• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Give an account of the main types of religious experience.

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked Give an account of the main types of religious experience. [35] Religious Experience is a non-empirical occurrence which may even be perceived as supernatural. It is a ?mental-event? which is undergone by an individual, and of which that person is aware ? a subjective experience. Such an experience can be spontaneous, or it may be brought about as a result of intensive training and self-discipline. Recipients of religious experiences usually say that what has happened to them has ?drawn them into? a deeper knowledge or awareness of God. It is very important to remember that the experience itself is not a substitute for the Divine, but a vehicle that is used to bring people closer to the Divine. The experience that each individual has is absolutely unique and cannot be shared with anyone ? they usually find it difficult to describe. In examining the different types of religious experience, a good place to start is prayer. ...read more.


I felt I trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine..." William James concludes that persons who have passed through conversion, tend to feel themselves identified with it, no matter how much their religious enthusiasm declines. One of the least understood aspects of religious experience is mysticism. This term has been used to cover everything from the experiences of the Great Mystics of each religious tradition, to mildly ecstatic, mysterious or occult experiences. Mysticism involves the spiritual recognition of truths beyond normal understanding. It has been said that there are certain features which accompany such experiences which enable their recognition: the gaining of knowledge of the ?Ultimate Reality? ? this is knowledge which is normally hidden from the human intellect; a sense of freedom from the limitations of time, space and the human ego; a sense of ?oneness? or unity with the Divine and a sense of bliss or serenity. ...read more.


Finally, religious experiences, especially mystical kinds, are passive. Mystical states can be helped by such things as ?fixing the attention? or ?going through certain bodily movements?, but when the state occurs, the mystic feels as if they are taken over by a superior power. This can result in a phenomena that suggests alternative personality states, such as prophetic speech, speaking in tongues. The scholar Rudolf Otto wrote about numinosity in religious experience. This is when the person feels as if they are in the presence of an awesome power and yet they feel distinctly separate from it. However, some theologians are unhappy about such a concept being used to refer to the experience of God since it makes religion impersonal. Overall, religious experience is central to any religion and has been the basis of the establishing of many major religions, such as Christianity and Islam. It has a purpose of affirming God?s existence and engendering belief. To quote Joseph Barbera, ?I'm anything but immune to the power and the majesty of the religious experience.? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Outline the main features of virtue ethic

    In this case the weakness may be seen to be trouble-free as it could be sorted through the idea that if you are a virtuous person then you could guide yourself through behaviour and situations. There is no general agreement on what the virtues are and it may be that

  2. Discuss the suggestion that it is pointless to analyse religious experience

    James, although being an existentialist, also created characteristics of religious experience with a hope of further understanding them and giving them greater meaning. These were Ineffability (the unutterable quality of the experience, beyond words), Noetic Quality (an insight into the wisdom and truth of God, intuition of reason), Transciency (Experience can be fleeting but have life long effects)

  1. Examine and Comment on a philosophical analysis of religious experience

    Surely this would be a grave injustice on God's part; he would effectively be selecting people to help, which contradicts the idea of unconditional, universal love. RUDOLPH OTTO offers an altogether different way of viewing experience of the divine. He uses the idea of experiencing or somehow sensing the 'numinous'.

  2. What are Mill’s four main arguments in defence of freedom of speech?

    Mill held that without analysing the reasons for and objections to a view, that view was a prejudice rather than a philosophically acceptable opinion. A recent example of this is the case of historian David Irvine.

  1. Conocer es Ignorar

    Y lo m�s probable es que morir�amos antes de terminar. Por cada segundo que nos dedicamos al aprendizaje de la historia, m�s historia se est� creando. Ciencias Humanas es un tema que probablemente tendr�a que ser aprendida usando una generalizaci�n.

  2. Evaluate the claim that corporate religious experience is no more than an illusion

    and have caused internal spiritual revolutions, meaning that religious experiences are not merely illusionary. In the case of the Toronto Blessing, some non-Christians have experienced this and as a result changed their mind regarding religion and the existence of God, although this is not always the case.

  1. Discuss the issue that it is pointless to analyse religious experience

    For example, Jesus? resurrection or the Toronto Blessing would fall under this category to a religious believer. However the problem is that although the experience may have been analysed by both secularist and religious person, they may both be guilty of pre-held beliefs and therefore can?t commit to a logical fallacy.

  2. With reference to the life and work of Martin Buber describe and explain ...

    Buber had a keen sense of the political and understood political fervour and religious faith to be complementary to each other. Thus Buber became a pivotal member of the Zionist Movement. This was an organization aiming to establish a Jewish State so that the Jewish people could be a great nation again and influence the rest of the world.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work