Fowler's Faith Stage Theory
Explanations > Learning
Theory > Fowler's Faith Stage Theory
James Fowler investigated and developed a stage theory for the development of religious faith.
In practice, it is also applicable to other areas of general
Kirst-Ashman and Zastrow (2004) add a 'Primal or Undifferentiated' stage
prior to stage 1. This includes
stages and entry into the
It is perhaps an interesting hypothesis as to whether faith exists or is more
pure in Lacan's pre-lingual, pre-mirror
phase stage of
||Egocentric, becoming aware of time. Forming images that
will affect their later life.
||Aware of the stories and beliefs of the local community.
Using these to give sense to their experiences.
||Extending faith beyond the family and using this as a
vehicle for creating a sense of identity
||The sense of identity and outlook on the world are
differentiated and the person develops explicit systems of meaning.
||The person faces up to the paradoxes of experience and
begins to develop universal ideas and becomes more oriented towards other
||The person becomes totally altruistic and they feel an
integral part of an all-inclusive sense of being. This stage is rarely
When working with people's beliefs and especially those around religion, take
account of where they are. Of course, you should listen carefully and test for
their stage before taking further action.
Fowler, J. (1971). Stages of Faith, Harper and Row, San
Kirst-Ashman, K.K. and Zastrow, C. (2004). Understanding human behavior
and the social environment (Sixth ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole—Thomson