FDT – Faith Development Theory (James Fowler)
August 17, what year? (when did Bergstrand's book possibly read?), forgotten, found Feb-15…
About the author
First Erikson, then Kohlberg.
FDT has seven stages. In line with Fowler's own numbering 0-6.
Like Erikson, Fowler often describes how one stage has two possibilities, one bad and one good.
One cannot understand a stage of faith that is ahead of one (in the future in ASI?).
Any change of stage is preceded or accompanied by a crisis. You've outgrown one stage, but you might be hesitant about the next. The new stage always adds something new and expands what was there before.
Situational crises (deaths, divorces) and development crises (such as Erikson). A situational crisis, if it occurs simultaneously with a development crisis, can prolong or completely stop the maturity of the individual. It can also cause a cleavage (Bergstrand, 1990, p54)
Fowler emphasizes the importance of regression. That the individual returns to earlier phases, "primitive energy sources" and then brings them up to consciousness and they become joy in one way or another (Bergstrand, 1990, p65).
What variables/domains are included in FDT?
Form of logic (Piaget)
Perspective taking (Selman)
Form of moral judgement (Kohlberg)
Bounds of Social Awareness
Locus of Authority
Form of world coherence
"The Order of Grace"
Christianity in our part of the world already has a picture of how a person's faith goes through different stages. This is called the "order of grace." First comes the calling, then the enlightenment through the law and the gospel. Then comes the beatifying faith in Jesus. Finally, sanctification (Bergstrand, 1990). This order of grace is based partly on theological study of the Bible and partly on the experiences of soul-destroyers. Fowler, however, describes "faith" in a broader, more general sense. "It is about how a person's general psychological development is reflected in his faith" (Bergstrand, 1990, p47)
Psychology and Theology are the Foundations
Fowler says he combines psychology and theology. At the center is the belief, how man tries to find meaning in his life (Bergstrand, 1990)
Faith in Fowler is something more general than religious beliefs. He refers to something that applies to everyone, regardless of spiritual or atheistic preferences. It is "the way to create meaning in life and to live according to the meaningful" (Bergstrand, 1990)
To have meaning in one's life, and to subdist this according to what feels right and meaningful, are important tasks for the self (Bergstrand, 1990).
Previously, faith was tied to the religious sphere, but in our time it is no longer so. Fowler has a broad concept of faith in his model. "Faith is for Fowler a hypothetical construction of something universally human, which was previously mainly linked to the world of religion, but which now also appears in other contexts" (Bergstrand, 1990)
It's not better to be at a higher level.
SFT should not be understood as being better or finer to be at a higher level, or to get there. The model should also not be used to value people.
There is an important difference from NA. Christianity has its faith in grace, we are all "lambs of God", etc. and will go to heaven.
Bergstrand clarifies what SFT should not be used for: Not as a map how to get to the higher stages, not to value oneself or others as better or worse, not as psychological or educational goals to fulfill or strive towards.
Bergstrand also comments that although Fowler has a very broad concept of faith and is aimed at a larger circle than the Christian one, he is, however, characterized by his own background and activities. "If he uses a broad concept of faith, however, his main interest is always focused on the Christian faith, and the goal of the development of faith should be to live in the kingdom of God, as Jesus once drew it" (Bergstrand, 1990, p77).
Based on interviews, which partly means that the respondent gets to tell about important events in their life, and how created meaning of them. Partly questions about existential things, how the person answers and reason about them.
Criticism of SFT
Fowler has been criticized for not working through his model enough. He has appointed three dimensions: social perspective, logical thinking, and the development of morality. Other researchers interested in these variables have tested their informants, while Fowler has been content with interviews (Marion Smith, ref in Bergstrand, 1990, p70)
In addition, Fowler is making changes in stages that other researchers have already tested and described. This is allowed, if you want to test new hypotheses, but Fowler (Smith, in Bergstrand, 1990)
Other researchers have argued that a human being may be at different levels when it comes to these different variables. Fowler does not take this into account enough (Bergstrand, 1990)
Fowler's work has a preliminary character (Smith, in Bergstrand, 1990)
He writes about symbols without having investigated what functions they have, which he also admits. You may be expecting an influence from Jung.
Fowler is appreciated for emphasizing the importance of symbols for the development of faith. He shows "how important it is that a faith community can offer people a number of linguistic and ritual symbols, which are sensitive to an increasingly maturing way of understanding and expressing faith" (Smith, ref in Bergstrand, 1990)
In a later presentation (Fowler, 1996), the author emphasizes a few different factors that need to be taken into account when talking about the development of faith: biological maturity, emotional and cognitive development, psychosocial experiences, and "religio-cultural influences". He is hopeful that new methods of imaging processes in the brain will be able to make neurophysiological contributions to the understanding of faith (Fowler, 1996).
