Spiritual Development From A Cognitive Perspective

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Spiritual Development from a Cognitive Perspective Emily Werst Biola University Rosemead School of Psychology Spiritual development has been explored for the past 30 years (Love, 2002) and has become a growing source of knowledge that adds to our understanding of the human experience across the lifespan. The purpose of the current work is to investigate spiritual development, particularly from a cognitive developmental perspective. The theories and findings that will be discussed aim to support the assertion that an individual’s cognitive development has a profound impact on his or her spiritual development; the two go hand in hand, and an understanding of an individual’s current stage of cognitive development has profound implications for the spiritual development of that individual. This idea will be supported by first reviewing the foundational understanding of Piaget’s cognitive stages of development. From there, Harms’s theories will begin to draw spiritual implications from cognitive development, which will lead us to an exploration of Fowler’s (2004) developmental theory of faith. Finally, Parks (2000) shall bring both cognitive and spiritual development together in her developmental model of faith. Park’s theory provides a robust model, supporting the idea that an individual’s cognitive development has a profound impact on his or her spiritual development. Though both involve distinct developmental stages throughout an individual’s lifespan, it is

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