The Circle of Faith:Why Faith is NOT a Good Thing

page: 2
11
<< 1    3  4  5 >>

log in

join

posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 11:05 AM
link   
reply to post by Astyanax
 


Meh, personally I'd rather live 10 years less than someone with faith if it means being honest with myself and my beliefs. I thought the people of ATS would be the same, but perhaps I'm wrong.

 




Originally posted by karl 12
As for people fervently preaching religion and purposefully misrepresenting speculation,conjecture,guesswork,heresay and opinion as 'factual' in context-if a thing was a fact they wouldn't need to have faith in it would they?



Exactly! If the idea of God was so concrete by it's own merrits, then faith would not be needed. Faith merely fills in the cracks which can not be explained.




posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 12:49 PM
link   
Being a good person is relative to what you believe is good. Some think blowing themselves up and others with them makes them good. I guess it depends on which gray bearded man you listen to. I am not defending christians who have gone to the extreme of killing or other actions clearly defined as wrong in scripture. I am simply stating that the God I serve requires faith on my part that He knows more than I do and that if I want the reward I must put action to my faith( I.e. Love thy neighbor as myself). When we put our knowledge ahead of our creators we fall from faith. Can you create anything by your knowledge. Faith is not a belief- it is a knowing.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 01:09 PM
link   

Originally posted by TruthParadox

There's a quote by Dan Barker who says it better than I could:
"Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits."


My only issue with the quote. I would have said "can be...a cop-out'"

....depending on what level a person is at...James Fowler has listed 6 levels...


James Fowler, Ph.D. is a developmental psychologist, a United Methodist layperson, and Director of the Center for Faith Development at Emory University. He is the premiere pioneer of the study of Faith development, and his book Stages of Faith (Harper & Row, 1981) is a ground-breaking classic. His work with Faith research is of great importance to the study of transpersonal psychology in that, he posits, faith (moreso than religion, or belief) "is the most fundamental category in the human quest for relation to transcendence." (14) And the stages of faith development, regardless of where one finds them, or in what religious context, are amazingly uniform. Faith to Fowler is a holistic orientation, and is concerned with the individual's relatedness to that which is universal, even though the religious context be relative, even arbitrary. Fowler identifies six stages through which pilgrim of faith invariably travels.



The first stage Fowler calls Intuitive-Projective faith. It usually occurs between the ages of three and seven, and is characterized by the psyche's unprotected exposure to the Unconscious. Imagination runs wild in this stage, uninhibited by logic. It is the first step in self-awareness and when one absorbs one's culture's strong taboos. The advantages of this stage are the birth of imagination and the growing ability to grasp and unify one's perception of reality. Stage one is also dangerous, though, in that the child's imagination can be "possessed" by unrestrained images of terror and destruction from the unconscious, and the exploitation of the fertile imagination by enforced taboos and indoctrination.


The second stage is called Mythic-Literal faith, in which symbol and ritual begin to be integrated by the child. These symbols, however, are one-dimensional. Only literal interpretations of myth and symbol are possible. The runaway imagination of stage one is here harnessed, and linear thinking becomes normative. Found mostly in school children (although one can maintain this state for life), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their cosmic powers are almost always anthropomorphic. Objective distance and critical evaluation of myth or symbology is impossible. Fowler describes a person in this stage as being both "carried and 'trapped' in" their own narrative. Stage two can be dangerous because the relentless belief in reciprocity forces the individual into a strict, overcontrolling perfectionism; their religious system will without doubt be either legalistic or else, in the case of abuse, the child may be convinced of his or her own irredeemability.


