RS - Philosophy - Year 1 - Religious Experience
Terms in this set (63)
What is a vision?
Something that cannot be seen by ordinary sight that usually conveys a message or revelation
What 3 types of vision are there?
What is a sensory vision?
External objects or figures convey knowledge
What 3 types of sensory vision are there?
Give examples of the 3 typed of sensory vision.
Group = The Angels of Mons (WWI)
Imaginary = Jacob's vision of the ladder to heaven
Corporeal = Appearance of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette of Lourdes
What is an imaginary vision?
A vision that strengthens faith and is seen in the minds eye
What is a corporeal vision?
Where a figure is externally present
What 4 things can be included in visions?
Image or event containing a message
An appearance of a religious figure
A place of religious significance
Give examples of the 4 things that could be included in visions.
The large sheet in Peter's visions showing he could eat with Gentiles [Acts 10]
The visions at Fatima
Guru Nanak's vision of God's court
Ezekiel's vision of the 4 fantastic creatures
What is a conversion?
To completely change one's view of the world and one's place in it
Who can have conversions (with examples)
Individuals: Niki Cruz
Groups: The mass conversion in Acts 2
Give a quote on the mass conversion in Acts 2
"Those who accepted this message [from Peter] were baptised and over 3000 were added to their number" ACTS 2
Who came up with the characteristics of conversion?
What are the 4 characteristics of conversion?
Can be gradual or sudden
Can be volitional of self-surrendering
Can be passive or active
What does it mean for a conversion to be gradual or sudden?
Can happen instantaneously or over time
What modification does Billy Graham add to James' definition of a gradual conversion?
That a spontaneous conversion will only happen with prior subconscious development
What does it mean for a conversion to be volitional or self-surrendering?
Volitional = done freely
Self-surrendering = conversion happens with a struggle
What does it mean for a conversion to be passive or active with examples.
Passive = the conversion happens unexpectedly (Paul's vision on the road to damascus)
Active = Conversion is actually sought after
(Alann Bennet- the first British Buddhist monk)
What does it mean for a conversion to be transforming?
They create "a new creation" according the Paul in 2 Corinthians
In what 6 ways can conversions impact those who have experienced them?
Can push someone from no religion to faith
Can covert someone from one religion to another
Can convert from faith believe to faith trusting [WESLEY]
Can be an instance of intellectual persuasion
Con be a moral conversion
Can be an instance of the unification of the inner self
Give an example of someone converting from one faith to no faith.
Augustine of Hippo: "The light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled"
Give an example of someone converting from one faith to another
Sundar Singh's conversion from Sikhism to Christianity after a vision of Christ
Give an example of someone converting from faith believing to faith trusting
Paul Wesley conversion from "mind to heart"
He did "trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation"
Give an example of a conversion in the form of intellectual persuasion
CS Lewis being convinced that Jesus was the son of God after debates with JRR Tolkien
Give an example of moral conversion
Augustine's renunciation of his sinful life
What does William James say about conversion in relation to the unofficial of the soul?
A conversion is a psychological and is the self unifying itself
What is mystical experience?
A religious experience where union with God or the absolute reality is sought or experienced
Who came up with the 5 characteristics of mystical experience?
What are the 5 characteristics of mystical experience?
Transcendent = Not localisable in temporal space or time
Exstatice = fill the should with bliss or peace
Unitive = Removes the separation between the individual and absolute reality
Noetic = always conveys illumination or truth
How doe Suso describe the unitive nature of mystical experience?
a man "is entirely lost in God... like a drop of water poured into a vast ocean of wine" HENRY SUSO
What are the two parts of the ecstasy caused by mystical experience?
Suspension of the senses (e.g. Prayer of the Quiet- Teresa of Avila)
Instense sense of ultimate calm and concentration (e.g. Vipissana meditation)
What is prayer?
Communication with the divine with can facilitate mystical experience
How does Teresa of Avila say we can achieve true union with God?
Through personal dedication to prayer and the help of divine intervention
What characterises ToA first 3 stages of prayer?
Where "there labour is hardest"
The mind or soul is like a garden: God "uproots the weeds [and then we must] like good gardeners... make these plants grow"
What are the latter 4 stages of prayer?
