DEFINITIONS Flashcards Preview


Flashcards in DEFINITIONS Deck (13):

What is the general definition of a religious experience?

- A non-empirical occurrence and may be perceived as super natural.
- It can be described as a "mental event" which is undergone by an individual, and of which the person is aware.


How do religious experiences occur?

- Such an experience can be spontaneous, or it may be brought about as a result of intensive training and self discipline.


What are the general effects of religious experience?

-Usually recipients of religious experience say that they have been "drawn into a deeper knowledge or awareness of God".


Why shouldn't religious experiences be worshipped?

- Because they are not a substitute for the divine, rather a vehicle that is used to bring people closer to the divine.


What is the main characteristic of religious experiences in general?

- They do not condemn the individual but help them to lead a better life, or help others.


Give the understandings of religious experience from Einstein, Ninian Smart, Gaskin, Alistair Hardy and William James.

Einstein: "a knowledge of the existence we can't penetrate"- meaning we cannot access the divine.

Gaskin: "such experiences may not be interpreted by everyone as religious"- a matter of interpretation. Faith blinds people from alternative possibilities. Rose tinted glasses.

Smart: "Perception of the invisible world of reality".

Hardy: "The everyday world is not the whole reality".

James: "He fell under not one of my senses, yet my consciousness perceived him". "Impossibility of describing the thing".


What did Davis and Swinburne conclude about religious experiences and the strength of these arguments as proof of God?

"If all arguments for and against God's existence are balanced- report of religious experiences tip the scales in favour of God's existence".


What did Alfred Tennyson claim about his own personal religious experience?

"I am ashamed of my fable description".

"Have I not said that the state is utterly beyond words".


What did Swinburne identify as the 2 main realms of religious experience?

1. Public: can be quasi sensory (physical sensation), interpretative ( no specific religious characteristics e.g. sunset may really be "the hand of God). or can be a breach of normal law e.g. when Jesus turned water into wine.

2. Private: can be those which are not ineffable e.g. Moses, those which are ineffable e.g. Julian of Norwich who used metaphors or they can be a constant regular feeling of God's presence in the senses (numinous).


What is meant by the term "numinous"?

- The feeling of being in the presence of something greater.
- Many testimonies from those claiming to have had a RE refer to a sense of being in the presence of an awesome power, yet feeling distinctly separate from it.


What did Rudolph Otto describe numinous as being?

- Some may classify it as a type or a feature.
- Rudolph Otto uses the term "numinous" in the idea of holy, in referring to being in the presence of awesome power- suggested religion must derive from a being that is totally separate from this world.
-Claimed Moses experienced the numinous.


What are Swinburne's 6 types of religious experience?

1. Interpretive - no specific religious characteristics.
2. Quasi-sensory - experienced through the senses.
3. Revelatory - the reveal of something unknown (new understanding.
4. Regenerative - a conversion or renewal of faith.
5. Numinous - an experience of God's approachable holiness.
6. Mystical - a sense of apprehending ultimate reality or oneness with God.


What are the 3 beliefs about humanities relationship with God?

1. Deism= the rejection of religion based on books, dogma, demagogy and skepticism of reports of miracles, prophecies and religious mystic. Believe God created the world and is no longer involved- AGAINST RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AS GOD IS UNKNOWABLE- wholly transcendent and not anthropomorphic . We can only know God through observation of nature.

2. Monism= inner being/consciousness experienced, religious experience comes from within. God is within our soul/inner self Hindus believe the Atman contains the spark of Brahman for example. There is no external God. For a certain type of RE.

3. Monotheism= God reveals himself to humans e.g. Moses. External God who is transcendent and separate from humans. But causes RE to occur and through this and manifestations he is knowable.