The third stage is labeled Sythetic-Conventional faith. The majority of the population finds its permanent home in this stage. Usually arising in adolescence, this stage demands a complex pattern of socialization and integration, and faith is an inseparable factor in the ordering of one's world. It is a stage characterized by conformity, where one finds one's identity by aligning oneself with a certain perspective, and lives directly through this perception with little opportunity to reflect on it critically. One has an ideology at this point, but may not be aware that one has it. Those who differ in opinion are seen as "the Other," as different "kinds" of people. Authority derives from the top down, and is invested with power by majority opinion. Dangers in this stage include the internalization of symbolic systems (power, "goodness" "badness") to such a degree that objective evaluation is impossible. Furthermore, while one can at this stage enter into an intimate relationship with the divine, one's life situations may drive one into despair (the threshold to the next stage). Such situations may include contradictions between authorities, the revelation of authoritarian hypocrisy, and lived experiences which contradict one's convictions.


The fourth stage is known as Individuative-Reflective. This is primarily a stage of angst and struggle, in which one must face difficult questions regarding identity and belief. Those that pass into stage four usually do so in their mid-thirties to early forties. At this time, the personality gradually detaches from the defining group from which it formerly drew its identity. The person is aware of him or herself as an individual and must--perhaps for the first time--take personal responsibility for his/her beliefs and feelings. This is a stage of de-mythologizing, where what was once unquestioned is now subjected to critical scrutiny. Stage four is heavily existential, where nothing is certain but one's own existence, and disillusionment reigns. This stage is not a comfortable place to be and, although it can last for a long time, those who stay in it do so in danger of becoming bitter, suspicious characters who trust nothing and no one. But most, after entering this stage, sense that not only is the world far more complex than his or her stage three mentality would allow for, it is still more complex and numinous than the agnostic rationality of stage four allows.


Stage five, Conjunctive faith moves one from stage four's rationalism to the acknowledgement of paradox and transcendence. It is in this stage that, in Washburnian terminology, one chooses regression in the service of transcendence. In this stage a person grasps the reality behind the symbols of his or her inherited systems, and is also drawn to and acknowledging of the symbols of other's systems. This stage makes room for mystery and the unconscious, and is fascinated by it while at the same time apprehensive of its power. It sees the power behind the metaphors while simultaneously acknowledging their relativity. In stage five, the world, demythologized in stage four, is re-sacrilized, literally brimming with vision. It is also imbued with a new sense of justice that goes beyond justice defined by one's own culture and people. Because one has begun to see "the bigger picture" the walls culture and tradition have built between ourselves and others begins to erode. It is not easy to live on the cusp of paradox, and due to its radical drive towards inclusivity, the mind struggles to assimilate and integrate faster than it can work through its cultural and psychological baggage. It is an overwhelming, ecstatic stage in which one is radically opened to possibility and wonder.


Stage six, the final stage, Fowler calls Universalizing faith. While in the previous stage, one glimpses a unitive view of reality, but feels torn between possibility and loyalty, and may even neglect to act on its new understanding out of a regard for self-preservation. In stage six, any such apprehensions dissolve and one becomes an activist for the unitive vision. Fowler describes it best, when he writes:


Persons described by stage six typically exhibit qualities that shake our usual criteria of normalcy. Their heedlessness to self-preservation and the vividness of their taste and feel for transcendent moral and religious actuality give their actions and words an extraordinary and often unpredictable quality. In their devotion to universalizing compassion they may offend our parochial perceptions of justice. In their penetration through the obsession with survival, security, and significance they threaten our measured standards of righteousness and goodness and prudence. Their enlarged visions of universal community disclose the partialness of our tribes and pseudo-species. And their leadership initiatives, often involving strategies of nonviolent suffering and ultimate respect for being, constitute affronts to our usual notions of relevance." (Fowler, 200)




Fowler, although not normally thought of as a transpersonal psychologist, has much to offer the field. He approaches the whole question from another side, not theorizing about the internal mechanics as Washburn and Wilber do, but merely observing thoughts and behavior. It is impossible, for me, not to visualize the internal drama in Washburnian terms when reading the progression from stages three to six. In stage three, for instance, the ego is dominant and the Dynamic Ground successfully suppressed. Stage four begins the individual's psychic undoing, as one's cultural/religious paradigm begins to crumble and existential anxiety sets in. Stage five begins the terrifying surrender to the power of the Ground, which transforms the personality and infuses it with the vision and the courage to enter stage six, what some might call, enlightenment. One sees things as they truly are, transcending the limitations and conceptions of one's tradition and culture. Fowler has made an important contribution, by setting the transpersonal drama in a context of religious belief, the battleground for so much of the egoic conflict. He also names my own experiences, and I have felt an incredible sense of comfort and relief in reading him when I was going through my stage four trauma. I was not, as I suspected, going crazy! For everything about which my intellect raged was described and understood through Fowler's analysis. Source: jmm.aaa.net.au...



