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1. `Mysticism is made irrelevant by the empirical world'. Assess this view.
Irrelevant Relevant
We live in a world that is based on Mysticism can help to strengthen
reason, logic and scientific enquiry. religious belief for both individuals
Mysticism is often seen as and communities.
`navel-gazing' by its opponents and Mysticism increases individual and,
has no clear end or purpose. sometimes, corporate spiritual
There is often a total lack of empirical understanding.
evidence for mysticism. Many of the world's most significant
Those who are mystics tend to live religious traditions are founded on
apart from society and are therefore mystical experiences.
of no real relevance or value to those It challenges a superficial material
living within it. understanding of the world.
It has been claimed that some who Mystics often claim that it reveals
claim to practise mysticism do so for truths undiscoverable through other
deceptive purposes. means.
Psychology and scientific methods can In several religious traditions seeking
offer alternative explanations to the contact with the divine/transcendent
sensations and experiences often felt is encouraged.
by mystics. Mysticism can deepen faith and
There is often confusion over provide comfort to many as it can also
interpreting mystical experience due promote understanding of peace and
to the nature of mysticism, thereby unity between religious traditions and
devaluing and empirical worth. religious communities.
2. Religious belief and practice should never be affected by mysticism. Assess this view.
Should never be affected Should affect
Religious practices are open to all, Individual experience of prayer,
whereas mysticism can be seen to be worships, etc. can lead to mystical
exclusive and open to only a few. experiences and help to strengthen
The select nature of mysticism can be religious belief for both the individuals
seen to open a debate about the and communities concerned.
cohesive/divisive nature of mystical Mystics are often accorded higher
experience within religious practice. status within religious traditions and
Religious belief can be the result of sought after their ability to
rational enquiry therefore not communicate with the divine.
appropriate/suitable to combine this Many of the world's religious
with a subjective `mystical' traditions are founded on mystical
experience. experiences.
As mystical experiences can be open Actively seeking contact with the
to different interpretations, they are divine, transcendent reality is
therefore not solely adequate for encouraged in several religious
grounds of `belief'. traditions.

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Challenges to authenticity devalue mystical experiences.' Assess this view.
Devalue Do not devalue
Empirical testing can produce Teresa of Avila's conditions for
evidence against mystical experiences. authenticity support and enhance the
Challenges often claim that mysticism mystical experience.
is sometimes seen as `navel-gazing' Wittgenstein: Whereof we cannot
with no clear end or purpose. speak, thereof we should remain
Psychological investigations can silent.
produce alternative explanations for Swinburne's Principles of testimony
the experiences of mystics and and credibility.…read more


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