Summary of Findings of Stages of Faith Development

Fowler (1981, 1984, 1987) considered that the stages of faith development are invariant, sequential, discreet and hierarchical, as explained before.

Table 7.33 Findings on stages of faith development in the life of Paulo Coelho

Historical periods in the development of Paulo Coelho

Stages of faith development in the life of Paulo Coelho

Faith development stages in the life of Paulo Coelho


Stage 0


Stage 1


Stage 2


Stage 3


Stage 4


Stage 5


Stage 6

1. Coelho’s early childhood (1947-1953)


2. Childhood and schooldays (1953-1961)



3. The teenage years (1962-1966)



4. The twenties (1967-1976)


5. The thirties (1977-1986)


6. The forties (1987-1996)



7. The fifties (1997-2006)


8. The sixties (2007-2016)



Source: Researcher’s own construction

Stages of faith development in the life of Paulo Coelho

Coelho has moved through the stages chronologically. The data show that Coelho’s development (see Table 7.33) moved from Stage 0 in early childhood (1947-1953), through Stage 1 in childhood and during his schooldays (1953-1961) and Stage 2 in his teenage years (1962-1966). Stage 3 stretched into Coelho’s life from his teenage years (1962-1966) to his twenties (1967-1976), while Stage 4 occurred during his thirties (1977-1986) and forties (1987-1996). Finally, Coelho experienced Stage 5 during his fifties (1997-2006) and sixties (2007-2016). A little information is provided indicating Coelho’s movement towards Stage 6 during his sixties (2007-2016). However, he has not completely reached this stage, particularly when compared with others, such as Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela who lived their lives in the service of others.

Generally, Coelho appears to be a rather self-related and independent individual who has hardly felt restricted by social groups, socio-cultural values and norms from his teenage years onwards. During his life, he has always strived to move beyond socio-cultural boundaries, limitations and restrictions to fulfil his life’s dreams. However, the perceived potential limitations have not been without emotional impact. Throughout the different life periods, Coelho experienced highly positive and motivational feelings to develop spiritually and to be a famous and successful writer. At the same time, he also experienced strong depression, frustration, fear and loneliness, which were related to his dream’s fulfilment, to his spiritual quest and to his acceptance of his light and shadow sides. His unbalanced feelings and his emotional restlessness have contributed to the desire to develop himself spiritually and grow personally through the faith development stages while fulfilling his vocation and life’s dream.

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