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 01:42 PM
link   
reply to post by OldThinker
 


Thank you old thinker! You have put the right perspective on this topic. Charity, which means love in action, is and should be the final outcome of ones faith.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 01:49 PM
link   

Originally posted by TruthParadox
Certainly I explained this in my first post.
By 'inferior means' I'm referring to the mind's ability to create a false reality to fit the circumstances and to reaffirm the belief. This is a faulty system.


You're probably going to get annoyed with me now, and I wouldn't really blame you. But why is it a faulty system? It works well enough for most of us. What makes you so sure that you've found a better way of experiencing reality?

Faith is an exercise in control of one's own mind, among many other things. I personally find it much more difficult than dissecting and analysing.

Moreover, faith encourages us to look outside of ourselves and our own heads for significance. It affirms our existence as physical and spiritual beings who gain purpose and meaning in their relations with the outside world, especially that part of it that is composed of other humans.

Stories make us human. Faith is all about stories, about understanding stories and how they shape our interior worlds, how they give us paradigms for interacting with the exterior world.

I'm a big fan of faith. I'm not very good at it, but I'm getting better. I'll keep trying



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 01:51 PM
link   

Originally posted by One4truth
reply to post by OldThinker
 


Thank you old thinker! You have put the right perspective on this topic. Charity, which means love in action, is and should be the final outcome of ones faith.



Thank you...

Here's a bit more...


"Universalizers are often more honored and revered after death than during their lives. The rare persons who may be described by this stage have a special grace that makes them seem more lucid, more simple, and yet somehow more fully human than the rest of us. Their community is universal in extent Life is both loved and held to loosely. Such persons are ready for fellowship with persons at any of the other stages and from any other faith tradition."


Source: www.mc.maricopa.edu...

People that move on to stage six overcome the cynicism of stage 5 and endeavor with everything that they are to become the reality they hope for. They wear out their lives in this pursuit through action. These are people who are often martyred by the people they hope to help.
Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa are some that Fowler mentions (pg 203). They had visions to which they have commited their total beings. In this stage, the concept of relevant irrelevance has great importance.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta's ministry illustrates this powerfully. Mother Teresa, a foreign-born nun in her late thirties, head of a girls boarding school, was going on retreat. As she traveled through the city she became overwhelmed by the sight of abandoned persons, lying in the streets, left to die. Some of these forgotten people were already having their not yet lifeless limbs gnawed by rodents. Under the impact of those grim sights she felt a call to a new form of vocation- a ministry of presence, service and care to the adandoned, the forgotten, the hopeless. In a nation and a world where scarcity is a fact of life, where writers and policy makers urge strategies of 'triage' to ensure that resources are not 'wasted' on those who have no chance of recovery and useful contribution, what could be less relevant than carrying these dying persons into places of care, washing them, caring for their needs, feeding them when they are able to take nourishment and affirming by word and deed that they are loved and valued people of God? But in a world that says people only have worth if they pull their own weight and contribute something of value, what could be more relevant?



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 01:54 PM
link   

Originally posted by americandingbat

I'm a big fan of faith. I'm not very good at it, but I'm getting better. I'll keep trying



That's a sweeet line....might even make a good signature!


OT


II Corinthians 12:9


And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 02:37 PM
link   

Originally posted by TruthParadox
Faith is, quite simply, a belief which is void of evidence - sight, sound, smell, feel, or taste.
A belief which can not be verified - only believed by inferior means.
Is it not strange that such an attribute would be considered good in our modern society?


