Numinous experience


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  • Created by: Abitracey
  • Created on: 17-02-13 15:39
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  • Numinous experience
    • Other understandings of religious experience
      • Friedrich Schleiermacher agreed with Otto that religious experiences are primarily emotional.
      • For Schleiermacher the experiences are not numinous but are at their core a feeling of absolute dependence upon the divine.
      • It is this awareness of absolute dependence upon 'a source power that is distinct from the world' that is at the heart of religion.
      • Theology arises afterwards as people reflect on their experineces.
      • Martin Buber viewed religious experience as being analogous to intimate personal relationships that he called I-thou relationships.
        • This differs from the I-it relationship that we have with objects or when we treat people as objects.
      • The I-thou relationship is a mutual interaction. We may experience such I-thou relationships when we encounter nature, in deep friendships and most importantly, by experience God.
    • Otto and the numinous experience
      • All religious experience is numinous in nature.
      • It is described by Otto as being 'mysterium; tremendum'
        • Mysterium becuase of the mystery of the experience, it is felt but cannot be described.
        • Tremendum becuase of the awe-inspiring terror, almost a sense of dread in the presence of an overwhelming being.
      • These experiences provide a refernce point. From then on, believers interpret the world through the experience and the beliefs attached to it.
      • The numinous experinece is key to understanding the spirituality of many religions.
      • Otto recognised that God could not be known via sensory experinece or logical arument.
      • We are not able to know God unless he revals himself to us.
    • Is all religious experience numinous?
      • Otto seems to imply that the numinous experience is a 'onceand for all' experience, which implies that there can be no further religious experience.
      • To suggest that all religious experience is numinous is too simplistic. Other types of experience are well documented.
    • What is 'numinous' religious experience?
      • Experiences of awe and wonder in the prescence of an almighty and transcendent God.
      • An awareness of human nothingness when faced with a holy and powerful being.


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