Slides in this set
What counts as a religious experience?
Religious experience can be referred to as something divine, sacred and/or holy, as well
as referring to a set of beliefs. An experience is can be defined as something which we
go through during our life. Something which happens to us. Experiences are often
personal and therefore, can often be defined as objective.
Using these explanations we can conclude that a religious experience is literally anything
that an individual experiences and derives from divine and holy origins. However, the
most common religious experiences include:
· Revelatory…read more
· What is conversion?
Conversion can refer to a number of things. It can be the conversion of an individual from one
religion to another, as well as the conversion of an individual from being non-religious to
religious. Less commonly, it can also refer to things such as `moral conversion' (William
James) where protestants turn from living lives of sin to `conviction of sin'
Conversion- Paul the Apostle
In the bible, Paul the apostle (who first appeared as `Saul') experiences conversion. He said: "I was
violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it" (Galatians 1:13). After this
proclamation, Saul was met by a risen Jesus in a divine vision whilst on his way to `hunt' Christians
in Damascus. From this meeting, Saul was asked "why persecutest thou me?" (Acts 9:4) told to
take the Gospel to the gentiles. Once occurring as a person whom endorsed the stoning of
Christians, `Paul' now was a convert who became an authoritative preacher of the gospel…read more
An analogy which can help understand conversion is the
idea of a set of scales. Testimonies from converts suggest Some claim that religious
their experience led them to feel spiritually balanced for the experiences and
conversion lead to the
first time. balancing of the scales!!
There are several ways which conversion can be interpreted and understood:
- God directly intervening to direct them to religion (Saul/Paul).
- An individual attributes the end of an emotionally turbulent time to new found religious belief.
- A person `finds what they have been looking for' spiritually.
- Somebody finds acceptance within a religion they previously didn't accept.
These are just some explanations/ examples!!!…read more
Conversion- William James
Argued two basic types of conversion:
Volitional Type- A conscious and voluntary experience. A person decides
they want to make spiritual changes to their life, and set about doing so.
For example someone may wish to become Christian, study the bible
and the churches teachings and then have some profound experience in
which they feel a deep connection to God, this is the pinnacle of his/her
Self-surrender Type- This type of conversion can be described as when
someone feels they have done all they can do and `gives-up'- leaving it
to God. focused on religious
James believes conversion comes when we are not looking for it, and likens
it to when we forget a name of someone (actor ect) when trying to
remember, for it to come to us later when we least expect it. James says
that conversion can therefore be attributed to the subconscious or
divine intervention.…read more
· What is a mystical experience?
A mystical experience can be described as an experience that leaves the participant feeling some sort of
indescribable union with `God'.
· William James:
Said that there were 4 tell-tale signs of mystical experience:
1. Ineffability- The person does not feel they can put their experience into words.
2. Noetic Quality- A distinct awareness of being at one with the divine, and knowledge of the
3. Transiency- The experience is actually rarely sustained for a long amount of time, though to the
individual may seem eternal. (Similar to the idea of Nirvana)
4. Passivity- The individual is rendered powerless, feels `swept up and held' by God. This can also be
accompanied by a sense of being separated from oneself.…read more