Religious Experience

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  • Generally Religious Experience split into two categories - direct and indirect
  • Direct - person experiences God in a direct way. Otto called these experiences numinous meaning beyond the physical obervable world. e.g. Paul on road to Damascus
  • Someone experiences God in a direct way are aware of and know him in an intimate and personal way.
  • Indirect - experiences leading one to thoughts about God e.g. the beauty of nature or acts of prayer. 
  • Swinburne categorises religious experiences to show the vast array: Public - ordinary (people interpret natural events as having religious significance e.g. beauty of nature) extraordinary (events appearing to violate our understandings of the workings of nature e.g. water to wine)
  • Private experiences: things describable in ordinary language e.g. dreams, experiences that are beyond powers of human description, and non specific - could be seeing the world from a religious perspective
  • Vision experiences God is 'seen' or 'observed'. e.g. Teresa of Avila was 'conscious' of Jesus by her side (intellectual vision, she didnt see a form but knew his presence) or St Bernadette saw visions of virgin Mary (corporeal vision as she saw the form who…


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