Belief is a curious phenomenon in our postmodern, posthuman age. If anything, per Jean-François Lyotard, our present era is best characterized by its loss of belief, especially in grand narratives. Religion, a principal site of grand narrative and a bastion of belief, has seen its influence gradually wane in recent decades. And while the deterioration of strong faith traditions gives way to a virtually endless array of totemic icons, the cultural objects in play seem to devolve less on deep psychic investments than on something like user friendliness and circulation.
It thus seems fair to ask whether belief has truly waned in our postmodern era, or whether it has simply evolved, or whether all such apparent differences are illusory. More fundamentally, it raises the question of what belief is, and of what it means, today. What forms does it take and inspire? What are its objects and sources? Its benefices and dangers? Our symposium, jointly sponsored by the BYU Humanities Center and Belief: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Humanities, will serve as the occasion for rigorous discussion of these and related questions.