religious experience

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  • Created on: 04-02-20 09:27

willaim james

william James

-his book 'the varities of relgous experience: a study in human nature' in the following forms: visions, voices, 'numinous' expereince, conversion expereince and mystical. 

mystical- feeling at one with god  numinous- expereinces of awe and wonder in the presence of an almighty god. 

James 4 criterias:

passive- the experience is not intiateed by the person expereincing it but rather have a sense that something is acting upon them. 

ineffable- the experience is beyond proper description. no adequate description can be given in word. 

noetic- despite the ineffability mystical states are not just feelings, the expereinces gives the mystic a deep  and direct knowledge of god. 

transient- the experince is temp and cannot be sustained, although its effects may last a long time. it can devolop and deepen with each subsequent experience. 

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william james

his conclusion:

James argues that relgious experience are pyscjhological phenomena that occur in our brains however, he does not belive that it is as simple as that. james also belives beloives that these supernatural relgious expereinces have 3 principles: empiricism, pluralism and pragmatism. 

empiricism: the many case studies he produces are empirical evidance of the effects of a relgious expereince. it is evidance that there could be soemthing beyond what we see and hear. 

plurailsm:those having a relgious expereince may be expereincing the same ultimate reality, which is then interpriated into the "second hand" relgoius belief structure which is most familiar to them. 

pragmatism: this concept is vital to an understanding of james work. as a pragmatist, ajmes belived that truth was not fixed and that what is true is whatever has great value for us. therefore, on observing the effect of relgoius expereinces, we have to conclude that truth can be found in religion. we can see that the outcome of a RE- people change their ways after having a RE. 

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st teresa of avlia

St Teresa gave 2 analogies to demonstare the types and stages of prayer

the garden analogy: she compared te soul to a garden that can be watered in 4 ways. the garden once watered becomes rich. this is the effects that prayer has upon the soul.

the bucket : watering a garden with a bucket lowered into a well is hard work. this is much like the process of beginning prayer. it is easy to become exhausted 

the windlass: a windless makes the process easier, but it is still laborious. once a routine is stablished, the process of prayer becomes a little easier. 

the river:a river running through the garden takes alot of the burden of watering from you. after practice, God begins to take the burden from you. 

Rain:if it rains, no effort is required at all. once contemplative prayer is established. the soul is given over to God and union with him is complete 

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Rudolf otto

the conecpt of the numinous.

otto admired james work. otto claimed that the numinous expereinces included:

1. a sense of insignificance or 'creature consiousness' while within the limitless and vast presence of god 

2. an experience of something 'wholly other' the numinous is like nothing else that can be experienced 

3. a sense of dread or terror that compels a person to kneel themsleves and to be speachless

4. a simultaneous fasination 

5. the experience ends in a state of ulitmate bliss or ecstasy. 

mysterium tremedum :  otto refered to these numinous expereince as mysterium tremendum. 

mysterium- a mystery, something beyond human boundaries. tremendum- awe, fear or dread by Gods prences 

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Caroline franks Davis

caroline franks davis posed an opposition against RE

she said, claims of relgoius experiences may hbe beilved by the subject to be true but they have misunderstood the event and explained it wrongly

claims deluisonal:  this challenge attacks the perosn by saying they were mistaken, and suggests that bit didnt happen or can be desribed in a diffrent way. (freud argued that God is an ilussion) 

claims to substance misuse:a common cha;llange is that religious expereinces were brought on chemically through the use of drugs. some suggestthat this means the experience was not a real event. 

fantatical calims: everday expereinces accords with the laws of nature. regligious expereince is directly oposed to this and so appears to some to be a simple fansty. 

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