Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Humanities and Cultural Studies

Department or Program Chair

Chase Clow, PhD

First Reader

Gay Lynch, PhD


With the assumption that humans are innately spiritual, I investigate research regarding the development of spirituality that takes place from childhood to adulthood. Over the past 30 years, James Fowler has called upon Erikson’s and Piaget’s cognitive developmental stages of children, in order to understand their spiritual development phases. When reading the myths and origin stories of spiritual belief systems, the commonality found within all of these narratives is the persistent focus on underlying morality. When utilizing stories as a way to teach spiritual morality, children are easily able to recognize and go back to these basic narratives, using their imagination to superimpose them onto their own lived experiences. Drawing from a wide array of sources, I argue that these spiritual myths and origin stories, in fact, become the underlying foundation of children’s ideologies. In others words, these spiritual stories actually become vital life-affirming resources, as they have the potential to expose people to, and catalyze in them, moral development and connection that is crucial to sustain life. In the end, these narratives guide children with their decisions through their ever-changing lives, for they increase quality of life by enhancing the value of others, as well as the self-esteem of themselves through solid identity. This reality creates pluralistic interconnectedness and shows a strong responsibility for community support to better extend cultural and spiritual awareness, and help develop a morally strong self identity in a progressively intercultural world.