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In what ways might a religious experience be distinguished from other sorts of experience? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > Philosophy > In what ways might a religious experience be distinguished from other sorts of experience?

In what ways might a religious experience be distinguished from other sorts of experience?

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In what ways might a religious experience be distinguished from other sorts of experience? essay previewIn what ways might a religious experience be distinguished from other sorts of experience? essay preview

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how religious experience is different from other experiences

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A religious experience may be understood as any encounter with God. It is an experience of inspirational reality, seen in many different ways in different faith traditions. There are actually a number of different types of argument. For instance, some argue from ‘direct awareness’ – the view that God can be known directly by the person perceiving him. This is very personal however, and has limited capability to persuade others.

There is an infinite number of different religious experiences, as each one is unique, but there have been attempts to classify them based on the results of the experience. The main classifications of religious experiences are:
Visions, Conversions and mystical experiences.

A vision is a dramatic mental image. It’s an experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance; three ways of experiencing a vision is, an intellectual vision, this brings knowledge and understanding such as a revelation from God. An imaginary vision, this is where something that strengthens faith is seen with mind’s eye and lastly a human vision is where the figure is externally present. An example of visionary experience is the quote from the bible which states: ‘Jacobs Vision of a ladder to heaven’ – Genesis 28:10-22.
Conversion is when the effects of a religious experience are life-changing. The result of a conversion on a personal level is usually a greater understanding of faith. ‘Religious conversion’ is the process that leads to the adoption of a religious attitude or way of life. These effects can be temporary or permanent. There are two forms of mental occurrence which lead to a difference in the conversion process, they are; a conscious and voluntary experience-volitional type & an involuntary and unconscious experience- surrender type. One example of conversion is in the bible, the conversion of Saul to Paul. In this story, Saul- the Jew becomes blind and then gets healed by Jesus; Saul then changed his beliefs and converted in to a follower of Jesus (a Christian) because he had witnessed a religious experience.

Mystical experiences are experiences where the recipient feels a sense of union with the Divine. Mysticism involves the spiritual recognition of truths beyond normal understanding. Mystical experiences involve knowledge of ultimate reality is gained. Sense of freedom from limitations of time, space and human ego is experienced and sense of oneness or unity with the divine is experienced. There are four characteristics of mysticism which William James claimed would enable us to identify mystical experiences. The four characteristics are ineffability which is an experience that cannot be communicated in normal speech, Noetic which is about gaining knowledge an understanding, transiency which is experiences that only last for a limited time and passivity which is an experience that ...

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