Faith is that quality of openness, eagerness, and expectation that we see in children and open souls. It is a basic attitude of trust in the ultimate mystery behind existence; it is a gesture and stand of pure openness. This attitude of trust comes before belief or tradition, though faith is sometimes defined as belief, confidence or trust which is not based on proof.
Faith is derived from the Latin for ‘trust’ and the word means to trust or have confidence in someone, something or a divine power. It is a willingness to trust the mystery of the ultimate.
Stages of faith
- Intuitive: Impressionability through stories and rituals. (Pre-school period)
- Normative: Information is accepted in order to conform with social norms.
- Conventional: Acceptance of authority in individuals or groups that represent one’s beliefs.
- Reflective: In this stage the individual critically analyzes adopted and accepted faith with existing systems of faith.
- Paradoxical: In this stage people realize the limits of logic and, facing the paradoxes or transcendence of life, accept the “mystery of life” and often return to the sacred stories and archetypes
- Universalizing: This is the “enlightenment” stage where the individual comes out of systems of faith and lives life with universal principles of compassion and love and in service to others
“Fowler’s exploration of faith development suggests that as human beings become more mature, they develop greater wisdom and greater personal power (“power with”, not “power over”), their locus of authority moves inwards, and they become both more centered in their own personal value systems, and more authentically compassionate towards others in their struggles.
In other words, we move towards greater subjectivity.
Persons such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are obvious examples of such individuals.”
Dr David MacQuarrie – Blowing Out the Darkness
reference to (Fowler, John. – Stages of Faith – The Psychology of Human Development and The Quest For Meaning)
Full Glossary Index