Article Accepted Manuscript

Living in a World with God: An Interpretative Phenomenological Exploration of the Religious Experiences of Five Baptists in Britain

Author(s) / Creator(s)

Murphy, James
Jones, Fergal W.
Nigbur, Dennis
Gee, Kate

Abstract / Description

Religious and spiritual experiences often form significant elements of people’s narratives about their faith and lives, but the impact of these experiences is often neglected in academic studies. This study investigated the connections between perceived experiences of God and beliefs in the lives of five members of a Baptist church in Britain, using data from semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to explore the data and develop eleven recurrent sub-themes, organized into two superordinate themes: ‘Knowing God’ and ‘Living in the World.’ There were idiosyncratic differences between the experiences of the participants, but they all perceived God communicating with them and attributed certain events to God’s influence. These experiences developed real and meaningful relationships with God, and the participants’ faith affected every aspect of their lives, shaping their actions, beliefs and daily lived experiences. The participants’ diverse experiences and beliefs created mutually supporting meaning systems (or worldviews) that were much stronger than the individual elements that contributed to them. God was an intrinsic part of the participants’ social reality, and their lived experiences cannot be adequately understood without appreciating the influence of this central aspect of their lives. These findings show the importance of taking a holistic and idiographic perspective when studying religiosity and spirituality. The study also demonstrates IPA is a useful and effective tool for studying lived experiences of religiosity and spirituality and supports its broader use to investigate such phenomena.

Keyword(s)

Christianity interpretative phenomenological analysis meaning systems religion spirituality worldviews

Persistent Identifier

Date of first publication

2021-03-08

Journal title

Europe's Journal of Psychology

Publisher

PsychArchives

Publication status

acceptedVersion

Review status

reviewed

Is version of

Citation

Murphy, J., Jones, F. W., Nigbur, D., & Gee, K. (in press). Living in a world with God: An interpretative phenomenological exploration of the religious experiences of five baptists in Britain [Author accepted manuscript]. Europe's Journal of Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.23668/psycharchives.4691
  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Murphy, James
  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Jones, Fergal W.
  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Nigbur, Dennis
  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Gee, Kate
  • PsychArchives acquisition timestamp
    2021-03-08T17:27:22Z
  • Made available on
    2021-03-08T17:27:22Z
  • Date of first publication
    2021-03-08
  • Abstract / Description
    Religious and spiritual experiences often form significant elements of people’s narratives about their faith and lives, but the impact of these experiences is often neglected in academic studies. This study investigated the connections between perceived experiences of God and beliefs in the lives of five members of a Baptist church in Britain, using data from semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to explore the data and develop eleven recurrent sub-themes, organized into two superordinate themes: ‘Knowing God’ and ‘Living in the World.’ There were idiosyncratic differences between the experiences of the participants, but they all perceived God communicating with them and attributed certain events to God’s influence. These experiences developed real and meaningful relationships with God, and the participants’ faith affected every aspect of their lives, shaping their actions, beliefs and daily lived experiences. The participants’ diverse experiences and beliefs created mutually supporting meaning systems (or worldviews) that were much stronger than the individual elements that contributed to them. God was an intrinsic part of the participants’ social reality, and their lived experiences cannot be adequately understood without appreciating the influence of this central aspect of their lives. These findings show the importance of taking a holistic and idiographic perspective when studying religiosity and spirituality. The study also demonstrates IPA is a useful and effective tool for studying lived experiences of religiosity and spirituality and supports its broader use to investigate such phenomena.
    en_US
  • Publication status
    acceptedVersion
    en
  • Review status
    reviewed
    en
  • Citation
    Murphy, J., Jones, F. W., Nigbur, D., & Gee, K. (in press). Living in a world with God: An interpretative phenomenological exploration of the religious experiences of five baptists in Britain [Author accepted manuscript]. Europe's Journal of Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.23668/psycharchives.4691
    en
  • ISSN
    1841-0413
  • Persistent Identifier
    https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12034/4146
  • Persistent Identifier
    https://doi.org/10.23668/psycharchives.4691
  • Language of content
    eng
    en_US
  • Publisher
    PsychArchives
    en_US
  • Is version of
    https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.3119
    en
  • Is related to
    https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.3119
    en
  • Keyword(s)
    Christianity
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    interpretative phenomenological analysis
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    meaning systems
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    religion
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    spirituality
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    worldviews
    en_US
  • Dewey Decimal Classification number(s)
    150
  • Title
    Living in a World with God: An Interpretative Phenomenological Exploration of the Religious Experiences of Five Baptists in Britain
    en_US
  • DRO type
    article
    en_US
  • Journal title
    Europe's Journal of Psychology
    en
  • Visible tag(s)
    Accepted Manuscript
  • Visible tag(s)
    PsychOpenGOLD
    en