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Critical responses to Faith Development Theory: A useful agenda for change?

Coyle, A (2011) Critical responses to Faith Development Theory: A useful agenda for change? Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 33 (3). 281 - 298. ISSN 0084-6724

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Abstract

Since it was first presented, James Fowler's faith development theory has proven influential in pastoral care and counselling, pastoral and practical theology, spiritual direction, and Christian education. However, it has also been subject to substantial critical evaluation. This article reviews the major themes within psychological critiques and considers the agenda provided by these critiques for the theory's future development. Critical themes concern Fowler's understanding of “faith“; the theory's structural “logic of development“; its overemphasis on cognition and lack of attention to (emotional/psychodynamic dimensions as) processes of transition and transformation; its gender bias and cultural specificity; and its purported difficulty in accommodating postmodern trends in psychology. To address these critiques in a meaningful way, there is a need to embrace alternative existing theories of faith development and spiritual/religious change, to construct a radically revised, process-focused version of faith development theory, and to continue to develop new localized process models of faith development.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Archive for the Psychology of Religion. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 33 (3), November 2011, DOI 10.1163/157361211X608162. Brill Academic Publishers.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Faith Development Theory, meaning-making, process models, religious development, stage structure
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Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2011 15:29
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013 18:53
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/25591

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