Faith is quite simply, a belief which is void of evidence, putting trust in the belief without fear. Even when the ropes are against you and the finger is pointed at your faults, faith is more powerful than hope. Faith is trust.

Look at it like this, If you looked at some scenarios and wanted them to turn out in your favor, then you would hope for that right? But what if the scenario is predicted to not be in your favor. What if evidence points to your disfavor? well then you still hope. But what do you believe? after the evidence, surely you don't believe in your adversity.
Because if you do, it is likely you will be fearful of it. Not even knowing that your fearful response might have impacted the scenario against you. Faith in fact simply eliminates that. The end result could or could not be in the one who has faith's favor, but the emotional process is.

By all means I'm sure you could train people to have hopes without fears in probable unfavorable outcomes, but having faith is so much easier. That makes faith good in my book.


[edit on 5-1-2009 by juveous]



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 02:47 PM
link   
reply to post by americandingbat
 


No, I'm not annoyed at all
.
I should have made a stronger case for what I'm truly arguing against - religious faith. 100% belief based on no evidence only based on texts which are thousands of years old.
I believe we should take things at face value for what they are. You may be able to list a thousand reasons why faith may be good in a person's life, but I can list 1 reason that, to me at least, is far more important than all the rest combined. The truth.
For 18 years I was satisfied with my faith without even thinking about the hard questions - because my faith didn't allow it.
Now I'm only interested in the truth - good or bad. This opens up your mind to so many options.
As I said before, if your reason for a belief is faith, then that means it can't stand on it's own merrits.
It's like me saying "There's a pink elephant in my driveway. Don't think about it, just believe me." - that's the faith I am arguing against.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 03:09 PM
link   
reply to post by OldThinker
 


That's too complicated
. I'd rather just call it "religious faith"
.

 




Originally posted by juveous
Look at it like this, If you looked at some scenarios and wanted them to turn out in your favor, then you would hope for that right? But what if the scenario is predicted to not be in your favor. What if evidence points to your disfavor? well then you still hope. But what do you believe? after the evidence, surely you don't believe in your adversity.
Because if you do, it is likely you will be fearful of it. Not even knowing that your fearful response might have impacted the scenario against you. Faith in fact simply eliminates that. The end result could or could not be in the one who has faith's favor, but the emotional process is.



This isn't about hopes, dreams, or aspirations, it's about the truth.
Do you want to know the truth?
Certainly you would know that you're only shorthanding yourself if you believe in something just because someone tells you to (religion).
Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you're basically saying that faith is used to cope with the fact that you may be wrong?
But see that's my point, why not be honest with yourself and admit that there is little or no evidence for your belief?
I broke away from religion once I began to be honest with myself, and now I consider myself truely "saved".



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 03:28 PM
link   
I think the OT is full of examples of men and women having faith in what God told them and God rewarding their faith (ie.. Noah,abraham,job,moses,daniel,joshua,etc...). Yheir faith was not in religion but rather Gods word spoken. I also believe they were examples to us as to what faith is. It is doing what God has spoken even though the facts and circumstances don't look good.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 03:35 PM
link   
reply to post by One4truth
 


Can you tell me, in your own words, why you need faith to believe in God?
Just curious.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 03:45 PM
link   

Originally posted by TruthParadox
reply to post by One4truth
 


Can you tell me, in your own words, why you need faith to believe in God?
Just curious.



Sorry for cuttin' in line here. Easy...I was convicted about sin (mine)...righteousness (His)...and judgement (wanted no part of it.


that's what happens when God's Word gets in your heart.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 03:48 PM
link   
reply to post by TruthParadox
 


i just want to say i gave you a star for this thread and i completely agree.
all faith is, is just believing something you cant know. if you knew it you wouldnt need faith. coupled with religious belief i find this as just being an excuse for normally logical people to turn their brains off for certain subjects. this bothers me.

i used to be very religious, but deep deep down i always felt i was being taken advantage of. probably because i was one of the only people in church actually trying to live according to all the rules while everyone else was partying saturday night. the reason i never questioned deeper was because i was told if i questioned, i lacked faith.

and without faith you go to hell.
you can see how this promotes illogical thought.

eventually i began to realize by looking at nature all around me that "God" or whatever you choose to call him is a god of logic. he wouldnt require faith in something someone may or maynot said 2000 years ago...that would be illogical. and then i began my long journey of figuring things out.

but faith is the biggest hinderance to logic and truth that could ever exist.
so thank you for your post.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 04:12 PM
link   

Originally posted by TheRepublic
all faith is, is just believing something you cant know. if you knew it you wouldnt need faith.





