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11 Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime

There is something for everyone on our list of the 11 best religious/atheist documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Whether your faith is strong or you don’t believe in a higher force, it is always good to know what the other side is thinking and remain open to new ideas.

Let’s quickly go through the differences between theism and atheism. Theism is a belief that there is a higher force, be that a God or Gods, controlling our lives, or some aspects of them. There are three monotheistic religions that teach that there is only one God to whom we should pray; they are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Each of these religions has some fundamental differences although there are some similarities between them. On the other side, there are polytheistic religions that teach that there are multiple Gods to whose will we should commit. Among these religions are Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

11 Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime

Costea Andrea M/Shutterstock.com

Atheism is having none of that. Atheism is the belief that there are no Gods (or the lack of belief in the Gods that have been put forth; interpretations of its meaning vary) and that humans are on their own (maybe not in the universe, but at least from some divine, all-seeing entity that knows everything you’re doing, which seems kind of intrusive doesn’t it). People who share these beliefs (or lack of beliefs) are called atheists. This would be putting it plainly, but things are much more complicated than that. There are different kinds of atheism and even philosophers have a hard time determining what atheism is in general and the range of the term. Atheism shouldn’t be mixed with agnosticism. Those who declare themselves agnostics believe that we can’t know anything about the existence or not of Gods or any other higher power. Hence, they simply throw up their hands and declare the subject impossible to answer.

I am an open-minded person and I respect anyone’s beliefs. If you think a big spaghetti monster is controlling humans, great. If you think we are all going to become dust and there is no greater purpose in our lives, fine. The thing I do not respect is people shoving their opinions down other peoples’ throats. To some degree I understand religious people doing so, since it is at the core of almost every religion to spread it. I don’t understand spreading religion with violence though, which has often been used as a method of spreading religion in the past. I am also bothered by some atheists. I have met some cool ones, but the majority of atheists I know are in a big rush to show everyone who believes in something that he/she is wrong and that they are right. Maybe that’s simply the result of being a small minority (in America at least), or maybe they’re just full of themselves.

Even if there isn’t anything bigger than us, people should be able to believe in the things they find fitting. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that more than 80% of the world’s population is wrong for believing that there is something bigger than all of us (although in a literal sense they could be). If you think religion is a conspiracy to control the masses or you just happen to like conspiracy documentaries, also check out our list of the 8 Best Conspiracy Documentaries on Netflix Hulu and Amazon Prime.

The battle between the three video platforms continues to intensify on the documentary front, in terms of original content, and in other areas. A joint venture of Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX), Hulu was founded in 2006 and launched in 2007. It’s a free service that also has a subscription model. The service is used by about 12 million people as of late in 2016. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)‘s Prime Video is now included in its Prime Membership, which also offers shipping perks. Prime Video is now available in more than 200 countries. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) remains the streaming service to beat for many, with a wide range of documentaries and loads of original content. Netflix has 93.6 million subscribers worldwide as of the end of 2016.

In order to figure out our list of best religious/atheist documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

11. Pagan Christ

IMDb Rating: 6.8
Available On: Amazon Prime

This documentary ranks 11th in our list of best religious/atheist documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It is based on the book titled The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light, written by Canadian author Tom Harpur. In the book, Harpur claims that the New Testament is based on ancient myths and pagan religions and that the church leaders in the early years of Christianity used these myths and pagan religions to create a persona of Jesus. The book examines whether or not all people should follow one universal religion that is based on the belief that Christ lives in everyone.


10. Meet the Mormons

IMDb Rating: 7.0
Available On: Netflix

This documentary that’s up next in our list of Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime tries to give the audience better insight into the Mormon religion by following the daily lives of six people. Through the documentary, filmmakers explore their relationship with the religion and the community but also try to investigate various stereotypes related to Mormons.


9. Sons of Perdition

IMDb Rating: 7.0
Available On: Amazon Prime

Sons of Perdition ranks 9th in our list of Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It shows us what happens when you don’t share the same beliefs as other people. It follows three teenage boys who were members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church), led by controversial figure Warren Jeffs. Due to various reasons, the boys were exiled from their community and rejected by their families for going against their religion, becoming “sons of perdition”. You will be able to see what happens to people who are exiled from such closed communities while being unprepared for the outside world.