Because so many factors are involved, "movement from one stage to another is not automatic or assured. Persons may reach chronological and biological adulthood while remaining best defined by structrual stages of faith that would most commonly be associated with early or middle childhood or adolescence" (Fowler, 1996).
The later stages more speculative
The first stages of FDT lean more on common developmental psychology, cognitive maturity, Piaget and others. The last two stages are more speculative. This may have to do with the fact that the individual's development in adulthood becomes less biologically predictable. Or it's because we're approaching the ideal state, "the perfect man." Fowler himself says, with his Christian background, that this is about the "coming kingdom of God", etc.
Fowler has doubted whether Stage 5 even exists (rather than 6?). He feels that this stage has not been described before. Perhaps for several reasons: On the one hand, literature from a first-person perspective is often written by people from stage 6. On the one hand, literature written from a "bottom perspective" is most preoccupied with things similar to stage 6 – and possibly more easily discerning such things – than the very high-level doubt associated with stage 5?
Stage 5 is "uncritical"
Unlike stage 4 – the adolescen stage? Stage 5 is relatively "uncritical". What does that mean? The individual has here acquired a double vision, constantly attentive to and aware of (and fascinated by!) e.g. the role of his own unconscious in how things will make an impression on him or be perceived. There is no such thing as a complete truth or lie.
It can also be likened to trust. Of young people, we want them to be sceptical, "not ride in foreign cars", because we suspect that they need to be reminded of this. The individual at stage 5 hopefully has such survivability, or rough thinning, at an automatic level. She is kind-hearted and faithful but not gullible, one might say (although the difference is sometimes not easy to see).
The individual at stage 5 is "a veteran of critical reflection". But she wants to go ahead, can't be content with that. "When we neutralize the initiative of the symbolic, we make a pale idol of any meaning we honour" (Fowler, 1981).
A very critical attitude in an older person is often perceived as, precisely, juvenile. Or agitated, displaced anger, etc.
"A second naïvete"
Fowler (referring to Paul Ricoeur) calls this "a second naïvete" (note: the rod). A post-critical level. This one grabs back on a first naivety, from stage 3, perhaps.
0. Primal Faith
According to Fowler, much is happening that becomes important for the development of faith already during the fetal stage, and in the first months of life (Fowler, 1991).
The stage is pre-linguistic. It is shaped by how the child is cared for and treated, and in the interaction with the close surroundings (Fowler, 1991).
This stage lasts until the child has access to the language, i.e. at about two years of age.
In early petitions (Fowler, 1981) he called this stage Undifferentiated Faith. Fowler imagines that the child already here – even in foster life – acquires the first proto-images of a God
The risk with this stage is the relationship with the parents will characterize future life in one of two ways. Either the child's narcissism becomes too strong, which will characterize future relationships — including that of a God — by the individual's desire to remain at the center. Here faith can become a means of achieving narcissian gratuity. The second possibility is that the child will be forgotten (Bergstrand, 1990)
1. Intuitive-Projective Faith
This stage is most typical of the child who is 3-7 years old (Fowler, 1996 x).
God has clear features of the child's experience of the parents and close adults.
The child has now started to be able to move more freely, go on adventures (Bergstrand, 1990). It is dedicated to speech, language.
The First Self-Awareness
Self-conscious in relation to how others view things (Fowler, 1996 x).
A first self-awareness. The child feels that it stands on its own two legs and is valued by others (Fowler, 1996).
Since the child does not yet have access to more advanced defenses, but must rely on such things as denial and splitting, this will also be observed in relation to the image of God. If the child has been mistreated, for example, this may be expressed in the fact that the image of God is divided into a good and an evil part. This can also manifest itself as the child becoming the bad one who deserves an unfiltered treatment of his God (Fowler, 1996).
"Where defenses like splitting and dissociation have been necessitated by parental or other abuse or neglect, either God is likely to undergo splitting as well or the child constructs images of the 'bad' self as being the deserving recipient of the inevitable – and deserved – punishment of a demanding but justifiably angry God. Where inadequate mirroring in the previous stage has resulted in an empty or incoherent sense of self, or where conditions or worth and esteem are such that the child must suppress his or her own processing of truth and experience, we often see the forming of a 'false self' […] In faith terms this can correlate with constructions of God along the lines of a taskmaster deity who requires performance and perfection, or shame and guilt about failures, for one to qualify for grace and approval" (Fowler, 1996, p. 59)
The child is egocentric in a naïve way, has difficulty distinguishing his own perspective from that of others, which entails difficulties in understanding cause and effect (Fowler, 1996).
Should it be resolved or solved? Or is that where the child is occupied by (Fowler, 1996 x).
The ability to understand cause and effect is still far away. It cannot yet separate reality from fantasy. It is egocentric in thought and attempt to understand the world around you. Its thinking is fluid and magical (Bergstrand, 1990).
The child's faith is filled with imagination, imitatively (Fowler, 1996 x).
Grow up too early
If the child is frightened or forced into religious preaching, it can result in a "precocious identity formation", as it mimics the adults (Bergstrand, 1990).
