Oprah Winfrey Explains the Idea Behind OWN's Belief

OWN mogul says finding something to believe in is "what this planet is about"

By Zach Johnson Oct 15, 2015 12:20 PMTags
Oprah WinfreyJamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey believes in the power of Belief.

The TV titan turned out for the series premiere screening in New York City Wednesday night, where she opened up about OWN's seven-night documentary series that examines the nature of faith and belief in cultures around the world.

"If you can't stick to the belief when things are on shaky ground, then it's not a belief. It's just an idea. So, a true belief is that for which you are rooted and know to be true for yourself," Winfrey told E! News on the red carpet. "I will tell you that there is nobody who gets to be a human being who isn't going to have a dark hour. There's nobody who gets to walk the human path who is not going to have, at some point in your life, something that looks like failure. Belief lets you know that because it looks like failure, it is just a detour. It's not the end of the road, it's just a detour saying, 'Move in another direction.'"

Winfrey, who has been spiritual for as long as she can remember, said she realized the importance of belief "somewhere in my 20s" when she was building The Oprah Winfrey Show. "Every day you got a problem: things are falling apart, things don't work, this doesn't work. Soon you figure out everything passes. Good things pass. Bad things pass. When you really get it, that the whole human condition is about duality, darkness and light, things look like they fail, look like it's not gonna work, but it always changes," she said. "That's what this planet is about."

Watch: Oprah Winfrey Honors Barbara Walters

The first installment of Belief premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. on OWN and tells the stories of a 19-year-old evangelical Christian girl who tries to reconnect with her faith in Alabama; a 30-year-old woman who makes a pilgrimage to the Kumbh Mela bathing ritual along the Ganges River in India; a 13-year-old boy who prepares for his Bar Mitzvah in a tiny Jewish community in Budapest; and a dying Aboriginal elder who must pass down ancient traditions to his 11-year-old grandson.

Winfrey was pitched an idea for series in early 2012, and it was in line with one she had already envisioned. "I was going through a challenging time with launching and building a network. Whenever you are challenged, most people go out—I go in. Whenever you are challenged, you need to go back and ask yourself, 'What is it you really believe? What do you really want? What is it you're here to do?'" she said. "Telling these kinds of stories was what I created a network to do. So, I thought, 'Regardless of what else I have to do, whatever demands are on my time, whatever else is going on, this is what I want to do. This is the kind of stories I want to tell.'"

The first installment, "The Seekers," airs Sunday, Oct. 18.

New installments of Belief air nightly at 8 p.m. through Oct. 24 on OWN.