Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Personal Opinion

Some things in life are a matter of personal opinion, at least in free societies. This is where I believe  "faith claims" belong. "Faith claims" are a matter of choice, not a matter of determination. One's "cultural heritage" is a matter of determination, but free societies allow for development beyond "cultural determination" which is found within one's family of origin.

The Church, though, survives on "cultural determination", because of their belief in "God". A particular view must be affirmed for there to be "social cohesion" within a particular denomination. Such are Church doctrines which prescribe differences of understanding "faith". 

I do not believe that anyone has the right to usurp a person's personal values by force, or emotional blackmail. That is my personal opinion and my right as an American citizen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Human Development"

Humans develop within communities or contexts, which can affect how the future is understood or experienced by a particular individual. Humans in American society are free to associate with a particular community for specified reasons once they become of age. Even "family" is a chosen value in our society, as family is formed by consent and not by force or determination.

Because humans are dependent on the community of "family", when they are young, it is important that family meet the child's needs. Children will develop regardless of "family dynamics", but what they will learn from their experiences in family will not "die" easily, as family is the first teacher of "what is to be expected" from the world. Trust that one's basic needs will be met is pivotal in a child's sense of security. And security is the basis of expectation or hope for the child. Children learn many "lessons" from their parents, and most of these are not "formal" lessons.

Good parenting seeks to not only attend to the physical needs of the child, but the emotional needs of the child. A good parent does super-impose their preferred interests upon the child, if the child shows an interest in other things. The "good parent" is attuned to "listen" and watch for signs of the child's innate gifts and give the child opportunities to develop and associate with those with similar interests.

Teachers are also important in human development, as teachers give the child basic foundations to function within society. And as the child grows toward adulthood, more and more specification of personal interests are developed, unless these interests have been stunted by "fundamentalist parenting".

I find that "faith" is something one outgrows, as one becomes a self responsible adult. Adults in our society are not to be dependent, but independently secure about what they value, and where they want to put forth their efforts in society. Doesn't independence and self responsibility bring about societal flourishing?

Unfortunately, those that want to control others do so with promises of security. And those that for one reason or another feel "lost" usually respond to such appeals to human emotion, but at a great cost. The costs is the fundamental right to choose life, liberty and one's own pursuit of happiness (property).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Where Are You on the Spectrum of "Faith"?

Human development seems to follow a certain path intellectually, morally, and as to faith. And I have come up with what I think are ways that I can easily grasp or categorize people as to their views and commitments about "faith".

The categories I have been considering are:

1) Secular Protestant Faith- This is a "secular faith", as faith is only a symbol of something else, that is important to the person themselves, but does not have to be. This kind of faith is an atheistic faith, but could choose to attend church as a social organization for community service and personal associations. Government is self government within any kind of government, though a Constitutional Republic would be considered the best environment to develop this faith intellectually, as it allows for free thought and free expression apart from "faith communities" and it allows for mutual contractual social arrangements.

2.) Secular Catholic Faith- This faith is a faith that believes in the institution of the Church as complimentary to the institution of Government. Church has a function within society, as to human development. Human Development grows best within communities and grows within broader and broader spectrum of the world (family, church, school, local community, state concerns).

3.) Natural Protestant Faith- A belief that the natural world grants inalienable rights to individuals via a benevolent "power". Men have the right and power to create society/government and investigate and create within the natural world. This is the faith of the Declaration of Independence and the Founding Fathers. Agnosticism or Deism describes this faith.

4.) Natural Catholic Faith- A belief in a Benevolent God that has created a Moral Order that is established apart from human creation. Humans have a duty to establish the moral order of government so that man can develop in the right environment. Family is the epitome of the natural order, while government is "God's authority on earth".

5.) Supernatural Protestant Faith- Faith is individualized such that one can have personal faith/relationship with "a personal God" (the supernatural realm). God consciousness is sought through prayer, meditation and communion. Faith precedes and supersedes community, as proof of true and growing faith.

6.) Supernatural Catholic Faith- A belief that God inhabits the community of the Church, has established Church as the only one and true community and true faith will leave earthly communities as proof of "true faith". This is the faith of monks and nuns or priests and the consecrated (Ana baptists).

Each kind of "faith" is acceptable in our society, but unfortunately, such ways of understanding faith, "God", the Church and Government leads to conflict.

People that have the later 3 kinds of faith tend toward exclusivity because of their dependence on supernaturalism and community. Whereas, people that identify with one of the first 3 categories have an easier time finding their place, as they tend to choose their commitment to faith, more than the others.

(My thinking has been influenced by William Perry's Intellectual Development; James Fowler's Faith Development; and Thomas Kohlburg's Moral Development}