What May a Study of Religious Experience Indicate About Human Nature

Topics: God, Religion, Human Pages: 4 (1496 words) Published: April 23, 2013
What may a study of religious experience indicate about human nature? Comment on the significance of this study.

‘The unreasoned and immediate assurance is the deep thing in us, the reasoned argument is but a surface exhibition.’ William James A religious experience is something beyond and outside of human science and understanding. It is, in essence, an encounter with the divine or ultimate. A religious experience is unique to each person who has one and so there is no specific or exact description of a religious experience. It is non-empirical, it often gives numinous feelings outside of our-selves and some thinkers also say that it gives a new purpose of life and destiny to the individual. For those who have had a religious experience it is full and ultimate proof in the existence of God and often leads individuals to complete re-evaluate their lives and follow a more humble religious way of life. However a religious experience only ultimate proof of the existence of God to those that have had such an experience, for those who have had not, it is impossible to understand what these individuals could have possibly experienced, and why only certain people have them.

The vast majority of Religious Experiences are unique individual experiences however there are some where are a group of people all share the same experience for example the Toronto Blessings where a large group all had the same experience. There is simply not one type of religious experience and so Richard Swinburne among others categorised such experiences into 5 clear categories. An every-day occasion that can be interpreted in a religious form , anyone can watch the sunset as simply a natural occurrence however some people may see the sunset and be overwhelmed with religious feeling. Witnessing a miracle or something super-natural such as a resurrection of someone you know to be dead. These two categories are what Swinburne classed as public experience, because they can be witnessed by...
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