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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index



Stages of Faith: the Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning

Fowler, James W. (1995)
HarperSanFrancisco.


ISBN:0-06062866-9 paperback
0-06062840-5 hardcover


Description: paperback, xiv + 332 pages

Contents: acknowledgments, introduction, 24 chapters in 5 parts, Part 1. Human Faith, Part 2. Windows on Human Development: A Fictional Conversation, Part 3. Dynamics of Faith and Human Development, Part 4. Stages of Faith, Part 5. Formation and Transformation in Faith, Appendix A: The Research Interview, Appendix B: Interview Analysis and the Characteristics of Our Sample with G. Melton Mobley, index.

Excerpt(s):

Chapter 22. Mary's Pilgrimage: The Theory at Work

Mary: ... When I was recuperating from this attempt on my life, the Lord began to show me that there was a divine law and that I had violated it, and that as why I was having all these unhappy effects on my life. But I was only seeing it in a very vague way to start with. And then, about three weeks after I tried to kill myself, I had a really exceptional experience on LSD. I can't deny that it was really a spiritual experience. It was just revealed to me in such a real way during this experience that our only purpose on earth is to worship and glorify the Lord - that our whole purpose is to be filled with his spirit and to worship him. And yet, I had no concept of Jesus Christ as Lord, but this experience revealed to me the reality of God, that there is a spiritual other. (pages 219 - 221)

... By far the symbol for transcendence most frequently used by Mary is "the Lord." If we review her uses of this term and of the related symbols "Jesus Christ" and "God," we find that in a few instances she differentiated between them. In paragraph 7, after saying that "... the Lord was really working in my life to draw me to himself ..." she tells about the impact of the experience she had while on LSD. " ... It was just revealed to me in such a real way during this experience that our only purpose is to be filled with his Spirit and to worship him. And yet, I had no concept of Jesus Christ as Lord, you know. I had ... but this experience really revealed to me the reality of God, that there is a spiritual other. (page 250)

... You will note that I have extended the Piagetian stages of formal operational thinking to include three substages or "styles" of formal operations we find useful to distinguish in dealing with faith interviews. We see a dichotomizing style at Stage 4: this is a logic which, in dealing with symbols, beliefs and propositions, is particularly attuned to making distinctions and establishing boundaries. Dichotomizing logic tends toward "either/or" distinctions. At Stage 5 we see a dialectical style of logic. In dialectic, truth requires maintaining and honoring the tensions between various perspectives on a complex problem or issue. Dialectical logic is alive to and appreciative of paradox, that the truth appears in the "coincidence of opposites." The logic associated with Stage 6 - the synthetic form - carries forward the strengths of the previous stages, but it overcomes the paradoxical by discerning and responding to a "oneness in and beyond the many." (pages 252 - 253)



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