Fowler’s Theory of Faith Development

Brief Overview
About the Author

Dr. James Fowler wrote book Stages of Faith in 1981, which highlights the developmental process in “human faith”.

Printable Summary (PDF)

Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they’ll be of help to you too.

Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory

Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory:  Six Stages of Development

  • Stage 1: Intuitive-projective Faith
  • Stage 2: Mythic-literal Faith
  • Stage 3: Synthetic-conventional Faith
  • Stage 4: Individuative-reflective Faith
  • Stage 5: Conjunctive Faith
  • Stage 6: Universalizing Faith
Application of Theory to Practice

This section is designed to provide student affairs professionals, staff, and faculty members with tips and tools to apply theory to practice.

Annotations of Associated Literature
Additional Resources
This page was written and created by Ashlie Baty. Please use the comment section below to ask questions, provide reflection, discussion and/or feedback. To contact directly about this page, please see Ashlie Baty at