This paper summarizes some stage theories of religious development which are rooted in the Piagetian tradition. Some of the assumptions and presuppositions of R. On determining the child’s readiness to schooling basis of exploratory studies about the development of the concept of salvation in children and adolescents among the SDA population, some suggestions are presented as a new theoretical model of religious development applicable to many religious populations.
INTRODUCTION Religious development in children and adolescents is a research area of increasing interest to developmental psychologists, theorists of religious development, religious educators, and designers of religious education curricula, especially in Christian settings. Historically, however, religious development received little consideration during the growth of psychology, contributed to a secular, humanistic perspective of human behavior. Behaviorism and psychoanalysis, with their atheistic presuppositions, formed a generation of psychologists with an agnostic attitude about God and supernatural phenomena. Therefore, religious thinking and behavior were not dealt with as broadly as other psychological manifestations. In psychoanalytical works, religious experiences were studied, but as pathological occurrences.
The few investigation performed in the area of religious development have occurred mostly during the second half of the present century. In most cases, where an examination of the developmental course for some aspect of religious thinking or experience was intended, samples have been randomly selected. Therefore, most of the studies have been multidenominational–with subjects having diverse levels of commitment to their religious beliefs–or have been conducted with secular populations–based on secular presuppositions. However, his stage theory lacks sufficient empirical support. The present paper begins with a review of salient research about stage theories of religious development from psychological perspective.