What leads to the next stage
The entry of concrete-operational thinking. And that the child more or less fortunate hatred solved the oedipal (Fowler, 1996 x).
Stage 1 in older individuals
Bergstrand (1990) says that you can encounter older individuals who are at this stage. Then it is often about someone who is either mentally handicapped, or so individuals who are in psychotic or highly regressive episodes. Even very fundamentalist congregations or sects can try to draw individuals into such a way of experiencing and being.
2. Mythic-Literal Faith
This stage begins with the start of school. It lasts about 7-12.
The child has solved the oedipal complex and can move forward in his maturation development and exploration of the world (Bergstrand, 1990)
Fantasy and reality
Understanding what is real and what is not becomes important. What is fantasy and what is real? The Law of Cause and Effect. The imagination can be involved when you play, but otherwise you have to stick to reality.
The different world of the previous stage is covered. The more episodic, intuitive of this period, is now becoming more logical and prosaic (Fowler, 1996).
The child lives in a world that is both literal and mythical (Bergstrand, 1990).
The more episodic nature of the previous stage is now replaced by a more linear, somewhat narrative (Fowler, 1996 x).
Absolute, high ideals
The child begins to have moral ideas and express the ideal that all people are equal, etc., things that recur at higher stages. (I feel sorry for the animals too.)
God is a powerful ruler, but just. The form is "anthropomorphic". God's law and control prevail in the universe. God is good, fair. Goodness is rewarded, bad things punished (Fowler, 1996).
Concrete-operational thinking, based on Piaget (Fowler, 1991).
Fowler refers to a kind of "12-year atheism" that can result when the child realizes that the world is unfair, and prayer doesn't always give an ear — (Bergstrand, 1990).
Control needs, rigid perfectionism, as well as a kind of "work righteousness" (Fowler, 1996 x).
Only the outside counts.
You have no idea of your own or others' inner being. What is on the outside and manifested there is what applies (Bergstrand, 1990).
Symbols are understood literally and one-dimensionally (Fowler, 1996 x).
Stage 2 adults become manipulative
Bergstrand believes that individuals who stay at this stage become self-serving and manipulative, using others to satisfy their own interests and needs. For children, this is natural, but if this attitude remains until later in life, it will, among other things, limit the possibilities of closeness with others.
"Imperialist." Bergstrand points out that there are congregations that try to keep their members at such a stage.
The limitations of this stage are the strong, but one-sided, fairness of the individual, plus understanding things very literally. This can lead to a kind of perfectionism, which Bergstrand (1990) refers to as "deeds"
The child may also begin to discover that adults may have different perceptions on an issue.
Leading to the next stage
Some disillusionment. The literal trait breaks down, one begins to doubt former authorities.
It's not a "quick payoff" universe – in other words, evil or bad persons do not necessarily suffer for their transgressions, and often 'bad things happen to good people'" (Fowler, 1996). For this, Fowler and his colleagues have coined the term "11-year-old atheists," for children who, faced with these new insights, temporarily or for good give up their faith (Fowler, 1996).
3. Synthetic-Conventional Faith
This stage begins in the early adolescens.
Formal-operational thinking, based on Piaget, provides the opportunity to experiment with abstract ideas and concepts. One also gets the ability to take the perspective of others to some extent, and understand that others have an image of oneself (Fowler, 1991).
"Early formal operational thinking" (Fowler, 1996).
The individual begins to see himself with the eyes of others. A new kind of self-consciousness is created, and the work to create a sustainable identity takes a lot of effort. Who am I?
The individual's experience now goes beyond the family. Friends, sports, other associations
The image of God more complex
The image of God is changing. The individual has discovered an interior that is elusive in both himself and others, and also attributes this quality to God. Perhaps the reflexive reaction "but no one can know" a trace of this?
The Ideal World
"From within this stage youth construct the ultimate environment in terms of the staff. God-representations can be populated with personal qualities of accepting love, understanding, loyalty, and support during times of crisis (Fowler, 1996).
Ungomar wrestles a lot with the question of authority. Rejects the parents' opinions, but instead mostly replaces them with others (Bergstrand, 1990).
It is a conformist stage, because it is so set on alignment with the expectations of others (Fowler, 1996 x).
You "know what it's like"
"At that age, you can often know a lot about what you believe in. One can describe one's faith and develop it to others, but the content of faith has something obvious about it" (Bergstrand, 1990)
You are incapable of understanding systems. The young man regards groups as if they are only the sum of individuals who are part of it.
You can't separate symbols from what they symbolize. "The symbols are treated as if they were sacred in themselves and not just bearers of the sacred" (Bergstrand, 1990)
The person may have an ideology, a set of values and beliefs, but is more or less unaware of it (Fowler, 1996 x).
Disagreements will then more often be about "person" than "thing".
