Types of Religious experiences


Mind Map on Religious experiences, created by Anna Bryan on 14/05/2017.
Anna Bryan
Mind Map by Anna Bryan, updated more than 1 year ago
Anna Bryan
Created by Anna Bryan about 7 years ago

Resource summary

Types of Religious experiences
  1. Visions- St Augustine identified 3 types of visions
    1. Corporeal
      1. Empirical experience - see it and experience it with your senses e.g. Joseph Smith who founded the Mormon faith after seeing a vision of two "personages " in a woodland .
        1. Visions often accompanied by instructions e.g. Joan of Ark experienced visions of angels who told her to bring renewal to the French nation.
          1. Visions often involve light e.g. Joan of Arks visions were accompanied by a heavenly light .
            1. Often involve a religious figure e.g. Bernadette's visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes .
            2. Imaginative
              1. Experienced with the minds eye
                1. Often occur in dreams e.g. pharaohs dream in Genesis telling him to store grain to avoid starvation .
                  1. Often accompanied with instructions e.g. the bible Joseph has a vision telling him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt .
                    1. The impact is often dramatic e.g. Joseph instantly obeys the angels command , staying in Egypt until the death of Herod.
                  2. Intellectual
                    1. Not seen by the eye or the minds eye , it is more felt e.g. St Teresa felt the presence of Jesus Christ but saw" nothing with the eyes of the body "
                      1. Ineffable - hard to scribe using ordinary language e.g. St. Teresa said of her experience " I did not know how I knew it ; but I could not help knowing that he was close".
                        1. They give spiritual illumination , help the experiencer understand God e.g. St Teresa "there is a light not seen ,which illumines the understanding so that the soul may have the fruition" .
                    2. Mystical experiences- an experience where someone feels they have achieved some kind of union with the divine.
                      1. William James argued the are 4 main marks of a mystical experience: passivity, ineffability, noetic quality and transiency.
                        1. Passivity- the experienced had no control over the experience e.g. St Teresa in her mystical experience she was unable to stop an angel plunging a " great golden spear" into her heart
                          1. Transiency- the experience is quick but has a lasting impact e.g. St Teresa - " the time is always short but it feels like an eternity ".
                          2. Ineffability - the experiencer finds it very difficult to put their experience into words e.g. St Teresa wrote " that no words do express the joy that I felt ".
                            1. Noetic quality- when the mystic unites with God they become aware of truths not previously known e.g. Jacob Boehme " in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at university " .
                            2. Walt Stace- there are 2 types of mystical experiences : introvertive and extrovertive.
                              1. Extrovertive- after the mystical experience person continues to see the same world of trees , tables and chairs as the rest of us but sees these objects in a changed way so that God shines through them.
                                1. Introvertive- person sees the world in a completely different light-" not that all consciousness disappears but that only the ordinary sensory - intellectual consciousness disappears and is replaced by an entirely new kind of consciousness ".
                              2. Numinous experience
                                1. An experience where one finds themselves in the divine presence. Rudolph Otto called numinous experiences " an apprehension of the wholly other" .
                                  1. Involve the experienced being overcome with wonder and awe e.g. In the Wind and the Willows the rat has a numinous experience when he encounters the God Pan - the rag feels a " great awe fall upon him , an awe that turned his muscles to water".
                                    1. Feelings about a numinous experience are Sui generis - unique and of their own kind
                                      1. C.S Lewis illustrates this - if you were the told there was a tiger in the next room you would probably feel a sense of fear and danger . If you were told there was a ghost in the next room you would experience a different kind of fear of . The unknown , dread. Then if you were told there was a "mighty spirit in the room", would be very different from the tiger and the ghost - wouldn't feel danger in the same way you "would feel wonder and a certain shrinking "- unique to a numinous experience.
                                    2. Makes the experiencer feel insignificant - Rudolph Otto, the experiencer feels "submerged and overwhelmed by our own nothingness in contrast to that which is supreme above all creatures".
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