Psychologist James Fowler’s research published in 1981, Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning (HarperSanFrancisco,
1995), outlines seven stages of faith development from birth to old
age. In his approach to faith development, he’s not concerned about the
content of faith. Instead, he’s trying to describe ways of being in
faith, of holding beliefs, of knowing and valuing. Four of the seven
stages may occur in adulthood:
• “I believe what the church believes.” Beginning in early adolescence a person gathers beliefs from family, peers and church and brings them together. This may be largely unconscious as faith is defined by what family and church or other outside authorities believe.
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