An analysis of religious experience as the root of religion by william james

They may be difficult to distinguish observationally from psychopathological states such as psychoses or other forms of altered awareness Charlesworth: This type of religious experience is characteristic for the shaman.

This consideration prompted attempts to understand experience in broader terms. Rufus Jones Courtesy of the American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia Religious experience and other experience Views of experience in general Religious experience must be understood against the background of a general theory of experience as such.

The Varieties of Religious Experience

Preparations for experience Mystics, prophets, and religious thinkers in many traditions, both Eastern and Western, have been at one in emphasizing the need for various forms of preparation as a preliminary for gaining religious insight.

Those who follow the lead of Wittgenstein regard religious utterances as noncognitive but attempt to determine the way in which religious language is actually used within a circle of believers.

There is a distinction between an existential judgment a judgment on "constitution, origin, and history" and a proposition of value a judgment on "importance, meaning, or significance".

A sense of the friendly continuity of the ideal power with our own life, and a willing self-surrender to its control. Validity and cognitive import are matters calling for logical, semantic, epistemological, and metaphysical criteria—of the principles of rational order and coherencemeaning, knowledge, and reality—and this means that the appraisal of religious experience is ultimately a philosophical and theological problem.

No one can make clear to another who has never had a certain feeling, in what the quality or worth of it consists. Anthropological studies have shown that indigenous religions gave birth to many forms of art that, in the course of development, won independence as secular forms of expression.

In ecstasy the focus is on the soul leaving the body and to experience transcendental realities. Therefore, although the religious community aims at maintaining its historic faith as a framework within which to interpret experience of the divine, every such community must find ways of recognizing both novel experience and fresh insight resulting from individual reflection and contemplation.

Rudolf Otto[ edit ] The German thinker Rudolf Otto — argues that there is one common factor to all religious experience, independent of the cultural background. James was plagued by poor physical health and depression. To prepare for the talks, Harvard psychologist William James had read widely in the religious classics, including the personal accounts of various saints and mystics.

Analysis of religious experience, interpretations placed upon it, and the beliefs to which it gives rise may result in the denial that there is any such reality to be encountered or that the assertion of it is justified by the experience in question.

As William Warde Fowler, a British historian, showed in his classic Religious Experience of the Roman Peoplethe task of elucidating the role of religion in Roman society can be accomplished without settling the question of the validity or cognitive import of the religious feelings, ideas, and beliefs in question.

Not all preternatural experiences are considered to be religious experiences. The term "spiritual awakening" may be used to refer to any of a wide range of experiences including being born againnear-death experiencesand mystical experiences such as liberation and enlightenment.The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is a book by Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William comprises his edited Gifford Lectures on natural theology, which were delivered at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in and The lectures concerned the nature of religion and the neglect of science in the academic study of religion.

Religious experience

William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience Revisited Article (PDF Available) in Journal of Religion and Health 47(4) · January with 1, Reads DOI: /s The Varieties of Religious Experience A Study in Human Nature by William James To E.P.G.


The Varieties of Religious Experience was an immediate bestseller upon its publication in June Reflecting the pluralistic views of psychologist turned philosopher William James, it posits that individual religious experiences, rather than the tenets of organized religions, form the backbone of.

"Not God", James states, "but life, more life, a larger, richer, more satisfying life, is, in the last analysis, the end of religion." Final word Inserted into the text of The Varieties of Religious Experience is the mention of a man who managed to save himself from insanity by anchoring his mind to powerful statements from the Bible.

“Religious experience” was not widely used as a technical term prior to the publication of The Varieties of Religious Experience () by William James, the kinds of differentia that can serve to distinguish religion or the religious from both secular life and other forms of spirituality, Analysis of religious experience.

An analysis of religious experience as the root of religion by william james
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