"Identity, beliefs, and values are strongly felt, even when they contain contradictory elements" (Fowler, 1996). S61.
Adults at Stage 3
"Stage 3 typically has its rise and ascendancy in adolescence, but for many adults it becomes a permanent place of equilibrium" (Fowler, 1996 x).
This stage is normal for the adolescen individual. But Fowler finds in his material that many remain at this religious stage all their lives. Making the step from this stage to the next, which is that Individuative-Reflective, is probably the most difficult (Bergstrand, 1990)
Two dangers: Either allowing one's one to be shaped too much by the expectations and edicts of others, so that it becomes difficult to move forward. Or by creating "an intimacy with God, who has no contact with the world" (Bergstrand, 1990). "A compensatory intimacy with God unrelated to mundane relations" (Fowler, 1996 x).
When the whole community becomes adolescent
"A culture is in deep jeopardy when it no longer can provide encounters for young people with persons and communities who can satisfy the need for role models committed to lives of truth." One risks "an unthinking allegiance to the empty dogma that all values are individual choices and therefore relative" (Fowler, 1991). S108.
What brings to Stage 4?
That the systems you have been connected to are broken down in one way or another. "Who to trust?" You become sure that others and you can change your mind. At this age, you may also move away from home and be exposed to new demands.
Bergstrand (1990) suggests that the reason many remain at the religious stage of the adolescens is that it is "conventional". "Because faith is conventional more than personally processed, it is a stage that congregations and communities appreciate and favor. But if so, how does that explain NA-aren, if it does?
4. Individuative-Reflective Faith
"The Own, Thoughtful Faith" (Bergstrand, 1990)
20 years, according to Bergstrand (1990). That is, a "young adult". But for many adults, this never becomes a reality. Others reach here first in young middle age, mid-thirties or forties (Fowler, 1996 x).
"Young Adulthood and Beyond" (Fowler, 1996) S62.
Keep or reject?
Things that we have taken for granted must be thought through and possibly rejected. Fowler points out that this stage has similarities to the Enlightenment period, the 18th century. We lose to some extent access to symbols, but gain clarity (Fowler, 1991).
There is a dichotomization, either-or (Fowler, 1991).
The individual begins to "demytologize" (Bergstrand, 1990) his faith and himself. She gets a different relationship with symbols, it becomes a form, its content is something else.
This stage is a place of reassessment, for one's own authority, for pervasiveness. But in a higher, less projecting way than in the adolescens? But the danger is that you will rely too much on your own thinking, your judgment. Great confidence in the conscious side of yourself.
Often overconfidence in one's thinking and consciousness, and without the perception of an unconscious. This can lead to a kind of "cognitive narcissism". An expression of this may be what Dag Hammarskjöld, in Road Signs, calls "confessor pride" (p.
Strengths at this level are the ability to critically reflect on oneself and outlook on life. The danger has to do with this being exaggerated: an overconfidence in its thinking and critical ability. Fowler also sees here a risk of "a second narcissism" (Fowler, 1996 x).
Fowler takes as an example that in different aspects you can stand at different levels. Men who on an emotional level remain in the stage before, but cognitively develop this stage (Fowler, 1996).
The individual develops "an executive ego" that can take over some of the functions given to external authorities so far. There is integration. Who am I behind all the roles? "This doesn't necessarily mean 'individualism,' though in this society the task is often interpreted in individualistic ways" (Fowler, 1991).
"Authority must be shifted from 'the others' to oneself, and the content of faith must no longer be implicit and untested" (Bergstrand, 1990). This is a critical stage, which addresses differences. Either-or.
A "third person's perspective" becomes available to one (Bergstrand, 1990)
The individual needs to acquire an "executive self", to become the center of their own judgments and take responsibility for what values and principles to live their life.
Must begin to take responsibility for their own commitments, perceptions, etc. (Fowler, 1996 x). Fowler also sums it up as "the question of being committed to the relative versus struggle with the possibility of an absolute" (Fowler, 1996 x).
The individual must take back into himself much of the authority that has so far been transferred to others. (Fowler, 1996). (Have a parallel to taking back their projections?) This is a "third-person perspective".
It may become the site of "the healthy narcissism of midlife (Kohut, 1977, 1984, referenced in Fowler, 1996, p64).
Understand that the group is formed and shapes
One begins to understand how the individual is shaped by his environment, their belonging to different groups, and that these groups in turn have a history and are shaped into what they are.
What leads to level 5
Something can still be reminded, pictures and experiences and feelings from the unconscious pocks on. It can also be a feeling of stagnant. Life must have something more to offer. This can lead the individual to the next stage…
Anarchist and disturbing inner voices (Fowler, 1996 x). A nagging feeling of emptiness and sterility.
Perhaps it can be said that the individual here has come to the end of the road? It is a materialistic approach, a reductionist approach. It is also an overconfidence that one can, via a positivist method, be able to expose and describe how it is.
