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This I Used to Believe

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Another recommendation! If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you probably know I am a big fan of “This American Life,” the Chicago-based radio show about the ordinary and extraordinary lives of Americans today. Each show explores a different topic, and a recent episode’s theme was  a spin off of another famous American radio show, “This I Believe.”

Rather than exploring what people believe and why they believe it, “This I Used to Believe” includes various stories about what people used to believe, and what happened that made them change their minds.
This episode made me realize how much more fascinated I am with why people believe what they believe than I am with the “what” of their beliefs themselves. For that matter, I am more fascinated with why people disbelieve something than what they disbelieve.
I am fascinated by people’s testimonies of belief or disbelief because they reveal the complexities of the human person that we can so easily overlook in religion, and philosophy too. Particularly in our post-Enlightenment society, it is easy to imagine that convictions and commitments are the direct result of logical thought processes.  While that may be apart of our “conversions” to/from this or that, the stories I have heard of belief and disbelief have continuously led me to believe that reason is only a part of our complex web of persuasive influences.
I hope you enjoy the podcast, and hopefully, the subsequent thoughts about why you believe, or don’t believe, some things.


  1. glaspylife says:

    Hi Jess, I just stumbled upon your blog from the link on FB. What a great set of entries you have written… I’ve only read a few so far, but you have already inspired me to listen to a podcast and read a book… I’m excited to add these things to my list of personal to dos! Hope all is well. I’ll be following this blog from today on!
    All my best, Shannel (Shah) Glaspy

  2. Jeff Staples says:

    This American Life: never a dull hour. Thanks for the recommendation, I especially enjoyed the prologue and the insight into our beloved host.

  3. Anita W. says:

    Being a recent This American Life fan I just came across this episode and I don’t think the episode could touch my heart any further. (I wanted to see what people’s responses were to the episode and stumbled upon your site) When i was 19 years old my best friend committed suicide and she was the ONE girl that ONE person within my whole lifetime whom i shared all my christian views with- who I actually convinced to come to church with me and then she ACTUALLY came without me having to give my whole rant on Christianity. It got so intense to that point where she literally ran away from home because she chose to shun the religion her family believed. (and of course she’s stayed with me at that time. She was only 14.) Years later she committed suicide and my whole life paused. Isn’t it ironic? The only person in my life that I convinced life was worth living for God – didn’t end up wanting to live at all? That’s simply sick irony. Since then I’ve lost that zeal i had for God and in fact I find it annoying to those who used to be like me- those who forced their beliefs on people. I still believe GOd is there. And that God is great. But the mission has died within me. It has simply become too much.

    sorry for such a late reply for a 2 year post.


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