Chapter

Religious belonging and spiritual questioning: a Western European perspective on ageing and religion

Peter G. Coleman

in Valuing older people

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781847422927
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304173 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847422927.003.0002
Religious belonging and spiritual questioning: a Western European perspective on ageing and religion

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In traditional societies, value identification is closely associated with socialisation to the religious beliefs of the group's culture. Religious beliefs help to address issues surrounding limitation and finitude as well as questions of loss and suffering, which appear to figure more highly in people's consciousness as they age. Religion thus provides resources in responding to questions about survival in states of growing dependency and frailty. Religious doubt is still often perceived as an abnormal state in later life. Faith, it might be thought, should grow stronger, not weaker, as death approaches. This chapter deals with older people affected by the churches' neglect of their critical needs for meaning and purpose in the UK. From the studies, the authors found it important to recognise rising rates of uncertain, unsupported, and troubled belief among the current generations of older people, and the consequences of this for their mental health.

Keywords: religious beliefs; value identification; religion; UK; older people; mental health

Chapter.  6447 words. 

Subjects: Gerontology and Ageing

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