AQA A Level RE: Religious Experiences (Philosophy)

  • Created by: cpoppy
  • Created on: 15-02-20 10:12
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  • Religious Experiences
    • Otto (numinous experiences)
      • Religious experiences are sui generis
        • Sui generis: In a class of their own and in a special faculty in our minds that recognises and responds to the holy
      • Religious experiences are encounters with the Holy that are numinous
        • Numinous: the feeling of the presence of something greater than you, transcending everyday experience
      • Personal religious experiences are mystical experiences
      • Experiences of the "wholly other": God being completely different from all things that exist
      • They are "Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans": mysterious and seductive nature
    • Swinburne
      • Principle of Credulity: "if (in the absence of special considerations) it seems to a subject that X is present, then X is probably present"
      • Principle of testimony: "in the absence of special considerations, the experiences of others are porblably as they report them
      • Strengths:
        • when a change in lifestyle ensues after, we can assume it was true
        • Cumulative arguments support the argument from religious experiences
      • Weaknesses:
        • hard to see how claims about reliability of sense experiences make religious claims reliable also
        • religious experiences are subjective and ineffable
    • Visions
      • Corporeal
        • Seen by the eyes, experienced by the senses. Person can interact (eg. St Bernadette)
      • Intellectual
        • No image, things are seen "as they really are" (e.g st Teresa of Avila)
      • Imaginitive
        • Seen by the eye of the mind, often through dreams, cannot be controlled (eg: Pharoah's dreams in genesis
    • Stace (mystical experiences)
      • Drug-induced experiences are still valid
      • Mystical experiences are non-sensuous, non-intellectual unions with the divine
      • Senses no longer work at this level,
      • Normal conscious "I" is replaced by pure consciousness
      • Two types of experiences
        • Introvertive - totally suppressed seses
        • Extrovertive - still some senses
    • James (mystical experiences)
      • Mystical experiences have to be: (PINT)
        • Passive
        • Ineffable
        • noetic
          • Sense of revelation
        • transient
      • experiences are primary, organised faith is secondary, and God exists factually
      • Objective is union with God
      • This world draws its chief experience from the realm of God
      • True end of humanity is union with a higher realm
      • Spiritual communion with the higher realm has positive effects in this world
    • General
      • Difficult to prove ture because they are private, subjective, ineffable, may be contradictory, and are apart from all earth experience
      • Corporate experiences are experienced by multiple people at the same time e.g. The Toronto Blessing
      • Understood by union with a greater power, psychological and physiological effects
      • Corporate experiences could be explained as mass hysteria
      • A mystic is someone who has had a mystical experience
      • Can influence faith because they can be foundational, inspirational, life-changing, they confirm faith and are at the heart of pilgirmage
    • Challenges from science
      • Freud: religious experiences are wish-fulfilment by the mind
      • Ramachandran: assessment of TLE - those with TLE have more religious experiences, maybe famous mystics have TLE
      • Persinger: made a God helmet that stimulates the temporal lobe and provokes religious experiences
      • religious responses: Temporal lobe could be God's way of communicating with us, we should reach out to God to generate religious experiences?


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