Religious Experiences

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  • William James
    • Religion and the mind
      • James accept they have psychologicalor physiological explanation to religious experience.
      • Argues that there isn't a whole explanation
      • May be a natural cause of the experience-supernatural one.
      • Judge experiences not based on what causes them but the effects.
      • "Be ready now to judge the religious life by it's results exclusively" James
    • The characteristics of religious experience
      • 1) Ineffable: experience beyond proper description.
      • 2) Religious experiences have a noetic quality. Gain deep and direct knowledge of God.
      • 3) Experience is transient: passes with time.
      • 3) A sense of passivity in the experience: expect something is acting upon then, not contribute to the experience.
    • James' key principle on religious experience
      • 1) Pragmatism: understanding truth. Truth isn't fixed but true for values on us. Effect of religious experience concludes we are true.
      • 2) Empiricism: can't empirically verify the experience, result of experience is empirical data.
      • 3) Pluralism:  experiences determined by truths in our faiths.
    • What might religious experiences show?
      • Waking consciousness type of consciousness through religious experiences.
      • James analogy with drunkness- another state due to alcohol.
      • 1) World we see part of spiritual universe from it gains significance.
      • 2) Uniting higher universe is our purpose.
      • 3) Prayer helps with spiritual energy and produces psychological and material effects.
      • 4) Religion provides people with new vest for life and love in relationships.


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