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What is meant by a religious experience?'

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AS Religious Studies Luke Hyde Q. 'What is meant by a religious experience?' 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. ...read more.


As stated previously, there are different forms of religious experiences. Firstly, most experiences are said to have been 'mystical'. By this I mean that the individual feels closer and more united with the Divine as a result. The Divine means a absolute perfect being that has phenomenal power and cannot be compared to anything - God. Mysticism involves 'the spiritual recognition of truths beyond normal understanding', and is it is also said that it is the closest a human come actually come to meeting the Divine. William James, a famous religious commentator, suggested that the term mystical had several contexts, and emphasised the point that 'any person who believes in thought-transference or spirit return' is too uncertain and unclear. Several religious experiences are also have said to have been resulted from 'prayer'. When a person prays to God either through meditation, reflection etc, then it is not unusual for an incident of religious experience to take place as a result of this. ...read more.


In conclusion to James' statement, it is clear that mystical experiences take place when someone is aware of them, (i.e. not unconscious), and that they either spontaneous or induced. The term conversion plays a large part when in discussion about the subject of religious experience. It means, 'regeneration'. Religious 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 importance. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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