role of African-American churches in the Civil Rights movement. Interviews feature former NAACP executive director Dr. Benjamin Hooks; diplomat, political luminary, and civil rights veteran Andrew Young; 1963 March on Washington organizer Rev. Abraham Lincoln Woods; National Baptist Convention historian Dr. Wilson Fallin; and many others. Viewers learn how the spiritual centers of Southern black life served as places for inspiring, strategizing, and implementing the greatest social and cultural paradigm shift of 20th-century America.

Symbol [electronic resource]: Should We Still Fear the Swastika?

Appropriated by the Nazis as a symbol of fascist power, the swastika, or hooked cross, has been revered by various cultures and nations since pre-Christian times. In 2006, a Catholic church in St. Cloud, Minnesota, opted to remove five swastikas that had been part of its roof-line facade since 1930. This program considers the factors that led to the decision, chronicles the removal itself, and examines the wide range of opinions it aroused in the surrounding community. Produced with support from St. Cloud State University's Jewish Studies program and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education, this is an excellent launch point for discussing intersections between architecture, history, religion, free expression, and other areas.

From Jesus to Christ: Part 3 [electronic resource]

Part three of the series From Jesus to Christ follows the story of the first attempts to record the life of Jesus: the Gospels. The Gospels were products of social and religious reconstruction in the period after the war, ranging from roughly 70 to 100 CE The program looks at how these stories were passed down before they were written, and how the writing of each Gospel reflects the experiences and circumstances of early Christians. Remarkably, they do not all tell the same story of Jesus as each one is written in response to a unique audience and circumstances. As well as the origin of the Gospels, the film explores the simultaneous growing tension between the emergent Christian groups and their Jewish neighbors - a debate that shaped both religious traditions forever.

From Jesus to Christ: Part 4 [electronic resource]

Part four of the series From Jesus to Christ chronicles the new challenges of the Christian movement - both internal and external - as it became separate from Judaism. From 100 to 300 CE, as the movement grew throughout the Roman Empire, it faced heated debates regarding beliefs, worship, and even about Jesus himself. Externally, Christians were often persecuted as the movement became suspicious in the eyes of the Roman authorities. But through it all, Christians prevailed. And what started as a small sect of Judaism became a significant part of the population - eventually, a part of the official religion of Rome. This was a momentous change for Christianity and at the dawn of the fourth century, the cross was transformed into a symbol of triumph. It was then that Jesus of Nazareth b [...]

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Noah Feldman - Politics and Religion Are Technologies

As Islam becomes a more powerful cultural force throughout the world, Noah Feldman studies the intersection of religion, politics, and law - with a focus on how Islam meshes with modern democracy. A law professor at Harvard and a contributing editor at the New York Times Magazine, Feldman wrote a piece about how Shariah law might be made to work within the British court system. But he's never less than fearlessly honest - as in another piece for the Times Magazine, where he exposes a troubling strain of anti-Muslim sentiment, both outspoken and implied, in modern Europe. In this engaging TEDTalk, Feldman makes a searing case that both politics and religion - whatever their differences - are similar technologies, designed to efficiently connect and manage any group of people.

The Devil We Know [electronic resource]: An Objective Look at the Prince of Darkness

Where does the familiar image of Satan come from? Does it predate the writing of the Bible? Or did the Devil's persona develop after the New Testament and organized Christianity appeared? This absorbing documentary sheds new light on the Prince of Darkness by examining his manifestations in various religious traditions, in literature and the arts, and in our collective psychology. Experts in theology, history, and culture share their knowledge of Satan's evolution through the centuries, discussing ancient Hebrew scriptures and apocryphal narratives, the influence of pagan imagery (such as horns and a pitchfork) on medieval concepts of the Devil, and the development of the Catholic rites of exorcism. Other topics include cinematic portrayals of demons and devils, the interplay between [...]

Moyers & Company [electronic resource]: Nuns, Faith, and Politics

Weeks before Paul Ryan was selected to run for vice president, Sister Simone Campbell - who heads NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby - hit the road to protest the so-called "Ryan budget" recently passed by the House of Representatives. She and some of her sister nuns rolled across the heartland on a bus trip designed to arouse public concern over what the Ryan plan would mean for social services in America, especially its slashing of programs for the poor. Sister Simone says that Ryan's budget is inconsistent with Catholic teachings, and although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops agrees, other Catholics say the NETWORK nuns have crossed the line. Robert Royal, editor in chief of The Catholic Thing and founder of the Faith & Reason Institute, believes that issues of econom [...]

Moyers & Company [electronic resource]: The Resurrection of Ralph Reed

When Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, was discovered to have raked in millions of dollars from the super-lobbyist-and eventually convicted felon-Jack Abramoff, he wound up in political purgatory. Then, outraged by the election of Barack Obama, Reed returned to start the Faith and Freedom Coalition with the aim of ousting President Obama from the White House. To succeed, though, Reed needs to win the allegiance of many of the trusting Christian followers he duped and double-crossed while working with Abramoff. This edition of Moyers & Company tracks Reed's rise, fall, and return. Also on the show, Bill talks with Mike Lofgren, a long-time Republican who says the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism transformed his party and created a de facto religious t [...]