Religious Life and Its Dependence on Experience
Religious life depends on many things including experiences,
authoritative teaching and scripture, so depending on a number of
factors, I would agree with his view to a certain extent.
Religion is something quite hard to pin down, but may often be defined
as a set of practices or beliefs which a group of people may follow
with a spiritual outlook, rejecting the view of religion as a
Religious experience may therefore be defined as a situation or
feeling that affects or has affected you, in some spiritual, emotional
way that you may have perceived to be received from a greater,
‘divine’ being or force.
Religious experience can take many forms and be triggered by things
such as depression, prayer, creative arts, or even sex, however
different people regard religious experiences differently, so what may
affect one person may not even be of any concern to another. In this
sense, many people may not have even contemplated a religious
experience, but may still lead a religious life. Each individual
interprets the experience in the light of their own morality, culture
and personal history- the form of the experience is contributed by the
When we attempt to measure the truth (veracity) of religious
experience, there are many problems which may arise, for example they
are difficult to measure and usually only take place within the
context of one’s own religion. They may also be due to the influences
of drugs such as alcohol.
Religious authority lies mainly in scripture but can trace their
origins back to a key figure who can serve as God’s representative or
messenger. This may be Jesus for Christianity or Muhammad for Islam,
and Abraham for Judaism.
The authorities in monotheistic religions tend to teach that scripture
holds all the truths that need be known about God. Scriptures are
sacred texts of religion and typically form a collection of writings
called a ‘canon’.
The Bible, The Qur’an, The Torah all hold authority and an idea of
inerrancy of scripture and these religions have taught that to know
about God, one only has to read scripture. These scriptures are said
to be revelations of God, and also to be perfect, so an orthodox
follower of any of these monotheistic religions may very well argue
that his or her religious life may be based purely upon their sacred,
authoritative ‘perfect’ scripture. Their life may be purely based
upon these teachings and may not have believed to have had some sort
of religious experience. In the scriptures, the inerrant and
infallible God, communicates with humanity.
However there have been many types of religious experiences found in
all of these monotheistic religions, for example Muhammad’s vision in
a cave on Mount Hira...