Toward a Proper Phenomenology of "Religious Experience"
The purpose of this article is to highlight the difference between two â€œphenomenologicalâ€ accounts of what it means to discuss â€œreligious experience.â€ It aims to move away from â€œthe phenomenology of religionâ€ of Ninian Smart which would categorise religious experience as something â€œspecialâ€ through the use of such language as â€œalteredâ€ or â€œhigher states of consciousness.â€ This sort of â€œphenomenologyâ€ of religious experience is seen as an apologetic for an ecumenical theological agenda. Against this, I propose a philosophical phenomenological account which would deflate the use of â€œaltered statesâ€ as something ordinary and mundane. This then changes how we should understand discussions of â€œreligious experienceâ€ along lines similar to that of Ann Tavesâ€™ approach.Â
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