The Long Search

Film Info: “The Long Search” – BBC/Time/Life (1977) – a series of 13 programs, 52 minutes each

Distributor:  Ambrose Video – $99 for the entire set on DVD

Summary:  A documentary on world religions and new religions, narrated by Ronald Eyre (who is irritatingly obtrusive in several instances).  Especially useful are Orthodox Christianity – the Rumanian Solution, which is helpful for illustrating religious symbolism and ritual, the pervasiveness of religion in people’s lives, and the place of religion in one then-Communist country; and African Religion – Zulu Zion, which focuses on new religions in South Africa, emphasizing the importance of dreams, ancestors, and place.  Other useful films in the series include Protestant Spirit: USA; Catholicism; and Judaism.  The film on Alternate Lifestyles in California is disappointingly shallow.

Film notice taken (with permission) from the “Teaching Resources” list in Meredith McGuire’s Religion: The Social Context, third edition. Her 5th edition (available from Waveland Press: see does not contain the resource list. I have only traced some of these films to current distributors. Please post updated information about them, if you have it. – JS

Taoism: A Question of Balance

Film Info: Part of “The Long Search”, a 1977 BBC series hosted by Ronald Eyre – 52 minutes

Distributor: Ambrose Videos has the entire series on DVD for $99

Summary: In our search for Chinese religious experience, we go to Taiwan. A whole pantheon of gods both local and imported from the mainland are worshipped in thousands of Buddhist and Taoist temples. Several strands make up the religious life of the village: a Confucian respect for past and the ancestors, the cosmic pattern of the Tao that permeates all levels of existence and manifests itself through oracles, the local gods who dispense justice and favors, and the hungry ghosts of the dead who have to be placated.