During a crisis it means that old interpretations are failing and new interpretations should be sought; however, crisis and belief from a narrative hermeneutic perspective are processes in which their attributions and interpretation have central concepts. This has contributed to psychologists and theologians into carrying out research on the crisis, to determine factors that contribute to this crisis and if possible find a lasting solution. Most of the researches have been concerning the field of coping with crisis and religious belief as the main factors of contributing.
However, very few have made steps in trying to clarify the relationships between the two. Before the discussion of the factors and themes; it is important to clarify the concept of narrative (Ullman 1989). Narrative Paradigm There has been increasing interest in the recent years in theology and psychology disciplines this is because the two disciplines are fundamental to the convictions that all perceptions and experiences are structured in a narrative way.
The logical argument here will focus on the factors and events instead of universality. However, it is important to be known that the central story of life is known as the personal narrative. The narrative will help us clarify concepts of crisis, belief and interactions between them as well enable us understand the role of social context. Each of us play a role in someone’s story and together we live by contribute to a ‘shared story’ in respect to cultural or religions frame of reference.
The main factors of discussion and events in this paper will fall into the major concept of belief and unbelief; in which personal narrative, social context narratives, religion, and coping with the crisis will be discussed (Murgatroyd & Woolfe 1982). The crisis concept Events and circumstances cannot define a crisis as seen in everyday life since an event can evolve a crisis experience in a certain individual but evoke a continuous well being experience in someone else.
It is therefore, important to make a distinction between an emotional hazard situation and crisis experience in the individuals. A crisis can be described as a turning point in someone’s life when someone faces a problems that he or she cannot solve, however in the past the crisis theory assumption was mainly based on homeostasis, a situation where life is seen as an homeostatic system that is under threats in crisis situations and a solution in or can be found in a new balance.
The theory however faces a strong arguments against it despite the fact that it may have the possibility of clarifying some difficult issues at stake, because factors like growth, development and change either emotionally or physically cannot be easily explained in addition human personality factors has been reduced to an automatic responder. It is therefore important for any researcher to emphasize on a usual model of interpretation coping.
Coping is the complex cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and internal demands that are recognized as threatening and the primary appraisal is for one to interpret a given situation as demanding, challenging, threatening, or is a conducive situation to a positive well being of an individual, while secondary appraisal for one to get the perception and evaluate the coping possibilities and the necessary resources.
Re-appraisal and outcome of coping process can be defined as the change interpretation as a result of a change in conditions (Streib 1991). Development Crisis In developmental crisis, an individual life’s course is divided into given stages and the transition from a given stage to the nest is made through a crisis in which the conflict between two polar factors should be solved. Identity can be seen as a cumulative crisis solution in the course of life with each critical situation clarified in a hermeneutic theory.
The first crisis is the conflict between the basic trust and mistrust, which can be seen as a conflict of interpretations; they are possible interpretations of the facts of life for example an infant has to interpret a given situation in the light of either trust or mistrust, or it may at times take a position between the poles and consequently create its own frame of interpretation or simply its personal narrative.
It therefore means that every subsequent crisis encountered in the course of life cannot adequately explains the facts as they are perceived, in fact we do not use narratives in order to just find a meaningful interpretation, we use I t for I identify which is the central character in our own story and in conclusion, we normally define crisis with short perspective as the experience if a personal narrative frame of interpretation which cannot sufficiently give (Murgatroyd & Woolfe 1982).
Meaning to new facts in the course of life, where the facts are interpreted as very important for every one to neglect. We normally take both belief and unbelief as religion attitudes. There is a distinction between religion, faith, and belief or unbelief, religion traditional way of expression of faith by someone belief is or can be defined as adherence to certain religions convictions or ideologies and faith can be described as the attitude of an individual’s heart and will, a sense of loyalty and trust.
It is however, sometimes seen as faith is a concept that include belief , however, religion is more formal and has a social dimension while belief has a cognitive dimension, and has the effective and rational dimension in addition this should include the relationship with God just like any other object-relation psychology which have been integrated into religious and social dimensions.
Both in religion and in identify the nation of responsiveness can be used as a central concept, and the interpretations we give area as a result of responses to the fact of life which are formed and structure through personal narrative. Belief is a cognitive dimension of a religious attitude when a human life is interpreted within a religious frame of reference like a central storyline which say s “God has something to do with it” Unbelief is also a religious attitude which means that human life is interpreted within a religious frame of reference like the central story line of “God had nothing to do with it”.
Both of them belief and unbelief, are adherence processes to traditional well defined doctrines on one had and experiences of reality in the course of life on the other hand they are central story lines that express an interpretation of the facts of life and they normally give answers to the questions that concerns to the relationship between God and our day to day lives, and they are intended to address the ultimate concern and meaning of life as such they are fundamentally religious (Loder 1981).
Our common knowledge and clinical experience shows that crisis experience can strengthen both our belief and unbelief, but one may ask or what we are left to wonder is why in crisis experiences in some cases supports the development of belief while in others the development of unbelief.
When belief and unbelief interpretations are taken within the frame of religious reference and crisis experience as failure of personal frame of reference in trying to give a clear meaning to the facts of life, the basic features of this narrative emerges ; an individual continuously and constantly interprets his or her own world, and writers a personal narrative where these fundamentally religious questions or issues will be answered.
Therefore, identity and belief are closely linked in the personal narrative, both are dimensions of personal narrative and they contribute to pour interpretations. In this case crisis is the rupture of this personal narrative, therefore it asks for the re-writing and the attribution of a new meaning to the same facts of life. And it is in these new interpretations, the central line story may try a new dimension from before; the interpretations concerning the place of God in out daily lives may significantly change.