This unconsciousness of one's own internal, hidden processes, can lead the individual to "emotional burnout due to the burdens of the continual conscious process of maintaining the self and its boundaries" (Fowler, 1996). S64.
This is especially true of those individuals who in early years were forced to develop a "false self" (Fowler, 1996).
In many arguments, it becomes clear that most research – and the authors' experiences and frame of reference – is community spirituality. About this stage, Bergstrand writes that it is an advantage if you can take this step in your twenties, and preferably before forty, because otherwise loyalty to your own group will make it more difficult (s30)
Even this stage (Adversarial in ASI?) is the development on a bit of itself. The brain develops to the age of twenty-five, and so on. It is hereafter that the specific worldview or one professes will be a factor to be reckoned with. It will be able to help, or it will invite resistance – also – when the individual will take the next step. This is probably where many people leave or step down on their NA commitment. While the Christian can do more like "a lane change" on the road she is already on.
"A church, where the majority are those who live with the faith that can be described as own and thought out, often feel joy at what one thinks is intellectual clarity and probity in one's own community. This is often disturbed if some members begin to come into contact with unconscious depths in their personality and with other driving forces associated with the connecting faith" (Bergstrand, 1990, p56).
5. Conjunctive Faith
"The Connecting Faith" (Bergstrand, 1990)
Very rare for anyone to reach this stage before thirty. Those who reach this stage usually do so in middle age.
"Midlife or Beyond" (Fowler, 1991)
Characteristic of this stage is "that one can see context in what appears as opposites and that one can live with paradoxes" (Bergstrand, 1990).
"You know that the symbols simultaneously reveal and hide reality. But even if they are relative and are not sacred in themselves, one can still happily use them […] Since nothing can convey contact with reality in a perfect way, one is not disturbed by the imperfection of the symbols one uses. The important thing for you is not that they are imperfect, but that in the midst of their imperfection they can still convey something of reality" (Bergstrand, 1990, p38ff)
Thinking is dialectical.
"This stage involves the embrace and integration of opposites or polarities in one's life. […] that one is both young and old, and that youth and age are held together in the same life. […] that we are both constructive people and, inadvertently, destructive people" (Fowler, 1991).
Unusual before mid-life, Stage 5 knows the sacrament of defeat and the reality of irrevocable commitments and acts. What the previous stage struggled to clarify, in terms of the boundaries of self and outlook, this stage now makes porous and permeable" (Fowler, 1996 x).
Fowler writes about "the seriousness that can arise when life is more than half over" (Fowler, 1996 x).
Paul's words that the good I want I do not do, but the evil I do not want I do.
This stage is distinguished by "[a] paradoxical awareness and embrace of polar opposites" (Fowler, 1996, p66)
"A second naïvite"
A second naivety (ref to Paul Ricoeur, in Fowler, 1991).
A stranger to himself
You discover here that you can be a stranger to yourself, that you have hidden sides within you.
Simply a mature person.
"The danger at this stage lies in the fact that the encounter with the paradox of truth can lead to a crippling passivity, which can then give rise to complacency or to a cynical rejection of reality" (Bergstrand, 1990, p42)
Here is an integration with things that were displaced at the stage before (Fowler, 1996 x). They were held away by too much security.
Something is joined at this stage that was long ago separated. Clear boundaries that the individual worked hard to establish, preserve and justify must now be destroyed (Fowler, 1996).
The individual comes to realize "that its conficence is based at least in part upon illusion or upon seriously incomplete self-knowledge" (Fowler, 1996).
"We are driven and pushed, as well as funded, from underneath by motives, desires, hungers, and lures of the spirit, which we have difficulty recognizing and integrating" (Fowler, 1996). S64.
The individual has come a long way in the development of faith. "Yet he who lives at that stage carries an inner ambience. He lives and acts in a world that is not transformed but full of flaws. He has a deeply entrenched vision of how change could happen. There is a dividedness between vision and reality. He is not yet prepared to come out of that dividedness by living entirely for the vision" (Bergstrand, 1990, p42)
The individual will have to compromise a lot and only a few are driven by this ambiance to the next stage, says Bergstrand (1990).
Taking this step is probably the hard part for the individual with an NA outlook on life. Christian doctrine lends itself more easily to thinking in paradoxes. There is a tradition of mystery, paradox. The resistance comes mostly from the individual himself. "God is both all-powerful and limited. God can be the master of history and become a man who was crucified" (Bergstrand, 1990). For the NA supporter, the doctrine itself will offer greater resistance, or at least as great, as the inertia of one's own consciousness.
The NA doctrine also tempts egocentric musings and answers, effectively blocking access to this stage.
Living with a vision. A world that has not been transformed. To compromise. Only a few will move on to the next stage. Here the difference in outlook on life – between the Christian and the NA – becomes so clear. The Christian worldview works in a certain direction. The world is imperfect. Who can handle it? This is a call to action in The Christian.From the outside of NA, it is different. Not even a balanced "holist" becomes a Martin Luther King.
