Basic Assumptions in Faith Development Theory Revised

Fowler (1981) highlights “faith-as-a-process”, influenced by the life context and experiences. The findings show that Coelho’s faith is influenced by his direct life forces, but not so much by global events.

Coelho’s knowledge is strongly based on his commitment and faith (as explained by Fowler, 2004) and influences the basic core values that he follows. Faith serves for Coelho as a copying strategy to deal with daily challenges (Fowler & Dell, 2004), to create meaning and to fulfil his life dream of becoming a writer (Arias, 2001; Coelho, 2003b, 2011; Morais, 2009).

Fowler (1987, p. 55) states that “The emergence of awareness, of reflective consciousness and eventually of various kinds of self-reflectiveness, comes in humans as a gradual and difficult sequence of developmental construction” (Fowler, 1987, p. 55). This awareness and self-reflectiveness develops early and strongly in Coelho throughout his life and is expressed in his autobiographical works.

As Astley (2009) highlights, the theory concentrates on faith as a form, rather than on faith as a content (the “how” of faith). This study, however, emphasises the content of Paulo Coelho’s faith while analysing its form and the way in which it has developed across his life span. Therefore, it is argued that by applying Fowler’s life span theory, the “how” and the “what” are addressed in this study.

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