OPRAH EMBARKS ON A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
FOR Oprah Winfrey’s true believers, it should come as no surprise their spiritual guru has waded deep into one of the most controversial issues dividing the world today – religion.
But finding common ground and celebrating what connects us all – as she does in the new OWN documentary series, Belief – has been a lifelong mission for the media mogul from Mississippi, who found inspiration for her latest show in one of her Facebook posts.
“I started this thing on Facebook, which is now up to what, a couple of million views, where I did this long interview about belief and then we chopped it up into little (video) pieces. I started off talking about when I was a little girl and went to church believing that God was my father, because they said (in church), ‘God is your father’. So that then said to me that Jesus was my brother, because I was God’s daughter and so this was my family.”
Social media’s response wasn’t what Winfrey expected, but says much about what this series is about – exploring the world’s many religions and spiritual customs.
As she tells TVGuide, in her spirited Southern way: “The people on Facebook were like, ‘Jesus is not your brother’. So I wrote back to one of them, saying: ‘I was seven, OK. Could you have this much tolerance for a seven-year-old mind who hears God is your father?’ And I didn’t have a father, so I thought, ‘That’s who my father is, it’s God in heaven, which explains why he can’t be with me all the time.’ Can you just give me a little bit of tolerance?”
The whole idea for the Belief series, she adds, “is to create more tolerance in the world”.
To those who don’t “get it”, Winfrey’s message is: “If you want to tell me that Reshma (a young Hindu woman featured in the series), who goes to Kumbh Mela (a place of pilgrimage) and finds herself among her people … if you want to tell me, ‘Oh, that’s not God …’ Well, I’m not talking to you.
“I’m talking to the person who can see the connection between the girl being baptised in the river in Alabama and Reshma going to Kumbh Mela. If you can’t see that, then I’m not talking to you. Let it be. You’re not the one I’m trying to reach.”
OPRAH WINFREY’S BELIEF
SUNDAY, 7.30PM, DISCOVERY CHANNEL
By Holly Byrnes
SOUL SEARCHING: Oprah Winfrey.