4th stage = Prayer of the quiet
Captivation by God's love leading to profound peace
5th stage = Prayer of Simple Union
"God implants himself into the interior of the soul"
6th stage = Spiritual marriage
Longing to spend every moment with God
7th stage = Mystical marriage
Complete unity with the divine
Teresa of Avila on God's intentions for spiritual prayer
"The Lord does not look so much at the magnitude of anything we do as at the love with which we do it" Teresa of Avila
How does Teresa of Avila describe the 7 stages of mystical prayer?
They are the interior castle.
One goes trough the mansions (or stages) to become closer to the divine
Who came up with the four characteristics of mystical experience?
What are the 4 characteristic of mystical experience?
How does James define passivity?
"The mystic feels as tough his own will were in obeyance" JAMES
How does James define ineffability?
"No adequate report of [the experience's] contents can be given in words" JAMES
Give an example of what James means by ineffability.
Attempting to describe Johnny's kind-heartedness, honesty, loyalty and beauty.
How does James define transiency?
"Mystical states cannot be sustained from long" JAMES
How does James define noetic?
"State of insight into depths of truth implemented by the discursive intellect" JAMES
Who came up with the notion of numinous experience?
How does religious experience differ from normal experience according to Otto?
Religious experience goes beyond the empirical world and deals with peoples feelings
Where does the word numinous come from?
Comes from the Latin "numen" meaning supernatural divine power
What does Otto mean by a religious experience being non-rational?
The experience is entirely stable (as opposed to irrational experiences) but it cannot be defined as rational as it is not verifiable through traditional empirical means
Otto on the importance of numinous experiences for religious traditions?
It is "the deepest and most fundamental element in all strong and sincerely felt religious emotion" OTTO
How does Otto characterise numinous experience?
Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans
Mysterium = That which is beyond conception
Tremendum = That which has "daunting awfulness and majesty"
Fascinans = "Something uniquely attractive an fascinating"
Who came up with the 'related challenges' to religious experience?
Caroline Franks Davis
What are the 'related challenges' and what do they mean?
Description-related challenges = A description issued of something for which there is no evidence for it's existence meaning the report is invalid
Subject-related challenges = The recipient of the experience is unreliable so the report is invalid
Object-related challenges = The likelihood of the recipient experiencing the object they described (like God) is unlikely, so the claim is dismissed.
How could the verification principle be used to undermine the truth of religious experiences?
"It is verifiable in a weak sense if it is possible for experience to render it probable" AYER
We cannot imagine an experiment we could perform to test the true validity of the claims of religious experience.
If we cannot verify it, then it becomes a meaningless claim about the external world, similar to 'I like it when it snows'
How could we use the falsification principle to undermine the truth of religious experience?
The gardener analogy
"How does a invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary one, or even, no gardener at all" FLEW
Religious people can always qualify their testimony with justifications of why their experiences can't be falsified
If they do this, their claims are meaningless
What is Hume's challenge to religious experience?
Yes, it is possible for miriciales to occur
But it is impossible to prove that they occur because they are based on an subjective experience.
Thus it is reasonable to dismiss their happening
Hume on the absurdity of believing the truth of religious experience
"Does a man of sense run after every silly tale of hobgoblins or fairies, and canvass particularly the evidence? HUME
What is Ioan Lewis' challenge to religious experience?
There is a connection between pre-industrial societies and a mass religious experience.
They are potentially made up in order to attract the attention and money of the wider community
(e.g. Fatima is now Portugal's tope tourist destination = shit tonnes of money)
What is Freud's challenge to religious experience?
That it is a symptom of the neurosis caused by the suppression of sexual desire in the subconscious
How could Freud's theory be applied to an instance of religious experience?
Teresa of Avila saw an angel piercing her heart with a fiery spear
The spear could be interpreted fallicly
How could Hume be used to argue in favour of religious experience against verificationism and falsificationism?
"Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions." HUME
Just because religious experience cannot be verified in a traditional empirical sense, does not diminish the huge emotional impact it has on its recipient.
Means they are valid
How can the idea of one-off experiences be valid, even if they are never repeated be used to dismiss challenges to the validity of religious experience?
Just because something is unrepeatable does not mean it was not valid.
Say for one night in the history of humanity the moon turned green? That experience would be valid by testimony, even if the instance was unrepeatable.