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Images of God and Coping With Suffering

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In this article a link is made between the theology of suffering and the psychology of the coping process. In connection with a historical tradition of empirical-theological research, three theological symbols with respect to God and suffering will be worked out. Three psychological strategies regarding coping with suffering will also be given a theoretical rundown, both in a religious and non-religious context. A hypothetical model of causal relations between these strategies and symbols will be set up and accounted for, proceeding from both theology (by means of a hermeneutical vision of the understanding of faith) and psychology (by means of a cognivistical approach of the coping process). This causal model will be tested empirically. In the discussion of the results from the empirical research we find partial support for the model on the one hand, and we see the need for theological shadings on the other.

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