William James' religious experience


A Levels Philosophy (Religious experience) Note on William James' religious experience, created by davieschloe7 on 01/12/2013.
Note by davieschloe7, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by davieschloe7 over 10 years ago

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Passive - Experience isn't under the control of the mystic, and is from God

Ineffable - The experience goes beyond human powers of description

Noetic - The mystic receives knowledge of God that isn't otherwise available

Transient - The experience isn't permanent. There may also be a different perception of time; it might appear to last a long time but in reality may have been very short

Religious experiences are similar to hallucinations caused by drugs such as LSD. However, there isn't evidence that every person who has had a religious experience is a user of LSD

Religious experience is the primary source of religious belief

Religious experience can prove the existence of God to the mystic but it doesn't give them authority over other people

Psychological make-up could make religious experience come naturally to some people

The experience should result in a 'good disposition' that shows it came from God

Many psychologists and sociologists claim that religious experiences only happen to people who are already religious. However, it is also the case that religious experiences sometimes happen to those who have no connection to any religious tradition

JL MackieIf mystical experiences are explainable psychologically, then mystical experiences have no authority even for the person who has the experience. People who believe they are authoritative are 'insufficiently critical' 



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