Originally posted by TheRepublic
i used to be very religious, but deep deep down i always felt i was being taken advantage of. probably because i was one of the only people in church actually trying to live according to all the rules while everyone else was partying saturday night. the reason i never questioned deeper was because i was told if i questioned, i lacked faith.


I know exactly what you mean...
I believe we've all seen a kid asking his mom or dad a question such as "why is there evil in the world if God can do anything?", to which the reply is often something to the effect of "Don't question God. He does everything for a reason" - or in otherwords, "Don't think about it, logic has no place in religion".
Most Christians are trained at an early age to simply accept what they are told by their superiors...



Originally posted by TheRepublic
and without faith you go to hell.
you can see how this promotes illogical thought.


Yep, fear is a powerful weapon.
I think that's the thing that eventually had me questioning God - Hell.
If he created us to be logical then why would he send us to Hell for being logical?


Originally posted by TheRepublic
eventually i began to realize by looking at nature all around me that "God" or whatever you choose to call him is a god of logic. he wouldnt require faith in something someone may or maynot said 2000 years ago...that would be illogical. and then i began my long journey of figuring things out.


Exactly. It's really easy once you stop and think about it, the problem is that faith rarely allows this. But once you're out of the faith, it becomes easier to see all the fallacies.


Originally posted by TheRepublic
but faith is the biggest hinderance to logic and truth that could ever exist.
so thank you for your post.


Thanks for the reply
. It's interesting to read your experiences with faith - which are similar to my own.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 04:44 PM
link   

Originally posted by OldThinker
Sorry for cuttin' in line here. Easy...I was convicted about sin (mine)...righteousness (His)...and judgement (wanted no part of it.


that's what happens when God's Word gets in your heart.


So humility and fear led you to faith. I can accept that.
But why do you need faith? Is it not because there is no evidence?
It's pretty much a two thousand year old book saying: "yeah, I don't really have any evidence, so just believe me because otherwise you'll go to Hell. Oh yah, and God's a pretty cool guy to. And your a sinner - you need all the help you can get, sinner."



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 04:49 PM
link   
reply to post by TruthParadox
 


Hi Truth:

I believe true faith can not be described as somethig logical and as evidence of something physcial. Faith is believing in what you hope for and certain of what we do not see.

That means faith in any way you use it. Not just as follower of Christ.

To me faith is a good thing. It helps keep me grounded, no matter my day I have faith tomorrow will be better. Because, most likely it will as it has in the past.

As for my faith in God, well, I believe what he said. Never will I leave you or forsake you.

That's the only explaination of FAITH that I need. That right there!


Peace to you,
Grandma



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 04:53 PM
link   

Originally posted by TruthParadox
Faith is, quite simply, a belief which is void of evidence - sight, sound, smell, feel, or taste.
A belief which can not be verified - only believed by inferior means.
Is it not strange that such an attribute would be considered good in our modern society?


No there is no faith in modern society.


Of course the main culprit of this is Christianity, believing that it's a good thing not to have evidence and to simply accept what was written down thousands of years prior and translated multiple times.
Whether you consider it good or bad, it certainly is not logical.


Or beleif in your fellow humans.



The Circle of Faith

I understand the circle because I was a part of it for several years.
Having faith in nothing - to see it come alive in the mind and grow on itself - with no concrete bases whatsoever. The circle of faith is a self affirming belief in nothing in an attempt to make it something.
Each time you pass another lap on this circle, your faith grows, but why it does, nobody knows - except for psychologists, that is
.


