Multiplex: What's New | Site Map | Community | News My Multiplex Account | Sign In 
in Search

Is Faith a Level or a Line?

Last post 12-31-2007, 12:26 PM by balder. 9 replies.
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  •  09-04-2007, 10:50 AM 28109

    Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    Is faith the product of a particular developmental level or is it a line of development in itself?  I've been discussing this question over on Zaadz and wanted to invite a discussion on it here as well.  If you are interested in reading the (lengthy) discussions that have been taking place on Zaadz, you can check out Samantha Reddy's blog post on religion, or this thread I started on the I-I pod (which features excerpts from the longer discussion on Samantha's blog).  I also have been blogging on a related topic.

    The gist of the argument is whether faith is an artifact of Amber-level religion -- a prerational or non-rational cognitive strategy appropriate to mythic-level thinking but not beyond -- or whether faith is a cognitive faculty that undergoes development and that shows up differently at different stages of cognitive and spiritual growth.  I view it as the latter (for example, see Fowler's Stages of Faith), but some of the people I've been discussing this with define faith simply as "belief without evidence," associate it exclusively with unreasonable belief in metaphysical propositions, and argue that there is no need for faith beyond Amber or Orange.  This perspective is associated, it seems to me, with the rather strongly anti-religion sentiments of the New Atheists (such as Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris).

    What do you think?  Does faith, as a faculty of consciousness, have a role to play at different stages of development, or is it an outmoded way of thinking that is best left behind as we grow and develop cognitively?  Is it a level-line fallacy to consider it as an exclusive artifact of a particular stage of development? 

    What is your relationship to faith?  What role does it play, if any, in your spiritual life or beyond?

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

    • Post Points: 65
    • Report abuse
  •  09-04-2007, 12:08 PM 28113 in reply to 28109

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    balder,

    you know the obvious, integral response to your question: faith is both a level and a line--at least it can be viewed from either perspective.  kw has suggested a way it can be viewed as a level--i can't remember where--in the simple developmental line that begins with belief, progresses to faith and, ultimately, to knowledge.  he also fully supports, i believe, fowler's perspective on faith as a developmental line.

    since i've yet to achieve full knowledge, i have no problem holding these two perspectives simultaneously, although it appears paradoxical to me that someone with full knowledge could do likewise, a paradox, no doubt, that full knowledge would itself resolve!



    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  09-05-2007, 9:12 AM 28148 in reply to 28109

    • edison is not online. Last active: 02-01-2008, 3:51 AM edison
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-03-2006
    • Washington DC metro area
    • Posts 69
    • Points 1,195

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    This a really thought provoking question.

    First, I feel compelled to observe that it's a Zone 2 inquiry and I have mostly Zone 1 "data" to plug into it.  So having recogonized the folly of attempting to give a good answer, it becomes more appealing to try!Big Smile [:D]

    I would  define faith as a predisposition or attitude that recognizes (or doesn't) the existence and movement of Spirit.  That seems close to the Spiritual line, though I think it differs in that Spirituality deals with the nitty gritty of the whats and hows of how one engages in relationship to Spirit.

    So, looking at my own development (a frustratingly short exercise, that), it does appear that faith is a line that both has aspects of  a increasingly higher degree of inclusion and higher degree of utility and flexibility.

    I had a thought that I would like to hear other's opinions on.  As I've defined it, if feels like faith is precursor to other lines of development.  For example, what would ever motivate me to move from ego-centric to ethno-centric?  Ego-centric is so easy, so uncomplicated.  Doesn't seem that development of how I see Spirit manifesting actually trigger an expanding worldview? 

     

    I guess another way of saying it is that engaging in all this Leela, the big Kosmic game of hide and seek, faith is the motivation for playing.  But the motivation changes and grows and refines as we continue  in the game.

    Not exactly a Zone 2 analysis, but it's a interesting question to contemplate.

     

    Brian

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  09-06-2007, 9:26 PM 28216 in reply to 28148

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    Hi, Brian,

    I'm sorry it took me so long to respond.  I am not as active on this site as I am on several others, and I've got my "online energy" a bit scattered at present.

    I enjoyed what you had to say, particularly how you have connected faith to the play (and playfulness) of Spirit's divine Lila.  What you wrote reminds me of a similar observation by a (postmodernist) Catholic writer:  "Faith is a primal force. It is not an attitude, or a set of opinions, or an ideology. It is the imagination on the move. Faith is the dynamic element in life, what keeps us in process, in becoming, in possibility. Faith is what keeps us alive."  He doesn't know, or at least doesn't use, Eastern terms such as lila, but his comments are evocative of that understanding, aren't they?

    But as you say, and as I also feel, "faith" is not a single, static thing, even as a primal force.  It shifts as we do, opens as we open.

