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William James and the trivialization of religious experience

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The Appearance of the Holy Spirit before Saint...

The Appearance of the Holy Spirit before Saint Teresa of Ávila, Peter Paul Rubens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The reason so many people trivialize religious experience (i.e. mysticism) is because, well, they’re just not “there.” By way of analogy, when the majority of people believed the earth was flat, suggesting it might be round could invoke ridicule.

Likewise, those experiencing the numinous tend to be careful, even shrewd. As Jesus told us, it’s not wise to cast your pearls before swine. But before we artificially elevate all alleged mystics to the realm of sainthood, we’d do well to remember that mysticism is tricky and prone to error.

So, in a sense, the scoffers are not entirely wrong. There are some nuts out there. And some mystics might need to tweak their worldview a bit. Like most things in life, this subject area is not a simple one. — MC

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One thought on “William James and the trivialization of religious experience

  1. Some murky political intrigue bound up with the whole issue of Sainthood though the ages. Making it even harder to determine the real deal.

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