We bring our faith crises to word most often through expressions about our no longer “believing” this or that teaching. We’ve been confronted with evidence that challenges a truth claim or leads us to no longer unquestionably follow leaders or our current life scripts, and we naturally concentrate our attention on those claims that are now called into question. For complex reasons, some of us seem to have higher tolerances for uncertainty than others, while for others of us this questioning of previously held notions quickly turns to active “disbelief” and even outright rejection of our faith tradition: “If it’s wrong on this front, it’s certainly wrong on many others.” But, are there deeper, existential-level questions we might ask that are obscured by the fact that we concentrate so much on–and make so many decisions about our faith engagement based upon–“beliefs”? What else might be underlying our current discomfort that we aren’t seeing and meeting head-on because we pose questions to ourselves mostly at the level of belief/unbelief?
In this two-part episode, Philip A. Barlow and U. Carlisle Hunsaker join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a fascinating and multi-layered conversation about these additional questions. In the course of it, they interrogate choices about believing and not believing from multiple angles. What are some of the factors that lead to active “unbelief”? But what might we not see and experience should we choose that stance? What are the essential ingredients for a fully flourishing life? Could experiences in the church that leave many feeling unfulfilled in these areas be a major (albeit largely un-examined and un-spoken) factor in our choices to change our engagement or affiliation with our faith tradition? Finally, can we begin to look at faith as far more than about beliefs and attempting to find certitude, and instead as an enriched trust in God and ourselves in our deepest essence?
Featuring personal sharing, along with examinations of these and many other angles, this is a terrific conversation you will likely choose to listen to multiple times. Please do, and then share your experiences and questions in the comments section below!
U. Carlisle Hunsaker, “Mormonism and a Tragic Sense of Life,” Sunstone 41 (Sept-Oct. 1983)
U. Carlisle Hunsaker, “Soul-Making, Or Is There Life Before Death?“, Dialogue 18, no. 3 (Fall, 1985)
Richard L. Bushman, “Faithful History,” Dialogue 4, no. 4 (Winter, 1969)