Religious Experience

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  • Religious Experience
    • Swinburne categorised the  types of r.e
      • Public
        • ORDINARY = person interprets a natural event with religious significance [beauty of world]
        • EXTRAORDINARY = experiences that appear to violate the laws of nature [jesus water to wine - john2]
      • Private
        • DESCRIBABLE IN ORDINARY LANGUAGE = such as dreams [joseph's]
        • NON DESCRIBABLE = refers to direct experiences of God - beyond human powers [teresa]
        • NON SPECIFIC = could include looking at the world from a religious perspective
    • Visions
      • Experience in which God is 'seen' or 'observed'
      • 3 types of visions
        • Intellectual = experience rather than something just being observed [teresa]
        • Corporeal =  knowledge is communicated [mary tells bernadette things]
        • Imaginative = visions in dreams [joseph is told it is fine to marry mary]
        • In what sense can it be a vision if its not corporeal?
    • Voices
      • Often associated with the idea of hearing voices [jesus' baptism, God declares jeus is his son]
      • How do you know the voice is from God?
      • A number of cases of schizophrenics who have killed people claiming that God told them to
      • St Teresa suggested a certain criteria =
        • 1 = does it fit in with Christian Church teaching?, 2 = Does the experience leave the person feeling at peace with the world?
          • If the answers to these are no, then it was a sign that the experience was NOT from God but from the devil
            • Whilst St. Teresa did no know of such medical conditions, the distinction she made is useful
    • Conversion
      • Religious experiences that change peoples opinions on belief [cat stevens drowned and turned to God]
      • For such change to occur dramatically makes it a piece of powerful evidence [st paul from persecutor to leading preacher]
      • Psychological views
        • Edwin Starbucks study of conversion prompted him to draw parallels of finding our identity in adolesence
          • Most religious conversions occur between 15 - 24
    • Corporate
      • Intriguing phenomena that happens simultaneously to a large group of people
      • Toronto blessing 1994 most famous. Can be affected by laughter, weeping, rolling around


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