Perhaps new interpretations of belief and unbelief substitutes the old interpretations, this is labeled as conversions (Lazarus 1982). Secondly, interpretations of belief are substituted in crisis experiences by interpretations of unbelief which can also be called conversion, this is because the religious dimensional the personal narrative is thoroughly changed and finally the old interpretations of belief and unbelief are not substituted, in this case we have stable in this case we have belief and unbelief.
In the discussion of significant factors in the influence of crisis experience on belief and unbelief development, it is important and crucial to learn from psychological field of coping with crisis experience research. The factors can be divided into three major groups; person related, situation-related, and context related.
Personal related has to do with the personal frame of interpretation, the natural resources like education, ability to realize positive character, but an important factor is the lotus of control, because the concept distinguishes between individuals who tend to perceive situations as inside their capacity to influence it, and those individuals who perceived it as outside; situation related factors have to do with the proximity, relevance, and controllability of a certain event where situations are appraised as incontrollable have been found to effect more emotion –focused than problem focused strategies.
As expected, different crisis situation can lead to different threats to the personal narrative for example the divorce of parents my or can lead to a crisis-experience involving social relationships that are of primary importance; therefore the crucial questions in these cases are relational which include difficulties in experiencing a relationship with God and in some cases in particular persons who became disabled, the questions are not relational but they concern the content of the personal narrative, for example the question whether god is almighty and caring (Kegan 1982).
Context-related factors involves a situation, a person lives in, complications the persons I s associated with I n terms of other problematic events of situations, and social resources. However, social resources had been investigated in the field of social support and network research. Basically two theories explains why social support is a positive influence in coping; on hold social supports as a factor of increasing resistance to vulnerability, while the other holds social support to be direct influence to a state of well-being (Gerkin 1986).
It is therefore, important to propose a narrative hermeneutic theory which will have its main concern on the influence of crisis experiences on the development of belief and unbelief, and this should mean that interpretation, appraisal and re-appraisal are the most important to a positive or negative crisis outcome, an effective or ineffective coping, however it cannot be claimed that effective coping stimulates belief and ineffective coping stimulates unbelief. It is through these that significant elements can be found.
Effective coping means that a new interpretation is found to a given situation or even that was formerly interpreted as negative or dangerous (Fowler 1987). The claim is both valid for active strategies like finding a new job after a period of unemployment and direct interpretive acts like learning to enjoy the freedom of time. Both the new action and interpretation sole the problem in that the situation can be re-appraised, re-interpreted as no longer dangerous and secondly coping research is the meaning of social support in crisis and in development.
In the theories of socialization specific attention is given to latent and manifest influence on the development of an individual personality by social context factors; here the social role of an individual is emphasized, and they are defined by society, this therefore means that socialization is a compulsive process of influence which incorporates social interaction in the concept of role. Every social role has an opposite role where the social role does not only teaches individuals what to do, but provides a frame of reference as well and this makes it possible to perceive reality.
However, nowadays the social context is not seen as a compulsive source of meanings and attitudes but as a frame of reference, a possible orientation of individual interpretations. The most significant factors in the context of socialization is the personality of the individual which comprises of mainly two dimensions; coping with grief, and the functioning of a belief system. The outcomes of both of them are dependant on the personality of an individual and the individual’s course of life (Brown 1987).
Any social context that is enclosed or closed affects stagnation of the internal dialogue and therefore affects unbelief, in addition belief in an open social context and further internal dialogue but a closed social context combined with stagnation of the internal dialogue leads to a negative crisis outcome. Therefore when a person faces a crisis, his or her personal narrative is challenged, it is therefore important that interpretation should be found that will give adequate meaning to the events in life because when personal; narrative is challenged the system of belief is challenged as well.
It is therefore necessary to have a personal narrative that will give meaning to contingency, that is to say an individual should have a stable personality, and individual should have a social context that is capable to support, the one that can be interpreted buy the individual as a channel of God’s support. These conditions represent the social and symbolic dimensions of our experiences however; the relationship between crisis and beliefs is complex which is a fundamentally personal and hermeneutic matter that can be only understood from personal narrative.
The most important aspect of religious frame of interpretation is flexibility and reach. Flexibility simply means that contingency in life should be included in this belief system, a system that attributes meaning to negative life events has a higher chance of remaining important through crisis periods rather than a belief system which only explain positive events and by reach is by trying to identify how central religious beliefs are to the personal narratives (Aguiler 1978). Bibliography Aguilera, D. C. & Messick, J. M. Crisis intervention, theory and methodology (1978).
C. V. Mosby CY: Saint Louis Brown, L. B. The psychology of religious belief (1987). Academic Press: London Fowler, J. W. Stages of faith, the psychology of human development and the quest for meaning (1981). Harper & Row Press: San Francisco Fowler, J. W. Faith development and pastoral care (1987). Fortress Press: Philadelphia. Gerkin, T. Widening the horizons; pastoral responses to a fragmented society (1986). Westminster: Philadelphia. Kegan, R. The evolving self, problem and process in human development (1982).
Harvard University Press: Cambridge. Lazarus, R. S. & Folkman, S. Stress, appraisal and coping (1984). Springer Press: New York. Loder, J. E. The transforming moment, understanding convictional experiences (1981). Harper & Row Press: San Francisco. Murgatroyd, S. & Woolfe, R. Coping with crisis, understanding and helping people in need (1982). Harper & Row Press: Cambridge Streib, H. Hermeneutics of metaphor, symbol and narrative in faith development theory (1991). Peter Lang Press: Frankfurt. Ullman, C. The transformed self, the psychology of religious conversion (1989). Plenum Press: New York.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 14 November 2016
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