US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Big questions online and on TV

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In time for the Easter season, a new show has started that explores the “Global Spirit,” as the show is named. Produced by LinkTV, a nonprofit Dish Network channel dedicated to presenting a global perspective to an American audience, the show explores the big questions of life—from religion, science, philosophy, and psychology—from all the world’s traditions.

The first show featured religion scholars Karen Armstrong and Robert Thurman on “the spiritual quest” and aired Sunday night, but each show is also online. As authors I have read since college, it is neat to hear about their own journeys—both their struggles and successes. Armstrong, for instance, joined a convent at age 16 only to discover that she was there for all the wrong reasons and couldn’t manage to pray or meditate well. Years after rejecting spirituality, Armstrong found that “study is what does it for me,” she says. The result of her quest is a number of insightful books on the history of the world’s religions.

Future shows cover earth wisdom from indigenous peoples and forgiveness—with a powerful clip of a Vietnam vet returning to the country to seek forgiveness online. Some of it may be a bit new age. While the show explores big questions, it doesn’t purport to offer definitive answers.

It’s probably directed as much at the “spiritual but not religious” crowd as much as religious people, but Thurman made an interesting comment toward the end of the first show: The Dalai Lama, he says, recommends that in this pluralist world, we stick to the faith into which we are born.

If you simply want the Catholic Mass on TV, the show is probably not for you. Tune in, though, if you want to learn a new perspective or seek out universal spiritual ideas.

Also check out Armstrong’s project, the charter for compassion.