In this show, we are talking about a very special kind of belief—belief in something. Often considered a defining human characteristic, like language, belief shapes our lives. We put our confidence in something that is unseen; we understand the world in terms of a bigger, unknowable framework. This ability may not be unique to humans, but it does appear to be a very special talent. Today, we want to find out what this specific type of believing means for our lives. How are we changed by belief? What does it do to us? Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically: what can believing do?

Host: Eileen Williams

Producers: Eileen Williams, Rosie La Puma, Will Rogers, Claire Schoen, and Jonah Willihnganz

Featuring: Beth Duff-Brown, Krista Tippett, and Carol Dweck. Thanks also to Lora Kelley, Louis Lafair, Sonia Gonzalez, Natacha Ruck, Madeleine Chang, and Lisa Hicks.

Music used during transitions: Broke for Free (XXV, A Beautiful Life)

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Intro Story: The Secret to Survive

Viktor Frankl lived through one of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated by mankind. He survived when most did not. How and why was he able to persist? What made him special? As a psychologist and psychiatrist, Frankl himself has written on the subject extensively–according to him, he lived because he believed.

Producer: Eileen Williams

Music: Podington Bear (Minor Stretch)

Image via wikimedia


Story 1: A Journey of Belief

As a reporter, Beth Duff-Brown learned to rely on verifiable facts and scientific data to make sense of the world. She’s traveled through war-torn Africa and contracted Malaria. She’s written many important and well-received articles. But despite her academic success and accomplished career, she always felt that something was missing. This all began to change in a tiny village called Camponde. It was there she began to open her heart to belief, and the results were astounding.

Producer: Lora Kelley

Featuring: Beth Duff-Brown, Caitlin Duff-Brown

Music: “Muad’dib” by Greater Than or Equal To, “Nostalgia of an ex-gangsta-rapper” by Deef, “Village Party” recorded by Beth Duff-Brown, “Long White Cloud” by Krakatoa

Image courtesy of Beth Duff-Brown


Story 2: On Krista

In this story, we hear from a woman whose career has been largely dedicated to belief. As Krista Tippett tells her story, she explains what she learned growing up–and how her belief system has evolved. This is a story about how beliefs can change, and how this change can profoundly impact the way we live. In Krista’s case, it allowed her to form personal connections to help her through hard times.

Producer: Eileen Williams

Featuring: Krista Tippett

Music: Podington Bear (Blue, Dramamine, Gentle Chase, Solidarity, Sry, Dark Matter, Light in Branches), Timbre (Hammerklavier Gospel)

Image via flickr


Story 3: Belief vs. Action

Are humans driven by our need to believe or our need to act? Producers Maddie Chang and Rosie La Puma battle their way to a better understanding. Along the way, they explore the forces that motivate their own lives and share stories that bridge the gap between belief and action.

Producers: Maddie Chang and Rosie La Puma

Special Thanks: Lisa Hicks

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Story 4: Malleable Mindsets

In sixth grade, Carol Dweck’s teacher arranged her classroom according to IQ. The teacher believed that everyone is born with a set number of capabilities. But are we? Or do we develop through hard work and perseverance? Carol Dweck has spent her life exploring what she has termed “Fixed Mindset” and “Growth Mindset”: how our belief in potential affects our potential.

Producers: Louis Lafair, Sonia Gonzalez, and Natacha Ruck

Featuring: Carol Dweck

Music: Podington Bear (Button Mushrooms, Deep Pools, The Window, Orange Juicer, By Grace)

Image via flickr


Story 5: Finding a New Rapture

As a teenager, Will stopped believing in the rapture, the idea that Jesus could come back at any moment. In the absence of this belief, doom and gloom set in, and Will moved to an ecovillage in the mountains to reconcile his life with this new worldview. It was there that he encountered a new belief, something very different from and very similar to his belief in the rapture, and it’s this belief that he carries with him today. This story was told at a gathering of friends.

Storyteller: Will Rogers

Editor: Eileen Williams

Links: True Story Podcast

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