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Thread: Fowler's "Stages of Faith" and liberalism

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Fowler's "Stages of Faith" and liberalism

    I read Fowler's Stages of Faith in the late 90's but I can't see a free online version of the book. Here is a summary:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_W._Fowler#Description_of_the_stages



    ....Stage 5 – "Conjunctive" faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent "truth" that cannot be explained by any particular statement.

    Stage 6 – "Universalizing" faith, or what some might call "enlightenment". The individual would treat any person with compassion as he or she views people as from a universal community, and should be treated with universal principles of love and justice.

    The book would probably explain it but I'm not sure what paradoxes he is talking about in stage 5.... for me it is about an intelligent force being involved that is trying not to be too obvious.


    I think the author said that Gandhi and MLK were in stage 6.... they were liberal e.g.
    https://www.jesus-is-lord.com/king.htm

    I was wondering what people think about being liberal (or agnostic?) can cause you to go to the last stages... and about what they think about "paradoxes".

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    Sounds like stage 5 realizing that the system is empty. A Buddhist might say enlightenment is just another 'thing'. The purpose of the system is to bring you through a process. To me enlightenment is just realizing reality and how you are part of it, understanding how the illusory aspects affect you.

    For a Christian realign the real human truths behind the stories. Not just recitation.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    ...
    The book would probably explain it but I'm not sure what paradoxes he is talking about in stage 5.... for me it is about an intelligent force being involved that is trying not to be too obvious.
    ...
    I was wondering what people think about being liberal (or agnostic?) can cause you to go to the last stages... and about what they think about "paradoxes".
    I think he means the paradoxes encountered in steps 1 through 4. And if you're convinced that an intelligent force wants you to be confused I suppose that obviates any and all paradoxes in, as Reverend William Archibald Spooner might put it, one swell foop.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    ....I think he means the paradoxes encountered in steps 1 through 4.
    I don't think they are aware of any paradoxes when in those earlier stages. They are "acknowledged" in stage 5.

    And if you're convinced that an intelligent force wants you to be confused I suppose that obviates any and all paradoxes in, as Reverend William Archibald Spooner might put it, one swell foop.
    Maybe being confused is a paradox... anyway I've ordered the book and will look into what it means by paradoxes.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    The paradox seems to consist of being more comfortable with less certainty.

    Stage 4 - you're uncomfortably invested in questioning and seeking more certainty.
    Stage 5 - you're now more certain and get comfort from thinking that competing certainties might all be true.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    ....I think he means the paradoxes encountered in steps 1 through 4.
    I don't think they are aware of any paradoxes when in those earlier stages. They are "acknowledged" in stage 5.
    According to your link:
    • Stage 3 – ... Any conflicts with one's beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies.
    • Stage 4 – ... this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one's belief.
    So you have fear from unacknowledged paradoxes and an awareness of conflicted beliefs (aka paradoxes).

    And if you're convinced that an intelligent force wants you to be confused I suppose that obviates any and all paradoxes in, as Reverend William Archibald Spooner might put it, one swell foop.
    Maybe being confused is a paradox... anyway I've ordered the book and will look into what it means by paradoxes.
    Faith in a source of confusion would be.

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    One response to a paradox goes something like 'We can't know the will of god and his intent'.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    "Paradoxes do not exist; if you perceive a paradox, question your assumptions." ~Francisco D'Anconia

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist
    Maybe being confused is a paradox... anyway I've ordered the book and will look into what it means by paradoxes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear
    Faith in a source of confusion would be.
    I think a fairly truthful loving intelligent force sometimes communicates to me (often through apparent coincidences or synchronicities). At other times perhaps a malicious deceptive force is present and sometimes it is just my own ignorance and fallacious reasoning. I would say that the master of my matrix is allowing me to be confused but I think it is better to be closer to the truth and be confused than to be certain that I know the "Truth".

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Faith does not have a good track record for sorting fact from fiction, to put it mildly.

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