According to a recent study by Pew Research, about half of all American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once.
Whether through friendship, marriage, or chance encounter, we're introduced to new ways of looking at the world.
Even those who have remained within a single religious tradition often find their deepest convictions evolving in unpredictable ways over the span of a lifetime, challenging religious dogma as it mixes with new ideas and beliefs.
In this series, we ask what people really believe about some of the big questions: What really happens when we die? Does prayer really make a difference? Does it really matter how we act in this life?
Your best friend is crushed when his 10-year-old son dies of cancer. He tells you that he is comforted, at least, that one day he'll get to see his child again in heaven.
Later that day, you begin to wonder... Is there life after death? Are heaven and hell real places? Do our souls continue to exist in some form?
Before the football game, the two opposing quarterbacks both pray for victory. One team wins, the other loses. The winning quarterback thanks God for helping his team win.
Did prayer have anything to do with the outcome? Do prayers really make a difference? Can prayer (or meditation) change the outcome of an event? Or are we just talking to ourselves? What do you really believe?
The devil has been blamed for all kinds of things in human history, from global catastrophes to our own personal failings.
Is there really a force of evil in the world? If so, what is it? How does it work? What does it look like?
What's your image of God? Is God an old man in the sky with a white beard? Does God have a gender? And human form? Or is God an impersonal force instead? What does God really look like?
Your best friend calls to say she's decided to quit her job. You ask if she has a plan. She says no, but that God is telling her she needs to do something else with her life.
Does God Really Talk to Us? If so, how? Through nature? Scripture? Dreams? Other people? As a human-like voice? How does God communicate with us?
Most religious traditions teach that human beings have agency – that their choices matter – but also that there are greater spiritual forces at work that impact or even determine the course of events or the ultimate outcome.