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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/18123

Title: Losing Faith in Fundamentalist Christianity: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Authors: Ross, Karen Heather
Advisor: Moodley, Roy
Department: Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Keywords: counselling psychology
loss of faith
fundamentalist Christianity
Issue Date: 14-Dec-2009
Abstract: This study investigated the psychological experience of losing faith in God, within the context of fundamentalist Christianity. Nine former fundamentalist Christians were interviewed about their experience of losing faith. Data analysis was guided by principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 2004), an inductive qualitative approach that identifies themes to generate a description of an experience's essence. Themes were classified into three domains (Experience of Christianity, Transition out of Christianity, and Experience of Unbelief). Participants' transition was characterized by emotional shifts (associated with a loss of trust in, or loyalty to, God) and intellectual shifts (associated with a loss of belief in God's existence). Two typologies of experience emerged within the Experience of Unbelief, one characterized by a sense of relief and the other by a sense of struggle. The findings are discussed in relation to theories of identity and attachment, and are used to generate recommendations for counselling practice.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/18123
Appears in Collections:Master
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology - Master theses

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