5 Responses to Beyond badge-wearing and flag-waving

  1. johnm55 says:

    Excellent post Harvey.
    It feels like where I was about six years ago. I came to the conclusion that the only truth that I could understand and prove to be true was what mattered. A lot of what I had been taught so obviously did not accord with reality that it was rejected, other stuff, little questions like “does a god actually exist?” had to be put into the box titled Can’t Be Proved. My path took me away from Mainstream Christianity to a place somewhere on its edge. I still have a lot of time for people like Maggi Dawn, Brian McLaren, Giles Fraser, and of course yourself. I might not accept everything you say, but there is Truth there.
    Perhaps I should rename my blog The Agnostic Christian.


    • Thanks John! I certainly wouldn’t want you to accept everything I say (I probably won’t even accept all of it myself by this time next week!).

      Where I might possibly differ slightly from your position is that I don’t think I attach quite the same degree of importance to proof. I do think it’s hugely important to have good reasons for your beliefs, but I’m sceptical that anything can be proved beyond reasonable doubt. That’s the subject of my next post, oddly enough… to give a preview quote, “In one sense, we can’t know anything for certain… but we don’t have to have scientific proof of all of our ideas and beliefs before we can act on them.”

      There’s actually a great book by Leslie Wetherhead called ‘The Christian Agnostic’, which is on my bookshelves somewhere…


  2. Liam says:

    It’s back to The Stages Of Spiritual Growth?
    James Fowler’s Model
    Stage 0: “Primal or Undifferentiated” faith (birth to 2 years)
    Stage 1: Intuitive-Projective Faith (ages three to seven)
    Stage 2: Mythic-Literal Faith (mostly in school children)
    Stage 3: Synthetic-Conventional Faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood)
    Stage 4: Individuative-Reflective Faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties)
    Stage 5: Conjuctive Faith (mid-life crisis)
    Stage 6: Universalizing Faith or what some might call “enlightenment”


    • Yes, sorry, am I starting to repeat myself? 😉

      The Stages of faith development (or whatever you like to call them) are one of this blog’s central ideas and have been very helpful to me, so I will touch on different aspects of them from time to time. I think the idea that faith can be seen as a progression (or a life-cycle) is particularly helpful to people like me who are starting to feel dissatisfied with the more rigid ‘fundamentalist’-style faith structure/package of beliefs they’ve held till now, and are looking to move on (or in some cases move out).

      I appreciate Fowler’s model as he was one of the first to take these ideas seriously, but I don’t really agree with his schema which I think is a little too prescriptive and too age-based. I also find his labels overly technical and not particularly meaningful! So I favour Scott Peck’s adaptation/simplification, and also more recent work done by people like Alan Jamieson.



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