Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Faith Development Theory

  • Curtis W. HartEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_229

Faith Development Theory: An Overview

Faith Development Theory is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the evolutionary process of the development of religious/spiritual values and behavior in the human life cycle. The articulation of faith development theory began in the 1980s with the work of James Fowler and colleagues, and it has found a significant place in theological discourse and in some cases cultural studies as well. Its genesis took place when Fowler was involved in his doctoral studies and was immersed in the work of theologian and ethicist H. Richard Niebuhr. Niebuhr’s prototype of a faith development paradigm had in turn been stimulated by his contact with a portion of the work of Alfred North Whitehead. Fowler’s theory is typically taught to theological students and is shared with practicing clergy and interested laypersons as a means of providing a process-based understanding of the way that faith changes and transforms in the lives of individuals. Feminists...

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  1. Fowler, J. (1981). Stages of faith the psychology of human development and the quest for meaning. San Francisco: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  2. Fowler, J., & Lovin, R. (1980). Trajectories in faith. Nashville: Abingdon.Google Scholar

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Weill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA