Religious Experience

  • Created by: Keshena
  • Created on: 26-09-16 19:56

Introduction

Religious Experience

  • It is when a person believes that they had an experience with God or another religious figure.
  • It can range from God speaking to them, being aware of a presence or a miracle.
  • People say that what happens draws them into a 'deeper' awarenss of God.
  • It can be spontaneous and only happens to the individual, it makes it an unique experience that cannot be shared by anyone else.

It is not...

  • A paranormal experience
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The 4 types

1. Conversion; This is changing beliefs due to a religious experience. An example of this is Saul.

2. Numinous; This is a sense of awe or wonder. An example of this is a sunset or entering a church.

3. Mystical; This is being aware of the presence of God. An example of this is a sense of union or a transcending sense of joy and well being.

4. Miracles; This is when God acts in a special way as they go against the laws of nature. An example of this is Jesus turning water into wine.

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William James

William James (1842-1910)

  • James did not want to make a juddement about religion as a whole as he did not want to prove that religious expereiences were either true or false as he looked at it objectively.
  • The two questions he believed we should be asking are; 
  • 1. Can experience such as these be used as evidence for the existence of God?
  • 2. Does James' test show that religious experiences come from a real encounter with a God who exists 'out there' objectively?
  • 3. Or does it show only the force of the experience within the mind of the individual, subjectively?
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Key Words

Key Words

  • Monotheism; the belief that there is only one God.
  • Foundational beliefs; a belief that is not derived from any other beliefs.
  • Mysticism: the experience of having apprehended on ultimate reality.
  • Ineffable; indescribable, cannot be expressed in words.
  • Noetic; relating to the mind
  • Transcency; not permanent, lasting for a short time only.
  • Passivity; not active, not participating in the activity.
  • Numen; something that is 'wholly other' than the natural word.
  • Glossolalia; speaking in tongues, speaking in an unknown language.
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Mysticism

Mysticism

  • William James- 4 characteristics
  • Buber-I-Thou
  • St Teresa of Avila
  • Otto-numen
  • Monistic, Theistic
  • Introvertive, Extrovertive
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Conversion

Conversion

  • St Paul, John Wesley
  • Gradual- sudden
  • Change from one faith to another
  • Changing from faith (believing) to faith (trusting)
  • Change from no faith to a faith
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Prayer

Prayer

  • George Miller
  • Communion or conversation with God
  • Glossolalia
  • Seven types of Christianity
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Richard Swinburne

Richard Swinburne

  • He bases the existence of God on religious experience.
  • He accepts that there are arguments against religious experiences. Caroline Franks-Davis put forward 4 challenges;
  • 1. The circumstances in which the experience occurred can produce unreliable results. For example if the person is intoxicated or a pathological liar.
  • 2. The recipient did not have the ability to interpret the experience. For example the person is young.
  • 3. Is it possible to show that whoever is claiming to have experienced was not there.
  • 4. Whoever / whatever the recipient is claiming to have experienced was there, but not involved or responsible for the experience.
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Other Opinions

  • Some believe a religious experience to be objective or subjective. (Objective= external to the mind and existing. Subjective= having the source within the mind)
  • Freud saw religious experiences as a reaction to a hostile world. We feel helpless and seek a father figure. Therefore we create God to satisfy our needs.
  • If there is no God, the experience of God cannot be valid.
  • We dont all experience it. Surely, if there was a God, He would want everyone to know about Him and not just a selected few?
  • If there is a reason why people who are not crdible are chosen? Can they be trusted?
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Examples of Religious Visions & Voices

John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879)

  • Mystical; whe you become overwhelmingly aware of the presence of God.
  • A sense of union & unity with the divine, transcending of time and a sense of joy & well-being.
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St John of the Cross

St John of the Cross (1549-1591)

  • He was brought up with his parents but then his father left the family.
  • He got a job looking after hospital patients.
  • He supported Saint Teresa but was kidnapped and tortured by his own order.
  • He escaped and lived in a covent infirmary to escape his pursuers.
  • He was praying and saw Jesus on the cross and created a picture of it.
  • He created poems and literature that was religious.
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St John of the Cross

St John of the Cross (1549-1591)

  • He was brought up with his parents but then his father left the family.
  • He got a job looking after hospital patients.
  • He supported Saint Teresa but was kidnapped and tortured by his own order.
  • He escaped and lived in a covent infirmary to escape his pursuers.
  • He was praying and saw Jesus on the cross and created a picture of it.
  • He created poems and literature that was religious.
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Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879)

Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879)

  • She was illiterate and had several illnesses in her childhood.
  • She saw the Virgin Mary in several occasions.
  • Once by a stream at a spring which she was dug & found.
  • Also to build a chapel.
  • Her body remaind intact over 100's of years after her death.
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Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Terea of Avila (1515-1582)

  • She was a religious child then got involved in romantic literature and after an illness-she went back to religion.
  • She had a shattering experience where she saw Christ wounded and from then she experienced visions.
  • She was aided by St John of the cross in her endeavors.
  • She had heights of mysticism, enjoyed countless visions and experienced various mystical favours.
  • She enjoyed the  delights of prayer and the pleasures of secular conversation.
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Numinous Experience

Richard Otto (1869-1937)

  • He suggested that religion must derive from a being thar is totally separate from this world.
  • A numinous experience reveals something about God, but cannot be explained in words, as the whole experience is at an emotional level

Martin Buber (1878-1965)

  • He believes that you can have a personal relationship with God that can exist regardless of the concept if the numinous 2 relationships;
  • 1. I-IT relations; when we stand in relation to something as an object which is entirely sepratae from us (how a doctor views a patient)
  • 2. I-THOU relations; a shared intimate personal relationship. A mutual interaction (deep friendships, religious experience of God)

 

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