7 documentaries about Religion to watch on Netflix or Prime

Naiara Leão
4 min readFeb 25, 2022

From sketchy cults to understanding Islamic diversity, religious imperialism, and non-Western ancient knowledge. With trailers.

Scene of Wild Wild Country on Nextflix

Holly Hell

Sometimes we hear about some sketchy cult and wonder how did anyone fall for that. This documentary explains exactly how by showing the process of a group of young, smart and good-looking people that joined Buddhafield, in California, in the 1980s.

One of them is Will Allen, the director, who captures the most precious moments, and many early red flags, as the official cinematographer of the cult. He got to Buddhafield fresh out of college and stayed for 22 years until he realized he and his friends were victims of sexual and psychological abuse. The perspective of an insider is exactly what makes this one of the best documentaries on Netflix about religion.

Among the believers

This is a strong and well-executed film, one of my absolute favorites. In Among the Believers, Hemal Trivedi shows us Islamic diversity in Pakistan. On one side, we have a frightening portrait of Abdul Aziz’s radical group, a Taliban’s ally, that sabotages and destroys regular schools so kids have to come to their classrooms. There, they don’t learn to read nor to write but are indoctrinated towards violent interpretations of the Quran and terrorism.

On the other hand, we’re introduced to a secular college teacher, a volunteer in humanitarian causes and a teenage girl who dreams about freedom. They’re all Muslims fighting extremist views of Islam. There’s nuance and complexity “among believers” that helps us see Islam beyond Western Islamophobia.

Outside Man — Millionaire Clergy

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Naiara Leão

Nomad. PhD student of Religion, early Christianity and Women's and Gender Studies. Follow my IG @academicanomad