Belief and doubt

A qualitative study of doubt in the evangelical tradition

Author
Benjamin B Young
Abstract
This project explord the difference between evangelicals who doubted and stayed in the evangelical faith and those who left the fold. Grounded theory was the primary research methodology and data was gathered from interviews with people who struggled with doubt. This data was used to develop a strategy for people going through doubt and for pastors helping others process doubt. Pastors need to provide a safe place to doubt by listening and being patient, and by waiting to see how God will work in the lives of the people who are struggling with doubt.

Addressing religious doubt in adolescents: pastoral integration of cognitive therapy and Lonergan's transcendental theology

Author
Michael Joseph Cairoli
Abstract
The author conducted a qualitative study of the cognitional dynamics involved in the emergence, maintenance and alleviation of religious doubts in a self-selected sample of ten adolescents, aged 18-20, who were either experiencing or had previously experienced religious doubts. Cognitive therapy techniques were applied to six subjects who were presently experiencing doubts. Interviews were applied to four students who had previously overcome their doubts. Several cognitive factors were identified that led to the emergence, maintenance and alleviation of religious doubts, establishing cognitive counseling techniques as an exemplification of Lonergan's cognitional theory and as an effective methodology to address doubts.

God's ship on a troubled sea: proclaiming grace in times of crisis

Author
Scott Lee Grulke
Abstract
The objective begins by superimposing the biblical concept of grace over the ancient metaphor of the church-ship in a sea of crisis. The researcher will conduct interviews to discuss coping mechanisms in personal and corporate crisis and develop a sermon series entitled: grace for the crisis. He will then measure modification in beliefs through a survey given to congregational and focus groups from within First United Methodist Church of Galesburg, Illinois. The hypothesis is that when crisis is met with grace, there is a coping mechanism to survive and to thrive.

A critique of the absolute-truth claim of Churches of Christ and its impotence to support God's reign

Author
Roderick D Hunter
Abstract
The context of this model was the American Restoration Movement, Churches of Christ, and specifically congregations of the Ministerial Study Group. The objective of this project was to critique the absolute-truth claim of Churches of Christ and the interpretive and methodological structures that maintain it. The research methods used to test the hypothesis were action research and the pro-active method, using questionnaires, workshops, surveys, and interviews. The results showed that adherents were willing to rethink the absolute-truth claim. The model suggests that the absolute-truth claim can be challenged through instruction and revised applications.

Blockages to faith created by doubt in a pastoral context

Author
Trevor H Walters
Abstract
A qualitative approach utilizing casestudies was used to explore doubt causation. Initially 28 people wereinterviewed twice, subsequently 6 people were studied in depth. The results confirmed a relationship between doubt causation and principal other in one's past. The project explored the relationship between doubt types (rational, emotional and unconscious) and doubt causation. It is concluded that failure to express the pain of separation from God will lead to a tendency to transfer responsibility for the separation onto God.

The nature of existential doubt among Assemblies of God constituents

Author
William J Pankey
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to study the nature of existential doubt among Assemlbies of God constituents. Existential doubt is those doubts dealing with life's ultimate concerns. Existential doubts lie at the heart of our world-view, issues that if seriously disturbed, modified or rejected, would result in significant changes in the individual. The author sought to determine how doubt is perceived and understood, particularly existential types of doubt, among Assemblies of God adherents. Methodologically, the author approached the topic holistically on the assumption that doubt, like belief, has cognitive, emotional, and volitional components.

Three types of religious belief: an exploration of religious belief in the context of psychotherapy

Author
Kenneth C Ruge
Abstract
This project explores the relationship between religious belief and psychic functioning. The hypothesis is that religious belief provides a healing and defensive influence in psychological change. The goal of the project is to help therapists better understand religious belief in its particular psychological context. By using three typologies with a case study method, the author finds that belief and affiliation serve intrapsychic functions unique to individual personality. When equipped with this understanding, the therapist is able to make better alliances and interpretations. The basic finding of the project is the need to appreciate, understand and respect the power of religious belief in the personality.

Ministering toward congregational maturity: a reformed perspective

Author
Thomas P Eggebeen
Abstract
The purpose of the thesis is to provide: 1) insights into the relevance of the Reformed tradition for congregational life; 2) examples and analysis of programs useful in creating a Reformed consciousness; and 3) a critique of fundamentalism. The focus of each chapter is as follows: 1) the theology and practice of infant baptism as the beginning point of a Reformed ministry; 2) spiritual confidence as the chief result of living within the Reformed tradition; 3) the reality and function of doubt within the believer's life; and 4) basic thoughts for Reformed spirituality.

Factors contributing to the rejection of formerly-held beliefs

Author
William D Schmeling
Abstract
The project identifies factors which contribute to the rejection of formerly-held Christian's beliefs. The theoretical background focused on the study of the nature of belief and disbelief. Interviews of 20 adults were conducted and analyzed. The results indicate that a variety of factors contribute to the rejection of formerly-held beliefs; however, most often factors indicated poor judgment on the part of local church leadership. Conclusions drawn are that there should be an understanding of the complexity of belief, an appreciation for each person's unique struggle to believe, and the importance of beliefs relating to the real world.

The effects of religious beliefs and activities on parental grief

Author
Emmanuel R Alojipan
Abstract
The study investigates the possible role that the parents' religious beliefs and activities play in determining the nature, intensity, and outcome of parental grief over the death of the child. It uses questionnaires and personal interviews to obtain information from Roman Catholic and Protestant parents who have recently lost a child. Analysis of the data yields the following major results: 1) There is mixed support for the hypotheses that extreme degrees of religious beliefs and activities lead to more intense grief reactions, to less successful resolution of grief than a moderate degree of religious beliefs and activities. Religious value orientation was significantly associated with high frequency of crying but not with felt need to cry. Neither the respondents' intrinsic religious value score nor the extent of their being extrinsically active or inactive in church had an effect on successful resolution of grief. 2) Female respondents tend to be more religious than males. 3) More males tend to have accepted their loss. Beliefs that God can be trusted, is love, knows all that is best, is merciful, will provide, and that he will reunite family members are useful.
Subscribe to Belief and doubt