The Fruits of Spiritual Experiences during the Pandemic: COVID-19 and the Effects of Non-ordinary Experiences

Schmidt, Bettina E. and Stockly, Kate (2023) The Fruits of Spiritual Experiences during the Pandemic: COVID-19 and the Effects of Non-ordinary Experiences. Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society. ISSN 2364-2807

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This paper presents new research about spiritual experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to discuss the impact of spiritual experiences on people’s lives and relationships. Building upon William James’ four features of the “fruits” of religious experience as a conceptual frame, the paper presents data from two surveys in which participants narrated spiritual experiences and reflected on the impacts of those experiences. We start with a short presentation of James’ ideas about the fruits of religious experience. The next section outlines four themes that have emerged from the narratives of spiritual experiences during the pandemic: impacts on people’s relationships with their religious communities, shifts in one’s subjective sense of spiritual connection and intuition, encounters with spiritual figures and near-death experiences, and interpretations of COVID-19 as a spiritual contagion. The final section broadens the discussion from the impact of specific spiritual experiences to include spiritual responses to the pandemic more generally, leading to a discussion of the experiences within the wider debate in fruits of religious experience.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: spiritual experience; non-ordinary experience; spirituality; COVID-19; spirituality and health; near-death experiences; William James
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Bettina Schmidt
Date Deposited: 19 May 2023 09:55
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 10:06

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