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  09-11-2007, 11:54 AM 28373 in reply to 28216

    • edison is not online. Last active: 02-01-2008, 3:51 AM edison
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-03-2006
    • Washington DC metro area
    • Posts 69
    • Points 1,195

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    Hi Balder,

         What a great reply.  I love the quote.  Being a "recovering Catholic" myself, I notice interesting pangs of longing in the recognition that within my old tradition there are perspectives that are second tier.  Lately, I have been remembering  a quote by (at least I hope it was) Fr. John Powell that went something like "God's greatest glory is man fully human, fully alive."  It struck me as  powerfully resonnant with Genpo Roshi's teaching about the apex (transcending and inclucing both dualistic and absolute minds) and conciously choosing to be a human being.  It's quite humbling (and liberating and quite hilarious) to leave in search of something only to realize it was always there under my nose all along.

    Regards,

     

    Brian

    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  11-23-2007, 10:49 AM 32365 in reply to 28109

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    According to Mark Twain:

    "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."




    "Like the legendary Ko-ko bird, we follow our own tail around in ever-narrowing circles, but unlike that mythic bird we never complete the process by flying up our own rectums and disappearing."
    -Robert Anton Wilson
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  11-23-2007, 10:54 AM 32366 in reply to 32365

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    As with many of Twain's quips, that's pretty funny.  But it doesn't really do justice to what many contemplatives and theologians mean by faith.

     

     


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  11-23-2007, 2:01 PM 32375 in reply to 32366

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    Happy Friday Bruce,

     

    It's difficult if not perilous to enter this question of faith without attempting some definition of it; alas, there seems to be no commonly agreed delinitation of its meaning. 

     

    For example, a while back i went through the eight volumes of the collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa looking for a definition of faith attributed to him that i actually agreed with. Sadly i didn't find the exact quote amongst the six or seven definitions or contexts in which he used the word.

     

    In any case i am happiest with a sense that faith is an internal condition that allows and maybe even requires that a person be willing to deal with life conditions as they present themselves. Integral theory, of course, holds that life conditions are subject to interpretation which in turn is pretty much dependent on one’s level or least state of development. By that definition there seems to be no end to its utility; to the extent that this is true it suggests that faith is best considered a developmental line.

     

    Warmly,

     

    Charles

    88W18'28" 41N58'02"

    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  12-30-2007, 10:28 PM 35265 in reply to 28109

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    Faith is like gazing at a piece of art.  At first I admire all the elegant details and subtleties but at one point I must pull back out and ask a very simple question.  Is this art nice to look at?  It is funny how all the complexities we categorize will eventually lead to a very simple observation and hence general feeling.  In short, I define faith in one way as being the elements of the unknown that we do not feel the need to explore because we are satisfied with what we already know.  Blind faith is the lack of any evidence requirements whereas actual faith requires a certain level of understanding and confirmation depending on the person’s particular level of development.  The more complex your understanding of the world, the more you must reaffirm and/or modify your understandings with evidence to reach that level of satisfaction where no more searching is currently required.  This would therefore imply that there is always some level of faith, or at least faith will always exist as long as development exists.  For every stage after our current will contain its own information and understandings, which must be reaffirmed to the observer to that stages critical point, at which time acceptance of the current takes hold and faith fills in the rest.  At this point it may appear that I am making a case that faith is a line but in applying the example of looking at art work to everyday living I would say that I am an ever evolving creator and as long as am in this three dimensional realm I can continue to explore all the micro and macro categories, but at one point I pull back to see that no more details are needed; I am here now and there are a great deal of things that can be done to enhance the positive evolution of all, and I feel as though I know enough that I will fill in the areas of the remaining unknown with faith.  I don’t need to know the workings of anti-matter to know that I feel love for another.  I also feel that connecting with others is an evolutionary process and the art of doing this well will take up enough time.  So, faith is very useful in not wasting productive time.  If we always stay in the state of pondering the continuous and infinite unknown then what have we changed in our collective realm of existence other than the instincts of the species?  We don’t want to lose the forest from all those trees, and so faith is linked to a universal mechanism that pulls us back into a mode of action in taking what we have learned and applying it the best ways that we know how; the move from inner to external focus.  So technically defined in this manner, “faith is the universal byproduct that occurs when a sentient being moves from the focus of thought to the focus of practice, which occurs after a critical threshold in understanding and acceptance is reached at a given level of development in the spiritual and/or cognitive line.”  In summary, I can see faith as a level, a line, both, and as neither.  Of coarse always depending on the definition one is using.


    :) MUCH LOVE (:
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  12-31-2007, 12:26 PM 35305 in reply to 35265

    Re: Is Faith a Level or a Line?

    Thank you, Greenwoods.  I think you've put that very well and I love the "technical" definition you offer at the end.  A very helpful way to look at the nature and the role of faith, one which would have traction in non-theistic and atheistic spheres as well as the theistic ones more traditionally concerned with the question of faith.

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
View as RSS news feed in XML
 © Integral Institute, 2006. all rights reserved - powered by enlight™ email this page del.icio.us | terms of service | privacy policy | suggestion box | help