Personal Response to James Fowler’s Six Stages of Faith It is important to recognize in this discussion of moral development and the emerging cognitive development of young adulthood is extremely susceptible to social and ethical scaffolding. It must be admitted that university education is no longer “universal” from the perspective of being exposed to conflicting philosophies/ world-views without bias. Most university instructors (secular) will mentor toward their own personal bias.
Berger (2011) in her “Faith and Tolerance” commentary questioned those students who demonstrated a certainty of faith as “immaturity… o Pat, too unquestioning” (p. 506).
Fowler’s stages of faith follow Kohlbergs stages of moral development from the perspective that as individuals become more educated and more mature they become less selfish and more moral. Historically this is not verifiable. Fowler and Kohlbergs stages of faith and moral development rely heavily upon social and cultural norms. They also assume a “closed system,” where no absolute truth or standard of morality exists. Berger (2011) supports this supposition in stating, “indeed culture determines whether or not a particular issue is a moral one” (p.
03).This is true, as illustrated by the current abortion debate. National statistics also reveal the current culture’s attitude on divorce. But if culture is the determining voice of morality, a catastrophic element is inserted into society. The eventual outcome is seen in William Goldings Lord of the Flies, it was culturally moral to eliminate the undesirables, the unwanted, and those that were unproductive. Fowler’s use of theological ignorance to support certain stages reveal an ignorance of the simple objective faith of a child, and assuming it is simplistic in ignoring true nd complex factors.
The growing faith of a child may question values of culture and approval of other people, but it may not be detached from what is truly moral and ethical. The Abolition movement reveals people of faith questioning the cultural values and norms of the South in the 1850’s. Fowler’s supposition in stage 5 is certainly descriptive of mature faith, but the transforming experience of stage 6 is normative for those who commit their lives to the Lordship of Christ. Lastly, Fowler is incorrect in his assumption that faith is an aspect of humanistic cognitive progress.
Faith from a biblical perspective is the result of specific revelation from the outside breaking in and revealing my narcissistic rebellion against a holy God. Then by the power of Christ (via His Spirit) endows me with the ability to alter my life direction (repentance), commit to His Lordship, values, world-view, and experience transformation that Fowler states is rarely achieved. Resource Berger, K. S. (2011).
The developing person through the life span (8th ed. , pp. 2-725). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Cognitive development By melaniel 961