Spiritual experience that crosses religious divisions

Braybrooke, Marcus (1999) Spiritual experience that crosses religious divisions. RERC Second Series Occasional Papers;20..

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Abstract

‘In Hinduism, in Neoplatonism, in Sufism, in Christian mysticism ... we find the same recurring note, so that there is about mystical utterances an eternal unanimity’, wrote William James in his The Varieties of Religious Experience, which was first published in 1902. Many of the pioneers of the search for interfaith fellowship worked with this assumption that there is a similar underlying experience of the Divine at the heart of every religion. They hoped that members of different religions could go beyond the particular rituals and doctrines which divided them and find a unity in the Spirit. This presupposition is sometimes known as the philosophia perennis, which Aldous Huxley defined as ‘The metaphysic that recognises a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds: the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being – the thing is immemorial and universal.’ In this paper I want to recollect some of my experiences of ‘A presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts’. I would regard them as ‘mystical’, but the definition of what constitutes a mystical experience is so debated that my experiences would not fit everyone’s definition. Some of the experiences I shall describe were in the context of sharing in prayer and worship with people of other faiths. This has led me to ask whether a Christian can have a ‘Hindu religious experience’ or has he or she merely had a ‘Christian religious experience’ but in a Hindu setting. Or is the religious adjective irrelevant when applied to a religious experience?

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Series: RERC Second Series Occasional Papers;20.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Experience (Religion)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre > Second Series of Occasional Papers
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2018 14:06
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/394

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