The Meaning of Life


What do we believe? Why do we believe it?

Roger Nygard–the director of the hilarious documentary Trekkies–traveled across the world, asking famous religious leaders and everyday people what they thought about God, religion, and human existence. The result is the documentary The Nature of Existence, which is available on DVD.

Nygard’s inquisitive, nonjudgmental personality is the ideal conductor for Existence. The film moves fast–the camera cuts between a series of radically diverse voices, giving a wild trail of answers to questions as simple and open-ended as “What do you think of God?” and “What happens after we die?”

Physicist Leonard Suskin, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on string theory, waxes surprisingly poetic and religious about the Big Bang–“I certainly hope someone planned it,” he muses. Richard Dawkins gives his predictable (though impassioned) smackdown to anyone who could believe in a “preposterous, lazy, succumbing-to-wishful-thinking” Creation myth.

Existence captures the religious mind at its most tender and human. But its seriousness does not preclude occasional humor. In one unrestrained moment, Dawkins, the world’s foremost atheist, responds to a question by saying, “God knows”–and then catches himself.

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