Religious Experience

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Religious Experience
    • Ninian Smart- Religion as an organism with 6 dimensions.
      • Social aspects: the ways in which a religion as an institution controls or influences the mores of a society.
      • Ritual: Connected to, or tries to express internal reality. Includes religious practice.
      • Myths: Stories that illustrate a spiritual truth. Conveys a deeper meaning.
      • Doctrines: Connected with mythological dimension. Attempt to formulate systematic code of beliefs. Will withstand rational analysis.
      • Ethics: Any religion will attempt to supply it's followers with a moral code.
      • Experimental elements: Affects lives immediately. Communication or communion with the divine.
    • William James 1902 - 4 basic feature to religious experience.
      • Ineffable: It is impossible to use words to describe them.
      • Passive: The person has a sense of being controlled by the 'other', by God.
      • Transient: The experience passes, but the effects last.
      • Noetic: They are felt to be authoritative, absolute.
    • WT Stace 1960 - 8 core features of religious experience.
      • Unified Vision: A harmony of all things.
      • Loss of sense of self.
      • Ineffability: It is impossible to use words to describe them.
      • Paradoxical: Normal rules of logic do not apply.
      • Appreciation of the holy, sacred & divine.
      • Blessed, Joy, Peace & happiness: Key indicators.
      • Sense of reality: The knowledge & awareness gained is valid.
      • Timeless and Spaceless: The person is detached from the world.
    • Greeley 1975 - 15 triggers of religious experience.
      • Physical exercise.
      • Looking at a painting.
      • Your own creative work.
      • Childbirth.
      • Sexual love-making.
      • Being alone in church.
      • Reading a poem of novel.
      • Reading the bible.
      • Watching little children.
      • Listening to a sermon.
      • Attending church service.
      • Moments of quiet reflection.
      • Beauties of nature.
      • Prayer
      • Listening to music
    • However, we can observe the following points about claimed religious experiences...
      • They occur more often under certain conditions - the tranquillity of Nature, the emotive atmosphere of church services.
      • They are often linked to the religious traditions of upbringing.
      • They occur more in people who have the quality of 'cognitive openness' and who are more adept at using the right hemisphere of the brain.
      • Religious experiences can have the positive effects of altruism, raised self-esteem, a sense of mission to change the world for the better.
      • People who experience them say they experience some or all of the following- Sometimes ecstasy, often feelings of forgiveness, integration into and unity with the world.
    • Before defining religious experience, it is necessary to have a definition of religion.
      • Emile Durkheim: 'A unified set of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things... the beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church'
      • Karl Marx: 'The opium of the people' - A drug that creates illusions.
      • Sigmund Freud: Believed there was no God and that religion was merely neurosis - a malfunctioning of the mind.
      • Carl Jung: Believed that inner religious experience was valid, necessary and useful to the individual concerned. More than just a belonging to a religious organisation.


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Religious Experience resources »