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Religious Experience Essay - Papers

Religious Experience Essay

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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Mystical and Numinous Religious Experience Essay by

Mystical and Numinous Religious Experience

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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Religious Experience Essay - 993 Words

Religious Experience

‘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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Religiousexperience can be used as evidence for the existence of God’ A religiousexperience is an encounter with God when you experience transcendent reality and it you cannot will it to happen. A direct religiousexperience refers to events where God reveals him/herself directly to the person having the experience . The experience is not chose or willed by the person; the person experiences or observes God in some way. An indirect religiousexperience refers to experiences . thoughts or feelings about God that are prompted by events in everyday life. For example observing the stars in the sky and having thoughts about the greatness of God the Creator. Ineffable experiences are beyond human powers and abilities to fully describe and communicate. Religiousexperiences can be experienced in many forms such as visions, voices, numinous experiences . conversion experiences . or corporate religiousexperiences . The inductive argument is all based upon experience . Inductive arguments suggest that if an entity is experienced, it means that it must exist. It implies that God is the sort of being that is possible to be experienced and that people can claim to have experienced God.

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The mystical experience . an experience felt beyond the realms of ordinary consciousness that has affected many prominent figures throughout history. Mystical experiences often defy any physical description and such experiences involve ineffable awareness of time, space, and physical reality. These experiences are universal and share common characteristics no matter what religion, beliefs, or culture in which the person attends and the experiences are often spiritual rather than religious . William James, a philosopher and a psychologist indentified four characteristics that have laid the foundation for the validity of a mystical experience ; these characteristics are ineffability, noetic quality, transiency, and passivity. According to James mystical experiences vary in intensity and they present themselves as having sudden insight or knowledge, then there is the maximum state of a mystical experience where an individual experiences being in union with God. Teresa of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen are two women who have had mystical experiences in which it truly affected their lives and the people around them, although their experiences were different both women felt the presence of god and were immediately filled with insight. Teresa of Avila had two kinds of visions during her mystical.

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What may a study of religiousexperience indicate about human nature? Comment on the significance of this study. ‘The unreasoned and immediate assurance is the deep thing in us, the reasoned argument is but a surface exhibition.’ William James A religiousexperience is something beyond and outside of human science and understanding. It is, in essence, an encounter with the divine or ultimate. A religiousexperience is unique to each person who has one and so there is no specific or exact description of a religiousexperience . It is non-empirical, it often gives numinous feelings outside of our-selves and some thinkers also say that it gives a new purpose of life and destiny to the individual. For those who have had a religiousexperience it is full and ultimate proof in the existence of God and often leads individuals to complete re-evaluate their lives and follow a more humble religious way of life. However a religiousexperience only ultimate proof of the existence of God to those that have had such an experience . for those who have had not, it is impossible to understand what these individuals could have possibly experienced, and why only certain people have them. The vast majority of ReligiousExperiences are unique individual.

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Critically examine the relationship between different social groups and their religious beliefs and practice (33 marks) There are significant differences between social groups and their religious beliefs and practice. There is a very significant ethnic pattern in the participation of religion. The minority groups in britain are a lot more religious than the majority of the population (white christian). For example, it is much more likely to find black christians(who make up 40% of the membership) in a pentecostal church than white christians. In opposition to that, Modood found that while minorities have higher participation rates, there is a decline in importance of religion for all ethnic groups. There are clear ethnic patterns in religious participation, with minority groups having a higher level of religious participation. The UK today is a multi ethnic and multi religious society, with Muslims, Hindus and Black Christians more likely than white Christians to see religion as important and a central part of their lives. Among Christians blacks are more likely than whites to be found in Pentecostal churches, where they make up 40% of the membership. However Modood et al found that despite minority’s having higher participation rates, there’s decline in importance of religion for all ethnic groups and that fewer were observant, especially amongst the second generation.

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assess, with reference to William James, the argument from religiousexperience . A religiousexperience is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework. Refer to cases where a person encounters God in a direct way. Otto said the central element of direct was an ‘apprehension of the wholly other’, called the numinous. This means the world that is beyond the physical observable universe in which we live. They are experiences of the wholly other; completely outside our possible knowledge and experience . The ways religiousexperiences are described are often with words such as awe, wonder and beauty, but the actual nature of the experience was ineffable; James agreed with this. Direct experiences involve experience of God and are ineffable. One reason for this is that experiences are always of an object, but of a sensation, feeling or awareness directly in the mind of the person. Direct experiences aren’t just about seeing God, but being aware of him in an intimate and personal way. Ordinary experiences do not involve God, though they may be ineffable. Indirect experiences refers to experiences where the mind of an individual focuses on god. Acts of prayer and worship are also indirect.

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Arguments from religiousexperience are never convincing. When people say that they have experienced God or the divine in some way; they are not saying that it ‘seemed like’ God but was something else. The issue for many philosophers is: are religiousexperiences veridical? By this is meant can we actually demonstrate that the religiousexperiences of people are what they seem to be, i.e. experiences of God, rather than delusions, products of the mind or of some other source such as LSD? Can a person saying they have had a religiousexperience really be convincing? To know whether religious arguments are convincing or not, Richard Swinburne has suggested two principles that may be used to assess claims about religiousexperiences . First, he suggested what he calls that ‘principle of credulity’. Swinburne argued that, other things being equal, we have good reason to believe what a person tells us is correct. In general, if a person tells us that they can see a cat crossing the road, we believe them, even if we have not seen the event. Even if only one person sees the event, they still count. Swinburne says “the principle of credulity states that we ought to believe that things are as seen to be, unless or until we have evidence that they are mistaken” by this Swinburne means that unless you can prove.

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| Personal and/or religiousexperience is particularly revealing for developing a fuller understanding or ourselves and/God? (35) Examine and comment on this claim with reference to the topic you have investigated? (15) “There is no single thing that can be bottled and neatly labelled as a religiousexperience ”-Harvey. A religiousexperience is an outward encounter with something divine also known as God. This experience is set apart from any other experience as it is based on religious context. It is the contact of feeling something far greater than one’s self “connection with holiness”. It seems to happen at any time and it is described as likewise being in ‘another dimension’- as one perceive themselves unaware of their surroundings; feeling as if it happens directly outside the body- in a spiritual realm- given the name “supernatural event”. There are many types of religiousexperiences that were once very rare and are becoming more and more frequent amongst believers of many faiths and non-believers. During this period of time people feel loved, joyful, peaceful and blessed and other times gain some ultimate truth concerning life as well as, by and large, alters and changes behaviour and attitudes. According to some scholars in view of religiousexperiences humans cannot fully.

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