Question

1) Please answer this question: What are some characteristics and variations in nonrational religious experiences? What do you think is the role and importance of nonrational experience in religion? (Is it necessary and central?) How do these vary culturally? Provide your rationale.

2) Please provide responses to the below discussions:

a) Social construction of reality begins with human experiences. In the case of religion in social construction, nonrational experience plays a unique role in humanity's construction of reality. Some of the characteristics of nonrational (sacred) experiences include invocation of a sense of awe of the sacred, being overwhelming by and the sacred being unapproachable, the sacred conveying feelings of power, energy and urgency, the sacred revealing a sense of wholly otherness, and the sacred conveying a sense of fascination and attraction to the holy.These characteristics vary in intensity, frequency. But they also vary in context of where they are experienced, either as the person is alone or in a social setting. And they vary in content, depending on the culture of the individual. This may mean that a person experiences the sacred through the love of Jesus. What is interesting is Maslow insisted that everyone has had at least 1 nonrational peak experience. And agree with his premise. This is more conceivable when considering the possibility that people who place no value in nonrational experiences will dismiss them.
I believe the role of nonrational experiences is to elevate individuals beyond the ordinary and empirical experiences. These experience help to provide meaning to the unexplainable and provides hope in hopeless situations. The other worldliness of the nonrational experience helps the individual to connect with a force beyond the tangible, providing a sense of intimacy and belonging. This experience sometimes gives meaning and value to individuals where the material world do not convey value. I would have believed with the position that nonrational experiences are necessary to the religious experience. But being enlighten by Greely's premise that "whatever we value very highly, we tend to sacralize or make sacred." This position applies to a very broad definition of religion. I can see this played out in examples of persons revering the flag of the United States of America. So I would say that with a broad definition of religion, sacred experiences are not necessary to the religious experience.
Nonreligious (sacred) experiences vary based on culture. Catholics experience the sacred in a visual way, as seen through the architecture of their churches. Their response to stained glass windows, statues and especially their reverence for the cross, which is central to their worship. Protestants experience the sacred through hearing and responding to the sacred word..

b) Nonrational religious experiences are characterized by:
the sense of awe and fear, tremor of the holy
unapproachable feelings,unworthiness of the holy
power, energy, and urgency from the holy
mysterium tremendum, unfamiliarness with the holy
fascination and attraction to the holy
Once you have received this experience, you are truly no longer the same person. It’s in the holy, you understand who you are not, what you are to become, and by whom it all comes from. It’s role to help you receive energy and refreshment. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, divine revelations through dreams and visions, and a state of trance,etc. are some various ways people experience the holy.

In my experience, this experience plays an important part in finding your purpose and was extremely necessary. Religion can be practiced without the experience. I would not call it central because my beliefs are central, not the experience. I would still believe and practice without the experience. It is in the practice and belief, the holy experience comes.
Examples of nonrational experiences through various cultures are: Shamanism, the Holy Spirit, and the Buddhist threefold of sila, samadhi, and prajna to name a few.
This experience provides closeness with Creator, trust and comfort in Him and all He does, clarity in uncertainty, guidance for the future, and unlimited love.It can be frightening because of the overwhelming power. It is the high you hope becomes the contact high for others.Truly if you haven’t experienced it, you wouldn’t know..

c) There are five characteristics and variations in nonrational religious experiences. The first characteristic is the sense of awe and fear. Then the second characteristic is the absolute inapproachability of the holy. The third characteristic is power, energy, or urgency of the holy. The fourth characteristic is the experience the awareness of the “wholly otherness” of the holy. The fifth characteristic is sense of fascination with and attraction to the holy.
I think the roles of non-rational experience vary according to the religion and the culture. Non-rational experience would not be the same even if the churches are from the same denomination, but different cultures. This is same as the importance of these non-rational experiences. As a Christian I feel that non-rational experiences are very important in this science driven society, where everything have to have a reason. Religion can exist without these non-rational experiences. I believe that these non-rational experiences take an individual from being religious to being spiritual.

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It appears that a significant part of religious experiences in any religion are of nonrational nature. This does not mean in any way that religion is irrational or devoid of common sense. Religions spread, grow and change following laws of logic and win people’s hearts precisely because religious beliefs resonate with their goals, desires or hopes. However, not everything in religion boils down to logic, common sense and natural course of events. One strikingly nonrational, albeit central to any religious experience concept is that of the sacred. It is hardly possible to explain and rationalize the notion of the sacred. It belongs primarily to the realm of live experience, to the sphere of feelings, such as awe before something infinitely greater than a man, unspeakable joy of communication with that something, as well as realization of the fact that you deal with something otherworldly and transcendent as it was noted by Rudolf Otto....

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