Sunday, January 20, 2013

The skeptical phase

Most of us who have hung out together on the blogs in the last couple years have been in a skeptical frame of mind. We want proof. We want to know if what we believe has merit. Where is the evidence? Have I been believing a lie?

It is interesting to note that two prominent psychologists of religion have identified a skeptical phase in religious maturation. Most good, loyal, church-going Christians never get to this phase. They stay squarely within the confines of the box. So, are we to be congratulated that we have moved beyond them? If you're waiting for the pat on the back, good luck. We get it from each other; that's about it.

I am going to describe the skeptical phase of both Fowler and Peck. Actually, I am going to lift them straight from this web site.

Fowler's Individuative-Reflective stage

"This is the tough stage, often begun in young adulthood, when people start seeing outside the box and realizing that there are other "boxes". They begin to critically examine their beliefs on their own and often become disillusioned with their former faith. Ironically, the Stage 3 people usually think that Stage 4 people have become "backsliders" when in reality they have actually moved forward."

Peck's Skeptic-Individual stage

"Those who break out of the previous stage usually do so when they start seriously questioning things on their own. A lot of the time, this stage ends up being very non-religious and some people stay in it permanently."

So... there are labels for us!

Both Fowler and Peck describe stages which move beyond the skeptical. Time will tell whether we will move forward again, through another metamorphosis, or stay comfortably where we're at.