This contemplation of the polarities – destructive and constructive, young and old – puts the NA supporter to the test.
6. Universalizing Faith
"The All-Encompassing, Total Faith" (Bergstrand, 1990)
Beyond paradoxes and polarizations. Here the individual is passionate, although at the same time free (detached) (Fowler, 1991).
People at this stage have overcome their ambiance. "He has overcome the division and become whole by living for and trying to realize his vision. He no longer tries to make ends meet by compromising reality as it is" (Bergstrand, 1990). What is the reality, in general?
The individual himself seeks "his foundation in being itself or in God" (Bergstrand, 1990)
They often feel uncomfortable with others, even those they want to help. They often die prematurely. Not infrequently, they face resistance from those who live on the connecting stage of faith (Bergstrand, 1990).
"The values they live for are greater and more revered than themselves, and they are prepared to sacrifice their lives for them" (Bergstrand, 1990)
Fowler writes, speaking of Gandhi and others, that they are simply "pioneers of the kingdom of God" (Fowler, 1991). They can be perceived as both liberating and frightening to be close.
"Beyond the Paradoxes"
The power behind this stage is that the individual completes a process of decentration from his own self, his own person, to encompassing a much larger part of the world. This has been done gradually up through the stages (Fowler, 1996). The group of "who counts" has now expanded well beyond "social class, nation, race, gender, ideological affinity, and religious tradition" (Fowler, 1996).s.66.
"De-centration from self" (Fowler, 1996, p.66)
"[E]ach successive stage marks a steady widening in social perspective taking. Gradually the circle of 'those who count' in faith, meaning making, and justice has expanded until, at the Conjunctive stage, it extends well beyond the bounds of social class, nation, race, gender, ideological affinity, and religious tradition. In Universalizing faith this process comes to a kind of completion. In the previous stage persons contiunue to live in the tension between their rootedness in and loyalties to their segment of the existing order, on the one hand, and the inclusiveness and transformation of their visions toward a new ultimate order, on the other. The conjunctive self is a tensional self" (Fowler, 1996, s66ff).
Individuals at this stage avoid polarizing the world between "saved" and "lost" (Fowler, 1996).
All people, even enemies, "are now perceived as children of God or as parts of the common being. They become the ones you have to love radically" (Bergstrand, 1990).
"You begin to fight against evil that exists both in one's own heart and in the society around you, but one never uses weapons that can harm anyone" (Bergstrand, 1990, p43)
They are sources of inspiration for their surroundings, they live as if the vision of the future was already realized.
Who is not at this stage?
In all contexts, there are fanatics who are prepared to fight hard and in their own way self-sacrificing. They are distinguished from individuals at this stage in that the former have a focus that is totalitarian, rather than total. "They fight to take control of others and rule over them." (Bergstrand, 1990)
Not to be confused with "those dangerously charismatic figures who exhibit the kind of manipulative dissociations and psychotic pseudoauthority we have seen in the Jonestown and Waco tragedies" (Fowler, 1996, p67). They are distinguished by the fact that the false leaders demand regressive dependence and obedience from their followers (Fowler, 1996).
"Those who live in the all-encompassing, total faith do not see themselves as members of a particular group with special interests, which they wish to impose on others. They see themselves as part of humanity, as part of creation, of existence. They fight not against others, but for them" (Bergstrand, 1990, p44).
"People with an all-encompassing faith regard themselves as part of a greater reality, a reality that transcends themselves and their own lives" (Bergsten, 1990).
Fowler believes that the individual here completes a development towards "decentering from self" that began early in life. "The self is no longer the center from which one's valuing is done; it's done from an identification with God" (Fowler, 1991)
"Living with felt participation in a power that unifies and transforms the world […] Particularities are cherished because they are vessels of the universal […]" (Fowler, 1996 x).
Until very recently, Fowler writes (1996), only the Jungian analytical tradition could be the individual's help in the transition to stage 5. Based on his ideas about the individuation, he has a lot to say about this stage.
"Overimpressed with autonomous individualism and with rejection of the neuroses assoiciated with conventional religion, humanistic psychologies tended to run out at this point of transition" (Fowler, 1996). S.65.
"People who have reached this stage are not perfect. They have blind spots and limitations. They have personal and moral weaknesses. It is not their intentural morality that is characteristic of this stage of the development of faith. The key thing is that they have taken their vision very seriously" (Bergstrand, 1990, p44).
"They have blind spots, inconsistencies, and they stil exhibit some distorted capacities for relations with others" (Fowler, 1996).s67.
Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Dag Hammarskjöld, is mentioned by both Bergstrand (1990) and Fowler. Here is something to comment on or reflect on, not to take credit for people who have done a lot of good, but to gain perspective on the value system – what is emphasized, and what is perhaps underemphasized – in a Christian conception of man and the world.
