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Summary of religious experience

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Mystical Experience
Becoming overwhelmingly aware of the presence of an ultimate God.
William James [Features]:
- Ineffibility; a state of experience unlike nothing else and the experience is too
difficult to describe. [Christians believe that God is incomprehensible].
- Noetic quality; Experiences reveal insights that are beyond human reason and
understanding. [Eg. Isaiah's experience in the temple in Jerusalem]
- Transiency; Experiences don’t last long and are imperfectly remembered
- Passitivity; A strong sense of being taken over.
Stace
- Introvertive looking inwards at ones own experience
- Objective Outward circumstances: “lovely the woods, waters, meadows” –
GERARD HOPKINS. Its all down to God.
Paul Tillich describes a mystical experience in 2 stages:
1) An objective event / encounter
2) Followed by a special understanding of that event, revealing its religious
significance
- A divine union with God
- Loss of self, feel in Gods ecstasy
Criticism:
- Spiritual elation, as it suggests salvations can only be found by attaining a magical
goal, instead of through JC on the cross.
- Isolated from mortality and is totally focused on attaining the presence of the
holy.
Examples of Mystics:
Mother Julian of Norwich:
She was a religious recluse who wished at 30 years old to be extremely ill, near to the
point of drying without actually dying, so she could have the last rights and be cleansed
by the mercy of God and live on to lead a more sacred life. This happened and at the end,
when she got better, she received visions and revelations and this enables her to lead a
life totally dedicated to God.

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St. Teresa of Avila
A women stricken by illnesses, who over 20 years in her late life, received many mystical
experiences and felt that God was in her.
Vision
Religious experience distinguished by their visual element eg. Heaven and Hell or Living
creatures in Ezekiel’s vision..
Some public and others private, - often more clarity in dreams.
Eg. Maritan apparitions are where the Virgin Mary has shown herself to people.
Isiah had a vision of god in a temple.
- Joseph in Genisis could interpret peoples visions.
- Angels appear to the shepherd to tell them about JC
Miracle
An event which is believed to have a divine or supernatural cause. [Hulme]
EG. Many Christians travel to Lourdes in Franch because a young girl had visions of the
V Mary there and many people believe they have been cured of diseases by bathing in the
baths in Lourdes.
In the bible there many healing stories and miracle about turning water to wine.
Revelation
Revealed truth, disclosing truth through supernatural means, such as Moses and the
burning bush.
Aware of the divine through nature
Mystical experiences with a strong noetic nature, could also be a revelation, such as
Mohammed on the mountain
Non theistic religions, such as a Buddihism, may see a moment of insight [eg.
Meditation] as a revelation.
Maybe a realisation coming to the end of reflection
EG. Saul, Moses and the burning bush and Gabriel and Mary
Conversion
A change from nothingness or from one religion to another.
May suddenly change, or go through many stages
Emergence into a new life, with new beliefs
Experiences that have nothing leading up to them.
Voluntary change
EG. Saul on the road to Damascus, when he was going to persecute Christians and
he had a revelation, God spoke to him and said: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute
me?”. And from them on, he became Paul; a Christian.
Definition of Religious Experience

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Mystical Experience Becoming overwhelmingly aware of the presence of an ultimate God. William James [Features]: - Ineffibility; a state of experience unlike nothing else and the experience is too difficult to describe. [Christians believe that God is incomprehensible]. Noetic quality; Experiences reveal insights that are beyond human reason and understanding. [Eg. Isaiah's experience in the temple in Jerusalem] Transiency; Experiences don’t last long and are imperfectly remembered Passitivity; A strong sense of being taken over. Stace - Introvertive – looking inwards at ones own experience Objective – Outward circumstances: “lovely the woods, waters, meadows” – GERARD HOPKINS. Its all down to God. Paul Tillich – describes a mystical experience in 2 stages: 1) An objective event / encounter 2) Followed by a special understanding of that event, revealing its religious significance - A divine union with God Loss of self, feel in Gods ecstasy Criticism: - Spiritual elation, as it suggests salvations can only be found by attaining a magical goal, instead of through JC on the cross. Isolated from mortality and is totally focused on attaining the presence of the holy. Examples of Mystics: Mother Julian of Norwich: She was a religious recluse who wished at 30 years old to be extremely ill, near to the point of drying without actually dying, so she could have the last rights and be cleansed by the mercy of God and live on to lead a more sacred life. This happened ...
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Excellent resource! Really helped me get the gist of things.

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