8. The God Who Wasn’t There

IMDb Rating: 7.0
Available On: Netflix

This is another documentary that questions Jesus, his existence and his portrayal in Christianity. The documentary is based on the theory called “Christ myth theory” that basically claims that Jesus Christ (Jesus of Nazareth) never existed and that he was a mythical figure created by Church leaders. It also explores other aspects of the Christian religion. Through the documentary, you will be able to see interviews with notable atheists, scientists and religious experts who provide their insight into the topic.


7. Prophet’s Prey

IMDb Rating: 7.3
Available On: Hulu

We already mentioned Warren Jeffs earlier in our list of the 11 Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but in this documentary, you will be able to learn more about him as a person and “prophet”. He became President and Prophet of FLDS Church after his father Rulon Jeffs died. During his tenure at the helm of FLDS Church, he was involved in numerous child sexual crimes and felonies, including one where he forced a 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin. After being a fugitive for almost a year, he was arrested in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison. The documentary is based on the book written by Sam Brower, who was one of the investigators leading Jeffs’ case.


6. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

IMDb Rating: 7.5
Available On: Netflix

We are continuing our list of Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime with this documentary that starts with questioning the history found in The Bible and whether it can be considered valid. The documentary uses archaeological findings to explore a fundamental part of the Old Testament, the Exodus. According to the documentary, Exodus didn’t happen the way it was described in The Bible and it also did not happen in 1250 BC, but in 1450 BC. To back it all up alongside the archeological findings, the documentary also features interviews with biblical scholars, historians, and other experts.


5. Jesus Camp

IMDb Rating: 7.5
Available On: Netflix

This documentary ranks 5th in our list of Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It talks about a summer camp, but not one where parents send you to toughen up. In this summer camp called Kids on Fire School of Ministry, children learn about the power of religion. The teachings of the camp are based on Charismatic Christianity. The Jesus Camp documentary focuses primarily on the stories of three kids spending the summer in the camp. Through these stories, it gives the audience insight into the core of the camp’s controversial teachings, including ones about global warming, where the teachers in the camp claim everything is a political and scientific hoax and that children need to purify themselves so they can become a part of God’s army (whatever that means).


4. Kumaré

IMDb Rating: 7.5
Available On: Netflix, Hulu

I think that atheists will look more warmly on this entry on our list of the 11 Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime than religious people will. In order to record this documentary, filmmaker Vikram Gandhi decided to basically create a false prophet. He grew his beard and hair, adopted the name Sri Kumaré alongside an Indian accent and made up his background. After coining the pillars of his false religion, he started to gather followers in Arizona. The thing is that people sincerely believed in his teachings. We believe some parts of this documentary and the fact that Gandhi was very convincing in his teachings, which will make you question the world around you and what you’ve also been led to believe (perhaps incorrectly).


3. 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama

IMDb Rating: 7.6
Available On: Netflix, Amazon Prime

This documentary ranks 3rd on our list of Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It revolves around the meeting of filmmaker Rick Ray and the 14th Dalai Lama, with Ray being given a rare opportunity for an interview. Although the documentary holds “10 questions” in the title, Ray asks him more than that. This is not just a documentary about the Dalai Lama, but you will be able to learn more about Tibet, about the process of choosing the Dalai Lama, and more about the life of the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.


2. Religulous

IMDb Rating: Netflix
Available On: 7.7

If you are in the mood for a laugh at religion’s expense, then this is the documentary that’s up next in our list of Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime is for you. Religulous challenges religion and discusses religious beliefs in a comedic way. It was made by outspoken comedian and Real Time host Bill Maher, who traveled around the world, visiting important religious locations and interviewing people of different religions and beliefs, including ones who are skeptics. In order to get the interviews for the documentary, he used “A Spiritual Journey” as a title.


1. Zeitgeist: The Movie

IMDb Rating: 8.3
Available On: Netflix

Are you ready for the final documentary on our list of the 11 Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Although this documentary doesn’t solely revolve around religion, it was still recommended a lot. The first part of the documentary talks about Christianity as a religion, with the premise that it has its roots in other religions, myths, and traditions. You will be able to hear once again that Jesus didn’t exist and that he was, in fact, a fictional character. It is up to you whether you believe the claims or not.

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