Bergstrand (1990) writes about "that in all petitions of a development schedule there are also norms for what means development included" (p57). Science is never freed from such things. It is not only possible to look at how past results can be confirmed. In the survey itself, norms are built in, as in theory. When it comes to development theories, one chooses to consider certain factors or dimensions or variables as central to "development". If they move as expected, development has been demonstrated.
It is especially important to consider what distinguishes the upper stages, what objective is set for development. Fowler has the all-encompassing faith as his goal. This is one of those that the development is culminating in. He himself believes that the description of this form of faith or way of life relates to the Bible and Jesus' teaching of the kingdom of God.
It's no wonder that it's also in the upper stages that Fowler's own outlook on life colors the descriptions extra much. In the early stages, development is more "like on rails" – even if for some it stops at a certain station, according to Fowler – while for the description of the upper ones one can resort to human experience from as one knows, appreciated "elderly" in one's own tradition, philosophical preferences and personal ideals. What it might look like.
Discussion of Fowler's stages
0. D-Primary faith
1. D-Intuitive-projective faith
2. D-Mythic-literal faith
3. Synthetic-conventional faith
4. D-Individuative-reflective faith
5. D-Conjunctive Faith
6. D-Universilizing faith
Here, the circle of "those who count" has grown tremendously. They already had, basically at level 5. This particular characteristic is probably difficult to understand at lower stages. There is a kind of perspective limitation here. We can see through the lower ones, and to some extent those that are just ahead, but far too far ahead they seem fantastic. Possibly, we are also prone to pathologizing them too quickly.
In this "universeist" endeavor lies also a great temptation, perhaps especially for the individual who is attracted to a doctrine like NA. What possible motives can there be – if it is not real universalism? Fear of closeness, inability to close mutual relationships, empathy difficulties. With expressions such as vanity, manipulation, deceit, egocentrism.
Fowler describes how these individuals are often killed by those they want to help. How can it come about? An impartiality like this is probably difficult to conceptualize and understand – and easy to annoy and feel threatened by, and betrayed.
Footnote: An anecdote about Rudolf Steiner is about how he is a candidate for some kind of student council at his upper secondary school. At the school there are various groupings and the candidates go around and introduce themselves to them. On election day, Steiner was unanimously elected. All the groups have experienced that they understood their perspective and listened to them. After some time, Steiner is unanimously ousted, because all groups feel that he has not defended their interests.
A maturity similar to 5-6 can be achieved in principle, especially towards the end of life, and much of the description for these stages then fits in. But the variable that differs may be precisely the extent of one's cares, which ones "count". And here it is not just a larger or less numerical number, as long as you stick to a certain category – for example, all the christians or Muslims in the world, or all citizens of a particular country – because this still becomes a considerable restriction.
Such a widening of care occurs, for example, with secularization, democratization.
One aspect of such a widening of the circle of "those who count" may also be demonstrated by the different phases of the development of Judeo-Christian culture. Moses taught eye-for-eye, which was a challenge for anyone who wishes to claim that justice should be done "until the seventh line", i.e., that the relatives and relatives of the culprit were jointly and severally complicit with their blood ties. An eye for an eye was progress. Christ's doctrine of forgiveness may have been an attempt at reformation that also had some influence over the administration of justice and the public consciousness, but which can be said to be far from being fully implemented. But that it is an idea that involves the gradual widening of such a circle about which one cares.
On the one hand, on the other hand: Wanting to include more (categories) is higher and more desirable than wanting to include fewer. At the same time, we probably have – cognitively, emotionally, etc . – a limitation on what we can really feel sympathy for. Behind the individual trying to go beyond their actual capacity – and also to perceive that he can do this – there may be unconscious motives.
The idealism of youth can be shaken up and become more realistic with the individual becoming a parent, gaining a role and career in society, obtaining loans for housing that needs to be amortized, etc.
Centrifugal forces (idealism, projection, splitting), centripetal forces (biology, realism, parenting). How to look at egocentrism in relation to these two forces is not entirely clear. It is available in both, but possibly with different driving force or to varying degrees recognized.
What characterizes individuals at level 6
How does the definitive at stage 6 differ from different shades of this at lower stages?
How to distinguish the second naivety from the first, and different kinds of non-adaptive regression, in the face of adulthood and responsibility, etc.?
How to distinguish the power and inflight of level 6 from perfectionism or "deeds" at level 2, or from when you "know what it's like" at level 3, or when you have an overconfidence in your own thinking and your own perceptions at level 4?
Fowler assesses the different stages of faith based on the three dimensions: logical thinking, social perspective and moral thinking (Bergstrand, 1990). What possible pitfalls can be seen in the work of a holistic, universalist, and non-killing philosophy like NA?
