Personal and/or Religious Experience Is Particularly Revealing for Developing a Fuller Understanding or Ourselves and/God? (50))

Topics: God, Religion, Religious experience Pages: 7 (2438 words) Published: May 9, 2013

Personal and/or religious experience is particularly revealing for developing a fuller understanding or ourselves and/God? (35) Examine and comment on this claim with reference to the topic you have investigated? (15)

“There is no single thing that can be bottled and neatly labelled as a religious experience”-Harvey. A religious experience is an outward encounter with something divine also known as God. This experience is set apart from any other experience as it is based on religious context. It is the contact of feeling something far greater than one’s self “connection with holiness”. It seems to happen at any time and it is described as likewise being in ‘another dimension’- as one perceive themselves unaware of their surroundings; feeling as if it happens directly outside the body- in a spiritual realm- given the name “supernatural event”. There are many types of religious experiences that were once very rare and are becoming more and more frequent amongst believers of many faiths and non-believers. During this period of time people feel loved, joyful, peaceful and blessed and other times gain some ultimate truth concerning life as well as, by and large, alters and changes behaviour and attitudes. According to some scholars in view of religious experiences humans cannot fully understand or are not yet equipped to explain the experience and as a result this is where the complex issue lies, posing a question on whether experiences are reliable, credible and are valid in terms of understanding human nature and Gods nature.

The purpose of this essay is to identify what religious experiences are, using case studies and scholars to help illustrate how they reveal an understanding of Gods nature as well as human nature.

Richard Swinburne, a 19th century Philosopher quotes “omnipotent and perfectly good creator will seek to interact with his creatures in particular with human persons capable of knowing him”. This highlights the question of why a spiritually supernatural divine and Supreme Being known as God want to reveal himself to his creatures that are of the physical. There are numbers of ways in which God reveals himself to humankind through music, the meditation of Holy Scriptures, people through preaching or an act of love, prayers of supplication, whereby peoples prayers are answered, they feel that God is for that person, and of worship, crises and so on.

This is either subjective (private) that is unique or interpreted to be a direct experience from God, although it could be a veridical experience of something genuine, although Swinburne’s says according to his principle if credulity and testimony that we ought to believe the person if he or she has had a religious experience unless there is are reason why you would think they are lying. Moreover there are also objective religious experiences which are cooperate meaning many people experience it a together proving the existence of God being ‘out there’, such as the Toronto blessing (people received tongues, shaking and laughter, falling on ground and much more)which is common in the Christian faith. Testimonies from believers at the Toronto blessing said that they felt an out pour of the Holy Spirit which can be compared with The Day of Pentecost why can be found in the Act 2. In reference to testimonies people also said it brought out wonderful joy and lifted people up to new spiritual heights as they began to walk much closer to God, like praying more, reading the Bible and evangelizing. It seems to have brought out an overwhelming sense of God’s love in their lives which led to wonderful joy and peace. This reveals to us that God does intend to make him known to human’s weather.

According to William James a mystical experience can be defined as an experience that altars the state of consciousness and brings people to a new awareness of ultimate reality. William James identified 4 features that an experience should have in order to justify...
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