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By John Hick (auth.)

This is the 1st significant reaction to the problem of neuroscience to faith. It considers japanese kinds of spiritual event in addition to Christian viewpoints and demanding situations the assumption of a brain just like, or a spinoff of, mind job. It explores faith as internal event of the Transcendent, and indicates a latest spirituality.

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Additional resources for The New Frontier of Religion and Science: Religious Experience, Neuroscience, and the Transcendent

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Some rarer forms of religious experience The central focus of this book is on the religious or transcendental or numinous experience of ‘ordinary’ people, whether they think of themselves as religious or not. According to all the published research approximately a third of the population have either once or more than once had such experiences. ’ found that 35 per cent of those asked said that they had, and a Princeton Research Center (a subsidiary of Gallop Polls) survey in 1978 also recorded 35 per cent.

This is important because, as we shall see in the next chapter, it is not only the intensity of the experience at the time but also it’s long-term effects in the experiencer’s life that characterises what the religions regard as authentic experience of the Transcendent. I believe that a similar analysis must apply to unitive mysticism within the monotheistic traditions. Within Christian mysticism the language of union is freely used: Pseudo-Dionysius, who we have already met, writes of ‘the most divine knowledge of God, that which comes through unknowing, is achieved in a union far beyond mind’ (Pseudo-Dionysius 1987, 109); the ninth-century John Scotus Eriugena speaks of ‘ineffable unity’ (McGinn 1994, 116); the fourteenth-century Meister Eckhart says that God ‘is light and when the divine light pours into the soul, the soul is united with God, as light blends with light’ (Eckhart 1941, 163); and his disciple Henry Suso says that the mystic ‘disappears and loses himself in God, and becomes one spirit with Him, as a drop of wine which is drowned in a great quantity of wine’ (Underhill 1999, 424); while yet another fourteenth-century mystic, John Ruusbroec, speaks of ‘unity without a difference’ (Ruusbroec 1985, 265).

But we must begin much lower down, for the greater part of religious experience occurs below the level of the dramatic or highly charged and sometimes life-changing forms that tend to be recorded and discussed. There are more common, generally vaguer, but still significant moments in the lives of ordinary people who may not necessarily think of themselves as religious, moments of awe and a sense of transcendence when looking up into a cloudless night sky and feeling the mystery of this vast universe of galaxies or, among natural scenery, sensing a value that is somehow within but also beyond the landscape, or in moments of profound peace during prayer in a church, synagogue, mosque or temple, or at home, or when reverencing the statue of a god in India, or of the Buddha or a Bodhisattva in a Buddhist temple, or of Christ on the cross, or the Virgin Mary or a saint, in a Christian church, or again when being in the presence of extraordinary acts of self-sacrificing goodness and compassion, or yet again in listening to great music, which is untranslatable into the language of insight and emotion.

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