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Flashcards in DEFINITIONS Deck (13):
1

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.

2

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.

3

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".

4

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.

5

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.

6

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".

7

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".

8

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".

9

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).

10

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.

11

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.

12

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.

13

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.