Faith Thumb

Faith (Where is yours?)

This abstract image, rendered by the artist as he began to pursue a journey of faith renders his thoughts about the extent and direction his own journey would take. The negative space in the very center is somewhat the shape of a cross. It represents the spiritual journey of following the Christian faith. There seems to be a podium slightly to the right of the cross, where there is a sphere in negative space also. It represents the spirit of worship. Worship can occur through song, through hearing a message, or through the reading and meditation of spiritual oriented writings, such as the Bible.

The illustration has three spheres that represent the triune God, the Father figure (blue top), the Son, (yellow at the Father’s right hand) and Holy Spirit (brown on the ground with the artist). The three colors are repeated and knit throughout the drawing explaining to the viewer that the support and influence that comes from a journey of faith is not always easy to understand but is always calming and reassuring to experience. 

-artist’s explanation

In the context of religion, one can define faith as confidence or trust in a particular system of religious belief, within which faith may equate to confidence based on some perceived degree of warrant, in contrast to a definition of faith as being belief without evidence.

James W. Fowler (1940–2015) proposes a series of stages of faith-development (or spiritual development) across the human life-span. His stages relate closely to the work of Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg regarding aspects of psychological development in children and adults. Fowler defines faith as an activity of trusting, committing, and relating to the world based on a set of assumptions of how one is related to others and the world.

Stages of faith

1. Intuitive-Projective: a stage of confusion and of high impressionability through stories and rituals (pre-school period).

2. Mythic-Literal: a stage where provided information is accepted in order to conform with social norms (school-going period).

3. Synthetic-Conventional: in this stage the faith acquired is concreted in the belief system with the forgoing of personification and replacement with authority in individuals or groups that represent one’s beliefs (early-late adolescence).

4. Individuative-Reflective: in this stage the individual critically analyzes adopted and accepted faith with existing systems of faith. Disillusion or strengthening of faith happens in this stage. Based on needs, experiences and paradoxes (early adulthood).

5. Conjunctive faith: 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 symbols of the pre-acquired or re-adopted faith system. This stage is called negotiated settling in life (mid-life).

6. Universalizing faith: this is the “enlightenment” stage where the individual comes out of all the existing systems of faith and lives life with universal principles of compassion and love and in service to others for upliftment, without worries and doubt (middle-late adulthood (45–65 years old and plus).

No rule requires individuals pursuing faith to go through all six stages. There is a high probability for individuals to be content and fixed in a particular stage for a lifetime; stages from 2-5 are such stages. Stage 6 is the summit of faith development. This state is often considered as “not fully” attainable.

-credit Wikipedia

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