Because faith and lack of self perpetuates.



The Effects of Faith

We know today, through psychology, that the mind can be very adept at creating false realities. Having faith in something will eventually cause the mind to look for it and, upon not finding it, create it (in some sense).
There's an old computer saying: Garbage in, garbage out.
The mind is very similar - whatever you feed it will grow and become real in your mind.
Is it any wonder that if you continue the circle of faith for years you will eventually start having 'personal experiences'? If anything, this is a testament to the mind, but if not verified by scientific means, it truly means nothing.


We all have personal expreiences.


So at the simplest level, we see that you must have faith in faith - in effect having faith in a faulty portion of the mind which has power to create whatever reality it sees fit. What sense does that make?


It's also called desire.


Deny Ignorance - Deny Faith

Faith can easily be linked with ignorance.
Faith denies evidence and facts in order to continue a belief.
The denial of facts is ignorance.
The lack of understanding of how evolution works, followed by calling it "ridiculous" or "evilution" - which is, in fact, to spit in the face of some of the greatest minds of the past century, IS ignorance.
To have enough guts to actually learn what evolution IS and then to debate it in an intelligent manner is not ignorance - but faith rarely allows such an honest attempt to understand what does not support the faith.


Being so certain in yourself and not to project onto some reality is also fairly mad.


Any belief you have should be sound enough to stand on it's own merrits.
If a belief system requires you to have faith, then that should be a warning sign to you right there - that the belief system has it's flaws which must be ignored through faith.
Deny Ignorance.
Deny Faith.


And deny crap. Every human intepretation has its flaws. Big deal.


There's a quote by Dan Barker who says it better than I could:


So there's someone you belive in......

"Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits."


No the whole point is that no one knows. And believers can look down on non-believers and you look down on bleievers. You're the opposite side of the same extremist coin.


[edit on 5/1/2009 by redled]



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 05:06 PM
link   

Originally posted by TruthParadox
reply to post by americandingbat
 


No, I'm not annoyed at all
.
I should have made a stronger case for what I'm truly arguing against - religious faith. 100% belief based on no evidence only based on texts which are thousands of years old.
I believe we should take things at face value for what they are. You may be able to list a thousand reasons why faith may be good in a person's life, but I can list 1 reason that, to me at least, is far more important than all the rest combined. The truth.
For 18 years I was satisfied with my faith without even thinking about the hard questions - because my faith didn't allow it.


To me that sounds more like religious fear than religious faith.

I'm not just quibbling over semantics, and I agree that many people who consider themselves to be strong in their faith will tell you that their faith does not allow questioning.

But I think that real faith, whether it's in the Bible, the Holy Roman Church, or the scientific peer review process, will allow or even encourage scrutiny because it knows that it can withstand it; or be rebuilt with deeper understanding if flaws are revealed.


Now I'm only interested in the truth - good or bad. This opens up your mind to so many options.


I think there are truths that can only be expressed in stories, because they are experiential or ephemeral truths. Religions have the greatest repository of stories of any human institution that I can think of – they have the collected wisdom of thousands of years of humans telling about what it is to be human. And they just might have the stories that best express the truth from the point of view of the universe, or the Creator, or whatever you think exists beyond our limited imaginations.


As I said before, if your reason for a belief is faith, then that means it can't stand on it's own merrits.
It's like me saying "There's a pink elephant in my driveway. Don't think about it, just believe me." - that's the faith I am arguing against.


If I could do that, I would have power and control over my own mind that I can't even dream of. Just something to think about.



posted on Jan, 5 2009 @ 05:13 PM
link   

Originally posted by One4truth
Charity, which means love in action, is and should be the final outcome of ones faith.


Anyone can be charitable - you don't need to rely on a non provable belief system to have moral integrity.
Traits like benevolence,compassion,empathy and charity are HUMAN attributes and not religious ones.

Also being 'charitable without reward' is far more admirable than just doing it to score brownie points with god in heaven.





top topics
 
11
<< 1    3  4  5 >>

log in

join