The underlying hypothesis
In faith terms this can correlate with constructions of God along the lines of a taskmaster deity who requires performance and perfection, or shame and guilt about failures, for one to qualify for grace and approval" (Fowler, 1996, p. 59)
A connection between early experiences and the image of God, as Fowler describes and also many others (Freud, Granqvist, Rizzuto…) is plausible. God's image and relationship will then be shaped from these past experiences. A perception of God who has these traits may have such an origin, but may also have a different basis. That it is simply the result of a philosophical consideration, etc. NA has traits of such a God that Fowler describes may be the result of neglect in early years. For some in NA, this may also be the case, but there may also be a philosophical category (and mixed forms of course). An underlying hypothesis or "mechanism" for this study is that such a philosophy of life as NA – however considered or "true" it may be – in many cases has such an effect on the individual and her inner life, as for the one who perpetuates an old trauma. With activation of such defenses as would then be likely.
NA has an impersonal god. NA is a teaching of deeds. NA teaches that the individual will have to fend for himself, etc.
Here, cognitive psychology, and social psychology, have a wealth of knowledge about how the nature of certain inputs will affect the individual's well-being or life experience in a certain direction completely regardless of how they feel before.
In the fifth stage, the individual makes contact with his unconscious. Towards the end of the fourth, it breaks through. What about NA? Here's an arsenal of performances that keep the subconscious in place for at least a while longer?
The truth is complex
On the fifth level, the truth becomes complex. The individual realizes that the truth must be approached – and can be approached – from many different directions: "[…] this stage exhibits a principled openness to the truths of other religions and faith traditions" (Fowler, 1996). S65. But that's the "mainstream" NA, isn't it?
The individual is caught between the past and the future
The individual is pressured by both similarities with the past, and things that belong to the future.
This applies mostly to the individual at level 3 in ASI. The ideals and doctrine that both move forward — toward the paradox — and backward toward the adolescent.
NA and the total
The power behind this stage is that the individual completes a process of decentration from his own self, his own person, to encompassing a much larger part of the world. This has been done gradually up through the stages (Fowler, 1996). The group of "who counts" has now expanded well beyond "social class, nation, race, gender, ideological affinity, and religious tradition" (Fowler, 1996).s.66. It's easy to recognize NA.
The imperfection of stage 6
"They have blind spots, inconsistencies, and they stil exhibit some distorted capacities for relations with others" (Fowler, 1996).s67.
Does he think of Gandhi, for example, and how he treated his wife?
It is easy to make unreasonable demands on predecessors. But if you have a top stage, then it is worth reviewing what distinguishes this stage. At Fowler, it's "faith." In other stage theorists, it is perhaps something else, and Gandhi might not fit there.
"Those Who Count"
Referring to Selman is one of the domains fowler is based on "social perspective taking". Up through the stages, the circuit "that counts" for the individual gradually widens. Eventually, almost everything and everyone will be included. But what problems can arise when this is ideal too soon? When the individual tries to include all living things, becomes a vegetarian, avoids cut flowers, etc., but is not really? How, if any, will this be noticed?
Thinking about your own thinking
To be able to think about one's own thinking: "Why do I think like this, there is something about authority that I always get started on", etc. What does Fowler say about this, when does this come up?
Which domains are important, indispensable, etc. to assess NA?
Being able to rethink one's thinking, and examine oneself from 3rd position is necessary for spiritual development, but not certainly for ordinary maturity
The circle of individuals "who counts" needs to be great for spiritual maturity, but not for earthly maturity
Moral judgment needs to be at a high level for spiritual maturity, but not for personal maturity
NA and the right attributes
Also this is a trait that we otherwise recognize most in young people To add to the right attributes, of which there are a variety – and often arranged hierarchically, so that different corresponds to different "levels of development": mixed diet, vegetarian diet, vegan diet and fruit diet respectively. Heterosexual, homosexual, "all-sexual".
There is something about the doctrine that easily encourages and misleads the individual to look at himself and evaluate and play with their own appearance, in adolescence.
This is also an effect of an imbalance in the "what counts" hierarchies.
Interviews are reminiscent of Fowler's.
The interviews that form the basis of this study were partly set up as Fowlers, it later turned out. People were asked to talk about their views on God, the theodicé problem, development, close relationships, etc.
Stadium 3-6 (0-2 to a lesser extent)
We're going to concentrate on the later stages of Fowler's model. The first stages are probably more driven by biology. Development of thinking, Piaget. Stage 3, and we're a bit like 4 as well. But 5 and 6 are more utopian. These are also not stages that most people reach.
Bergstrand, G. (1990) From naivety to naivety. Verbum.
Fowler, J. M. (1981) Stages of Faith. The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning HarperCollins
Fowler, J. M. (1991) Weaving the New Creation. Stages of Faith and the Public Church Harper San Francisco.
Fowler, J. M. (1996x) Stages of Faith [in Womens's Spirituality. Resources for Christian Development. Paulist Press]
Fowler, J. M. (1996) Faithful Change. The Personal and Public Challenges of Postmodern Life Abingdon Press.
Hammarskjöld, D. (1963). Road signs. Bonniers