Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Evolutionary Faith, Personhood, and Traditional Understanding, an Oxymoron?

Christian faith has changed depending on science's understanding of the physical world. Today's challenge is in understanding what defines the human person and faith.

Child psychologist, and human developmental theories all hold that the person is developed within the confines of the social structures of family, church, and society. These identification factors have been understood for years, but have recently been underlined by research in neuroscience. What happens to us in our childhood becomes imprinted on our brains, so understanding faith becomes about how a child is raised in a tradition. Tradition's conditioning helps to develop the child's social conscience, self-concept and self awareness.

But, is tradition, in a religious sense, necessary to develop the person into a respectable, self-regulating, self-motivated and self-directed individual? No, for reason is a part of the individual, irregardless of tradition. In fact, tradition may inhibit the full development of the individual, depending on the tradition's teachings and understanding of faith.

A mature faith and personhood believes and trusts that the convictions, understandings, and commitments of the individual in the present is not about "being right with God", but about being true to oneself, in one's understanding, convictions and commitments. It is resting in who God made you to be and extending yourself in areas that are values that affirm those understandings and commitments.

Social structures and tradition can inhibit or benefit the person in development and do not have to determine the person's mature commitments, identifications, values, or understandings.

No comments: