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Thread: Fi as faith

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    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    Default Fi as faith

    holistic belief reasoned out/explored/discerned through personal reflection, resonance, and harmony.

    i don't know how much narrative plays in the construction of Fi faith (read: holistic, emotional truth).

    e4 infps have the light/dark duality thing, partly because they can envision any character no matter how conventionally good or bad and see both defect and equanimity. wrestling with the whole of integrity at the level of the self, and privileging it over and above all other forms of meaning/truth.

    where do they eventually find their faith, if they do? what processes can lead them to it? how does Si help with this kind of integration as a kind of finishing touch? what kind of negotiation process must go on between Fi and Ne to become a more adaptive form of faith? how do the contrasting bits and pieces lead to a more unified Fi or if not unified, a deeper discernment of the whole (or is it specific value judgments that create laws and a kind of ethical order of operations?), or a deeper, more foundational faith?

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    Quote Originally Posted by the state i am in View Post
    where do they eventually find their faith, if they do? what processes can lead them to it?
    Whew... big questions. I don't know.

    Fi seem to evaluate itself over and over again and change slowly. I guess if you can align it with some religion then you can explain the Fi being the faith of that religion. But then you should be able to keep it there, and if there are things that makes the Fi redirect itself, then you'll have trouble.

    Personally, my Fi was never compatible with mainstream Christianity. If it is compatible at all, it would be either with the Christian mysticism or some form of Buddhism.

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    Consulting Detective Mr. Sherlock Holmes's Avatar
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    It seems I have a lot of Fi and no faith. But I also have a lot of Ti.

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    this is a really hard question. questions.

    i guess for me faith is a lot about what feels right, so that's a Fi thing. i was raised in a fairly strict, conservative religion and, while i appreciated the more "spiritual", congregational, and traditional aspects of it, i was never comfortable with so many of the rules being what i considered stupid and pointless. i didn't understand why religion needed to be so unnecessarily complicated - sounds like a bit of Te thrown in there - and i really just flat-out hated the idea of hell. the fact that my parents weren't particularly religious themselves was probably an influence as well - but they understood the importance of being educated in a religious tradition, which i am grateful for. it gave me both a lens from which, and an impetus to, begin searching elsewhere for other beliefs.

    the way i got to my new place of faith was mostly by, upon completing the 8th grade at my religious school, going on a huge personal research project to check out other religions, learn about them, and determine where i stand. mysticism always appeals to me, because i think it touches on the important idea of experiencing the divine for oneself, without any mediation - and it encourages the cultivation of awareness. it also stands at the brink of being organized religion without succumbing to what i see as the pitfalls of religion by authority. that seems like a Fi-oriented thing. but then, i also really enjoy the stability and tradition of a religious community - Si-like things, i suppose. tradition is important to me, and not because it's the tried-and-true way, but because it's a way of connecting past to present and it encourages unity across differences.

    so i studied bunches of religions, and loved elements of many of them, but none resonated with me enough to take on. i always had lingering ethical (Fi) or logical (Ti) problems. i finally have settled in panentheism (theistic monism); this is broad enough that it allows me plenty of room to keep exploring and integrating - what you said about Fi-Ne adaptability, i suppose - but i am also happy to have a term that succinctly gives another an idea of what i believe. i think what is most important to me is connection - i believe all is one and i believe connecting with one another is a good thing. it's rather Ne of me, really at the core of myself i have one foundational belief that i have always had, which is that our existence is fundamentally good and purposeful - or, at least, that we can choose to make it such. i suppose everything else is built around that. and i do not know where that belief comes from - perhaps in part from the constant and unwavering love and support my parents flooded upon me from the moment i was born - but it makes sense both in my heart and in my mind.

