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Religious Experiences
A religious experience is an encounter with
the divine. It is a non-empirical occurrence
that brings with it an awareness of
something beyond ourselves…read more

Slide 2

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Teresa of Avila
· visions which she claimed she claimed to
provide insights into the nature of god.
· How to identify experience- should be within
the traditions of the church, the experience
should be discussed with a spiritual advisor
and there should be some sort of change in
the life of the person.- should not reveal
anything that is outside the teachings of
orthodox Christianity
· a way for Christians to test their religious
experience.…read more

Slide 3

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· 4 characteristics of religious experience:
· ineffability- the unutterable quality of the experience-
beyond words.
· Noetic quality- offers some insight into deep and
meaningful truths.
· Transciency- effect lasts a life time.
· Passivity- out of control of the person.
· Some experiences can be induced- drugs, prayer,
· 4 fruits of religious experience:
· leaves the person with an awareness of something beyond
the trivial material world,
· elation- high feeling,
· feel they have come into contact with a benevolent power,
· change in the emphasis in their life.…read more

Slide 4

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Hay- 25-45% population in Britain claim to have had a
religious experience- too many to say it is just a
coincidence- as of 2001 71% of the population were
Swinburne- 5 types of religious experiences:
· through a normal non-religious object,
· through an unusual object,
· through private sensations described using normal
· Private sensations described not using normal language
· through experiencing no sensation at all.
· Buber I-it: encounters are impersonal. Encounters are seen
in detached, objective and functional terms. I-thou:
encounters are personal. Relationships are taken further,
and are deeper. He argues that it is in such relationships
that we experience God- he is `the Eternal Thou'…read more

Slide 5

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Tillich- 2 components to a religious experience:
· being itself- there is no encounter with empirical
elements. The encounter is more than the mere
physical sensation, it is reality itself. The
encounter might involve everyday sensations, but
the person derives a sense of the divine from the
· Ultimate concern- encounters cause us to `take
stock' to a greater or lesser extent. An encounter
with a close friend might inspire far more
profound concern with us than with a stranger.
· Swedish studies- people with low densities of
serotonin receptors can experience a greater
tendency for spiritual experience.…read more

Slide 6

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There are similarities between people's
experiences, which show that they all come from
the same source because it is too much of a
coincidence to say otherwise. If we were to take
the sheer weight of people's experiences into
account, then the debate about whether religious
experiences are proof of God's existence would be
a resounding yes.
· Hay- 25-45% of the population of Britain claim to
have had a religious experience, surely the claims
of nearly half the population cannot be ignored.
· At best it is still only probable as these accounts
cannot be verified. 71% of the population in
Britain are Christian- surely if they had an
experience they would claim to have seen god.
· Subjective- cannot prove who is right or wrong.…read more

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