There are various interpretations of the definite meaning of a
religious experience, where each are unique and different.
There have been many, many stores put forward by certain individuals
who have claimed to have such an experience. Various people have
studied them, and have come to the conclusion that in most cases, very
similar subjects are brought up in them.
Some say that a religious experience involves having some sort of
contact with God. For example, it has come to our awareness that
people over the years have ‘heard the voice of God’. It is usually
described as a ‘mental event’ which is undergone by someone, and to
which they are conscience about it all.
A religious experience can also be described as ‘spur-of-the-moment’
situations that come completely out of the blue. These situations
could be the result of months, perhaps many years, of praying and
showing devotion and great loyalty to God.
Usually, when people talk about there experiences, they speak mainly
about the fact that an extremely special and sacred bond has developed
between themselves and God, which has allowed them to become closer
There is also a big difference between genuine religious experiences
and fictional ones. For example, real experiences tend to be hopeful
and heartening. They try and help the individual to live an enhanced
life and to get the best out of it. Religious experiences normally
puts the message across that to have an improved lifestyle, the main
way to achieve this is to help others.
Most experiences usually last only minutes, to perhaps a couple of
hours. However the informatio.
. middle of paper.
. conversion leads to the adoption of a positive religious attitude, or
a religious lifestyle.
Edward D. Starbuck, a famous professor, showed that the non religious
younger generation, when converted, showed that there were very
similar conversions experienced by most adolescents, suggesting that,
‘Conversion is a normal adolescent phenomenon, incidental to the wider
intellectual and spiritual life of maturity’. (Edward Starbuck)
However, William James disagrees and thinks that there are some people
around in the world who cannot be converted, mainly because religious
ideas could never become the centre of their spiritual and religious
energy. Perhaps they are extremely negative and pessimistic, or maybe
it is because they refuse to believe anything with religious
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Hinduism and Buddhism
They all originated from India. their relation has over the years clashed. Buddhism was founded by Buddha it gained popularity as a result of the oppression the people faced over the years. This offered an alternative to Hinduism. The people gained hope under Buddhism. Smart (1983 ) points out that initially Buddha was thought to be an incarnation of Vishnu by the Hindu. There were times when the Hindu community turned malicious against Buddhism. at the time the freedom of worship offered by their government enable the two religions to thrive
p Contrast of Hinduism and Buddhism
There exist a varied number of similarities and difference between the two forms of religion some of these similarities are for instance. they all believe in an illusion that men are bound in a cycle of death and life in this world. There is transmigration of souls through the life cycle (Smart. 1983. They also don 't promote violence against each other. The existence of exist several Hells and heaven is also emphasized as well as higher and lower world. Meditation is a way of life in these religions this is accompanied by several religious practices. They evolution originated at the Indian sub continent and enjoy a huge following. in for an individual to gain spiritual status there has to be a detachment of this life through death (Eastman 1999
According to Smart (1983. there exist a number of differences between the two religions. for instance in the Buddhist religion image worship is not emphasized as it 's with the Hindu. They regard Buddha as their highest supreme being irregardless of Buddha being seen as a form of incarnation by the Hindu. the Buddhist don 't regard a single Indian prophet in their believe. The Hindu believed in passion. accumulation.
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‘Arguments from religious experience are never convincing.’ (35 marks)
Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud present challenges to religious experiences. Marx’s challenges to religious experience arguments are sociological; he suggested that the origins of religious experience are to be found in society. He states religion is about mythological beliefs and an unreal god that distracted people from the real world, religion is ‘the opium of the people’, religious experiences create alienation and a religious experience could be the product of the desperate situation in which a person lived. Freud’s challenges to religious experience arguments are psychological; he suggested that religious experiences are a product of human psychology. He states religion is an illusion, religion expresses people’s desires and religion originates from a childlike desire for a God who resembles a father figure.
Some people have rejected James’ claim that religious experience is primary. For example, many sociologists point out that the most likely people to have religious experiences are those who are already religious. However James’ view has its weaknesses, for example some people have suggested that religious experiences are similar to hallucinations caused by drugs such as LSD. Furthermore J.L. Mackie argued in ‘The Miracle of Theism’ that if mystical experiences are explainable psychologically, which James’ stated is possible, then mystical experiences can have no authority even for the person who has the experience. Instead, Mackie suggest that people who believe mystical experiences are authoritative are ‘insufficiently critical’.
Challenges to religious experience arguments include physiological challenges. One argument against religious experiences suggests that they have a physiological cause; this means they are the product of physical changes in the body. For example did Paul have epilepsy? This could possibly explain his experience of bright light. Equally, it is known.
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Analyse the argument for the existence of God from religiousexperience “A religiousexperience offers a sense of the ultimate and an awareness of wholeness, a consciousness of the infinite and an absolute dependence.” Edward Schleiermacher. Religiousexperience has been a contentious subject for philosophers of religion in trying to actually define what a religiousexperience is, along with psychologists and religious believers. Otto, James, Hardy and Schleiermacher are among many people who have tried to define a religiousexperience and there basic understanding is it is an encounter with the divine. It is non-empirical, a personal occurrence that brings with it an awareness of something beyond ourselves. Those who have had such an experience count it as the ultimate proof of the existence of God. It is difficult to find a common theme with religiousexperiences due to the variety but you can divide them into two basic groups; a direct experience and an indirect experience . Testimonies of the occurrence of religiousexperiences can be found throughout human history, but do they prove that humanity has a link with God if they are true and if they are false, why are we so ready to believe them? Every testimony of a.
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