Off-campus Pacific University users: To download campus access theses and dissertations, please log into our proxy server with your PUNet ID and password.

Non-Pacific University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Theses or dissertations that have a specific embargo period indicated below will not be available to anyone until the date indicated.

Factors contributing to a spiritual but not religious belief system: A grounded theory study

Michael Crockett, Pacific University

The digital version of this paper is currently unavailable to off-campus users; however, it may be accessed on campus or through interlibrary loan (for eligible borrowers) from Pacific University Library. Pacific University Library is a free lender.

This paper will become openly available for download 24 months after its initial posting in CommonKnowledge.

Library Use: LIH


This dissertation is a qualitative study using grounded theory methodology. The purpose of the study was to investigate the belief systems and practices of a growing segment of the population who identify as being spiritual but not religious (SnR). Thirteen participants who self-identified as holding SnR belief systems were interviewed regarding their experiences with religion and spirituality. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and condensed into narratives depicting the participants’ spiritual develop across their lifetimes. For added validity, a second reader also independently read and created themes based on three of these interviews. The resultant grounded theory is referred to as the Generalized Path of a Spiritual Quest, and it contains descriptions of processes that the participants encountered at various phases of their spiritual journey utilizing key quotes from the participants’ interviews. The model describes the participants’ spiritual development across their lifetimes, and processes include Religious Upbringing; Taking Perspective; Parting from Religion of Origin; Broad Search for Meaning; Adopting a Spiritual Worldview; Spiritual Growth; and Death, Rebirth, and Continuation of the Cycle.