Talk:Religious experience

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This article erroneously takes "Mystical experience" and "religious experience" to be synonymous[edit]

I am very unhappy about the fact that if one types "Mystical experience" into the box on the left, one will now be redirected here (N.B. this was not always the case - such an entry would sometimes take one to the article on Mysticism). The first sentence of this article states that religious experience is sometimes known as "sacred experience" or "mystical experience". Howevever, not all philosophers do consider that mystical experience is synonymous with mystical experience. Indeed, Walter Terence Stace defined mystical experience as involving a sense of union (Stace, 1960); and it is clear that many other religious experiences (e.g. healing experiences, speaking in tongues) exist. In fact, empirical research by Hay and Heald (1987) suggests that only about ten per cent of religious experiences would qualify as "Mystical experiences" in the sense defined by Stace. It is later clarified in the article that "numinous experience" is not the same as "mystical experience", but some better definitions of terms should really occur at the start of this article. REFERENCES:

Hay, D. & Heald, G. (1987). Religion is good for you. New Society, April 15

Stace, W.T. (1960). Mysticism and Philosophy. London: Routledge.

Sorry - I forgot to add my username signature to that last comment - so here goes: ACEOREVIVED (talk) 21:35, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

ACEOREVIVED , only Walter Terence Stace define Mystical experience as one of various kinds of experiences classified as Religious Experiences?Mateus Zica (talk) 19:15, 1 December 2008 (UTC) I still feel that the term "Mystical experience" merits its own article, and that this redirect could go for "Redirects for Discussion". ACEOREVIVED (talk) 23:06, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

You are right that there is a distinction between a religious and a mystical experience. I do not think that separate articles are needed; however. There is a distinction between religious and mystical experience in the article - the section on mystical experience deals with it quite well. The only issue might be the redirect from Mystical experience. I shall change it so that it redirects to the section on mystical experiences. ItsZippy (talk) 15:02, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

There is no need to separate religious and mystical experiences. I agree there are many different types of religious experiences (e.g. sense of union, speaking in tongues, etc.) but differences in subjective experience don't necessitate the distinction. It may simply be that differences in personal beliefs or social/cultural influences are the cause of distinct subjective experiences. Indeed, neurological evidence suggests similar brain regions are activated across different experiences (Azari et al.,2001; Newberg et al., 2001; Beauregard & Paquette, 2006). Individual expectations can have a significant effect on perception of neurological activity, it is likely that personal or cultural beliefs set the stage for different interpretations of what is ultimately a similar neurological experience (Beauregard, 2009). It is for this reason I prefer using Bearegard & Paquette's term "RSMEs" for religious/spiritual/mystical experiences (Beauregard & Paquette, 2006) Croweml11 (talk) 16:40, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Azari, N.P., Nickel, J., Wunderlich, G., Niedeggen, M., Hefter, H., Tellmann, L., et al. (2001). Neural correlates of religious experience. European Journal of Neuroscience, 13, 1649-1652.
Beauregard, M. (2009). Effect of mind of brain activity: Evidence from neuroimaging studies of psychotherapy and placebo effect. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 63, 5-16.
Beauregard, M. & Paquette, V. (2006). Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. Neuroscience Letters, 405, 186-190.
Newberg, A., Alavi, A., Baime, M., Pourdehnad, M., Santanna, J. & d’Aquili, E. (2001). The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during the complex

Studies of the Brain and Religious Experience[edit]

This section seems pretty out of date, anyone mind if I go ahead and update it? (see references above)Croweml11 (talk) 03:33, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I intend to define cognition and relate it to psychology through research from other articles.Yellowmellow1 14:35, 18 October 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yellowmellow1 (talkcontribs)

This article shows a profound confusion about the distinction between the more general term "religious experience" and the more specific term "mystical experience"[edit]

The article include the passage:

"Psychologist and Philosopher William James described four characteristics of religious / mystical experience in The Varieties of Religious Experience. According to James, such an experience is:
  • Transient — the experience is temporary; the individual soon returns to a "normal" frame of mind. It is outside our normal perception of space and time.
  • Ineffable — the experience cannot be adequately put into words.
  • Noetic — the individual feels that he or she has learned something valuable from the experience. Gives us knowledge that is normally hidden from human understanding.
  • Passive — the experience happens to the individual, largely without conscious control. Although there are activities, such as meditation (see below), that can make religious experience more likely, it is not something that can be turned on and off at will."

This bespeaks a profound lack of understanding — and/or carelessness in reading — what William James wrote in The Varieties of Religious Experience. Mystical experience, according to him, is just one of the varieties of religious experience.

And that is entirely consistent with how the two terms are used in common parlance as well. (Although, it is also true that the term "mystical experience" is used much more casually in common parlance than the specific way that William James used it. But, this article is not about common parlance.

Perhaps someone knowledgeable about these things can please rewrite the entire article so as to make sense and conform to facts.Daqu (talk) 15:51, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi Dagu. I guess I agree with you. The lumping together of mysticism, spiritualiy, esotericism ect. in popular culture is annoying - and almost inevitable. The Theosophists and like-minded have had a profound influence here. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:23, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I've checked James' Varieties; the definition is indeed about mystical experiences. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 13:30, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for confirming what I wrote. (But that's a q, not a g.) And I think you meant to write "spirituality" — right?Daqu (talk) 02:43, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
What I was referring to is the conflation of mystical experience (as William James defines it) with other religious experiences, as occurs in the first sentence I quoted:
"Psychologist and Philosopher William James described four characteristics of religious / mystical experience in The Varieties of Religious Experience."
(Note the word "religious" in the quote.) I apologize for not being clearer.Daqu (talk) 16:42, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and "mystical experiences"[edit]

Fascinating info; there's more to be added to the article:

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:22, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:26, 28 August 2015 (UTC)