Flashcards in Religious Experiences Deck (40)
Weaknesses of arguments from re experience
• In line with Biblical theology, either a presupposed belief in God or preconceived of what religious experiences are like makes people more likely to label an ordinary experience as religious.
• Religious experiences matching of religion they come from shows the culture you live in influences your idea of God. (Freud manifestation of your own psychology)
• Happen to people with a previous knowledge of religion, using their preconceived ideas and wish fulfillment.
• Individual experience is subjective, cannot be assessed objectively, ineffability.
re experiences in acts
o Acts 2:1-13 - Pentecost, disciples speak in tongues
o Acts 9:1-18 - Conversion of Saul to Paul, vision of God and miracle of curing his blindness
muslim example of re experience
o Prophet Muhammad and the Night of power - in cave, could not write. ANgel Gabriel spoke words he was thinking, imprinted on heart, recited Qu'ran despite being illiterate.
attempts at defining re experience
• Caveat - there are problems with any definition of religious experience
• The RERU set up at Oxford in 1968. In 1987, Inner Space claimed that 25-40% of UK population 'had been aware of a presence or power beyond themselves'
• Inner Space describes RE experiences as:
o Experience is 'quite different' and 'usually induces in the person concerned a conviction that the everyday world is not the whole of reality' with the 'awareness of its presence affecting the person's view of the world, it alters behaviour and changes attitudes'
schleiermacher view on re experience
o Claimed the essence of religion was based on personal experience, not reason
o Everyone has sense of divine, but in many people it is obscured by other concerns (Descartes)
o Re experience is 'self authenticating' that requires no justification
o The experiences should have priority and the statement of belief should be formulated to fit them e.g. the Creeds in the RCC
o Called religion 'a sense and taste for the infinite' and also the feeling of 'absolute dependence'. Thus an individuals' religious experience was based on the sense of being wholly dependent.
o Viewed Christianity as highest of the religions but not the only one. JC is only person to have complete 'God consciousness' which was totally unobscured
• Too much emphasis on the subjective, reducing religion to emotions. Takes away possibility that religious claims are based on facts.
• Some argue there has to be possibility of testing experiences against Bible and Church to be valid, otherwise caused by drugs/hallucination.
rudolph otto view
o Aim to identify what it was about religion that made it religious
o Believed in awe and mystery (key term he used was numinous)
o People should have a sense of an encounter with natural forces
o God's qualities
1. Quality of mystery: can never be fully described, incomprehensible
2. God is of ultimate importance
3. God is both attractive and dangerous, can't comprehend what's happening in re, but have sense of privilege
criticisms of god helmet
♣ Not convincing data produced when experiment repeated
♣ Only 1% of subjects ‘saw God’.
• But 80% felt a presence of some kind, but did not call it God – fear/embarrassment probably impacted results
oliver sacks criticism of NDE
o Migraine headaches also produce hallucinations, which Sacks himself has experienced as a longtime sufferer, including a “shimmering light” that was “dazzlingly bright”:
The reason hallucinations seem so real “is that they deploy the very same systems in the brain that actual perceptions do." Sacks concludes that “the one most plausible hypothesis in Dr. Alexander's case, then, is that his NDE occurred not during his coma, but as he was surfacing from the coma and his cortex was returning to full function. It is curious that he does not allow this obvious and natural explanation, but instead insists on a supernatural one.”
solar miracle of fatima
The story of a famous miracle in Fátima, Portugal, began in May 1917, when three children (ages 7, 9, and 10) claimed to have encountered the Virgin Mary on their way home from tending a flock of sheep. The oldest girl, Lucia, was the only one to speak to her, and Mary told the children that she would reappear to them on the thirteenth day of the next six months. She then vanished.
It was Mary's final appearance, on Oct. 13, 1917, that became the most famous. Estimated 70,000 people.
Thereupon Lucia exclaimed, 'The sun!' As everyone gazed upward, and saw that a silvery disc had emerged from behind clouds, they experienced what is known [as] a 'sun miracle'."
Not everyone reported the same thing; some present claimed they saw the sun dance around the heavens; others said the sun zoomed toward Earth in a zigzag motion that caused them to fear that it might collide with our planet (or, more likely, burn it up). Some people reported seeing brilliant colors spin out of the sun in a psychedelic, pinwheel pattern, and thousands of others present didn't see anything unusual at all.