    anyway, i think that the religious search has been very good for me, in that my ethical system - my Fi construct, in a way - was constantly being exposed to seeing and weighing new ways of seeing the world. and, of course, still is. i think it also better helps me to understand how others can have certain beliefs, and why people of certain beliefs would behave in certain ways. i recently took several philosophy courses and they really forced me to look at my sense of ethics, too, which i had previously not really connected to my sense of spirituality. they are still not completely integrated, but i think they are more harmonious now that i have had to give them explicit thought and explain them to others. one of the difficulties about Fi is that it's all inside, and sometimes you know that something is wrong but you're not immediately sure why. having to express my beliefs subjected them to logical (T) analysis, and some of my own logically contradictory assumptions became more clear; i think that was really good for my own personal balance, to have Fi tempered. i've recently taken up the metaphor of Fi as a wild horse - to be befriended and allowed to run free, but calmed such that she is not destructive to herself or others. T helps. so in addition to "existence is/can be made good/purposeful", i have discovered that i operate off a few really core tenets such as "all life is important", "all humans should be loved and granted basic respect", and, since this topic is getting all too serious, "blue cheese is the scum of the earth."

    i hope that begins to get at what you were asking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    i recently took several philosophy courses and they really forced me to look at my sense of ethics, too, which i had previously not really connected to my sense of spirituality.
    Care to elaborate? I think this is very important aspect of the question of religion/spirituality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    Care to elaborate? I think this is very important aspect of the question of religion/spirituality.
    sure, sorry it took me a while to get back to you.

    i agree that the two are tightly intertwined, and when i broke with the catholic church, i was at first really hoping to find another religion that i could adopt whose whole paradigm i could incorporate into my life. i hoped to find a "home", so to speak. unfortunately, i did not feel comfortable enough with anything i found, so i tried cherry-picking a bit. that worked out nicely, and then i tried to boil things down to their core, at which point i discovered the "panentheist" term.

    but what i found is that i had a few very strong, very broad spiritual concepts that i believe:
    - all is one; one is all
    - there is a divinity that is both within us and more than us
    - that divinity can be invoked and manifested in all sorts of ways; there is no one right path
    - all life is important; all humans are inherently valuable and should be loved
    - life itself is valuable and meaningful, or at least we can choose to make it so

    and i studied and picked up some other principles and ideas from traditions like judaism, sufism, taoism, etc., but it never really got to the street level, if you know what i mean. there was a bit of a disconnect between the theory and life in practice. so when i took this ethics class that started asking me questions like "do you have a moral obligation to donate money to the poor?", i had to make a lot of decisions regarding more specific situations, including things like weighing one life against another, or a certain outcome over an uncertain one, and so on. it was a much more tangible type of thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    and i studied and picked up some other principles and ideas from traditions like judaism, sufism, taoism, etc., but it never really got to the street level, if you know what i mean. there was a bit of a disconnect between the theory and life in practice. so when i took this ethics class that started asking me questions like "do you have a moral obligation to donate money to the poor?", i had to make a lot of decisions regarding more specific situations, including things like weighing one life against another, or a certain outcome over an uncertain one, and so on. it was a much more tangible type of thought.
    Ah, ok... I get it. It's kinda like seeing how far you will go in real life to honor your faith. Reminds me of a funny thing Alan Watts used to say. He was pointing out that no one really buys the idea of hell, not even the people who go through their bible with a magnifying glass. Otherwise they would be going on the streets like crazy trying to make people save themselves, they would have the most horrible ads in tv about it.

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    lol! yeah that's so true. if i really believed in hell i would be deadset on converting every single person i really liked.

    one of the things that was not so appealing to me about the church community in which i grew up was that i saw a group of people who would apply the really detailed rules in regards to church (like, who is allowed to do certain things, etc.) and for religious ceremonies, but they wouldn't apply the rules in regular situations. i suppose to an extent that really attending to religion in the context of religion and not so much in all other contexts makes sense in some ways, but it was also slightly annoying to hear these people declare how faithful they were!

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    Well, then religion is not more than remembering the manners at the table. Of course that's fine if we just admit it, that we like to go to the church on Christmas because the ceremony is nostalgic and the building looks awesome...

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