Numinous Experience.

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  • NUMINOUS EXPERIENCE.
    • Numinous Religious experiences are experiences of AWE and WONDER in the presence of an almighty and transcendent God. It is an awarness of human nothingness when faced with a holy powerful being.
      • The name comes from the Latin 'NUMIN' which means to BOW THE HEAD.
    • Example from the BIBLE.
      • 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.' And the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 'Woe to me' I cried. 'I am ruined! For i am a man of unclean lips, and I live among people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty,' - (ISAIAH 6:3-5)
    • RUDOLF OTTO: 1869 - 1937
      • "Idea of The Holy". - He argues that all religious experience was numinous in nature.
        • "It is an experience of being acted upon by something outside of ourselves, a 'Wholly other'. It makes us aware that we are creatures of an almighty God.
          • This contrasts with a 'mystical experience' which tends to seek the unity of all things.
      • Described it as being "MYSTERIUM; TREMENDUM!
        • Mysterium, because of the mystery of the experience; it can be felt but ccannot be described.
        • Tremendum, because of the awe-inspiring terror, almost a sense of dread in the presence of an overwhelming being.
          • Yet despite this, we are drawn to the experience with a strange fascination.
          • These experiences provide a reference point. From then on, believers interpret the world through the experience and the beliefs attached to it.  Ideas about God may be developed but ultimately the encounter with God is inexpressible.
            • Mysterium, because of the mystery of the experience; it can be felt but ccannot be described.
      • Otto believed that the numinous is key to understanding the spirituality of many religions.
        • "There is no religion in which it does not live as the innermost core and without it no religion would be worthy of the name"
      • Greatly influenced by Immanuel Kant. He recognised that God could not be known via sensory experienceor logical argument.
        • God is 'Wholly Other'. - He is a being that is completely different and distinct to Human Beings. We are not able to know God unless he chooses to reveal himself.
      • IS ALL RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE NUMINOUS?
        • Otto states that experiences come from the 'deepest cognitive apprehension'. Yet he also states that the theological ideas come after experience.
          • He seems to imply that the numinous experience is a 'once and for all' experience, which implies there can be no further religious experience.
            • To suggest that all religious experience  is numinous is too simplistic. Other types of experiences are well documented.

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