Flashcards in Religious Experience Deck (54)
Have many definitions which makes them problematic to discuss but give a few definitions ?
Experience in a religion context Otto- experience of the numenous, wholly other
Why is it hard to categorise and distinguish them?
Huge variation within categories e.g visions, corporeal visions and imaginative visions) this therefore makes rel exp even harder to define
Philosophers who believe rel exp hold common features ? What are their definitions
Ninian Smart - defines them as ‘ some kind of perception of the invisibly world’Rudolph Otto- ‘wholly other’ and sense of the ‘numinous’ ( sense of being in presence of awesome power yet separate, includes feelings of inspiring awe) Frederick copleston - Jesuit philosopher ‘ cannot be explained adequately without residue’, agrees with William James
Richard Swinburnes 5 categories of a religious experience ?
2 public 3 private
1) seeing god in publicly observable object/ scene
2) sewing God in unusually place public ally observed e.g Fatima
3) private to individual and decidable
4) private to individual & ineffable
5) private belief (whole of ones life seen as a rel exp
Walter Stace what did he say ?
Created a book on mysticism and philosophy -8 common features of rel exp
P- passive (loss sense of control)
I- ineffable (indescribable)
S- sense of sacred (appreciation of holy)
H- happiness (feel happy)
P- paradox (normal rules of logic don’t apply
U- union with holy
William James 4 common characteristics ?
N- oetic (belief knowledge is transferred
T- ranscience (exp is short but effects long lived)
What are Bliks ?
RM hare proposed believers statements were bliks (regarding a world in a way that may not be based in factsReligious beliefs are bliks as impact the way people look at the world
Types of rel exp that have distinctive visual element - usually contain a message or warning e.g Angel Gabriel appearing to Joseph to flea Herolds execution of first born
Variations in visions ?
Smart suggested 3 types - corporeal (figure is externally present e.g Mary to Bernadette)- intellectual (brings Knowledge and understanding such as revelations from God)- imaginative (strengthens faith often occurs in dreams e.g Pharoas dream Happens in group of individually May or may not have words
Important visions ?
Gabriel to Mary Paul/SaulJesus appears to disciples
Shift between one world view to another more satisfactory world view- vary greatly
Variations of conversions ?
Faith to faith No faith to new faith Changing denomination e.g T Blair COE to RCRediscovering old religious position
Important conversions ?
Saul’s conversion Zacheaus the tax collector Buddha
Causes of conversions ?
Result of self reflection Result of a vision
How long they last ?
Varies - gradual coversions tend to be longer as have to be given more thought - some are fast and sudden
It’s suggested a person who experiences a conversion may have two things in their mind ?
1 present wrongness in their life 2 positive changes they wish to make
2 types of conversion experience ?
Volitional conversion ?
Voluntary, majority are gradual change but person suddenly becomes aware one day
Self surrender conversion ?
(Involuntary) - changed by external power ‘mans extremity is in Gods opportunity’ - William James You can try for a conversion all you want but after a certain point it relies on other forces Starbuck says once a person stops trying to covert they are more likely to convert naturally
Forms of conversions ?
Organic - self surrender form, individual loathes what they become and can’t do anything about it Passive- individuals feel themselves changing via external power and aren’t actively doing it
3 other classifications of conversions ?
Intellectual - change in the way of thinking about something (conflict in 2 systems of thought)Moral- change in behaviour, does what is thought to be right, lifestyle change Social conversions - acceptance of different way of life, conversion slowly in subconscious then sudden in consciousness, William James called this subconscious incubation
What did William James say about conversions?
- v real to experiencer- persons life is completely changed by it showing strong evidence for them happening
Theresa of Avila made 9 grades of prayer ? What are the first 4 staged as and what are the last 5 ?
First 4= predominantly ascetical stage of spiritual life Last 5= remaining prayer belong to mystical phase of spiritual life
What is Theresa’s garden analogy ?
Metaphor representing soul and understanding grace
List Theresa’s garden analogy ?
1 taking water from a well (active side of begging to prayer)2 obtaining water from aqueduct (divine joy seems to come to us in an endless flow)3 stream of water (benefit from with little effort, God becomes active presence in or life of prayer 4 gentle rain (blessed enduring union with God), no effort on our part- mystics often exp this = often feel ecstasy
Who was Teresa of Avila ?
Carmelita nun who reformed the carmelite order - had several rel exps during life - beloved purpose of life. Was union with God and wrote 7 types of prayer in her work ‘the interior castle’
What is Avila’s work about on interior castle ?
Work described 7 mansions We guide our spiritual development through service and prayer Each mansion is a deeper level of prayer ascending upwards
Rudolph Otto looking at mystical experience ?
Otto wrote book ‘ the idea of the holy’Wanted to look at rel exp beyond scope of empirical reasoning - said holy had many meanings so not useful - used term numenous - numenous mean supernatural - agrees rel exp are ineffable - numenous is best described using the term mysterious tremendum et facsinas= man is both repelled and attracted
Was Ottos idea of what a mystical exp is sufficient ?
- assumed everyone can have an encounter with divine - doesn’t explain anything about nature of God - no details about specific religious believe - describes rel exp feelings but not actually what it is