The Diversity of Religious Experience

Keith E. Yandell

in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195340136
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Diversity of Religious Experience


There is agreement about neither religion nor religious experience. To await agreement is to write about neither. Religion is a conceptual system, embedded in persons and texts (verbal or written), rites and rituals, and institutions and practices, that diagnoses a universal deep non-medical disease and prescribes its cure. An individual experience occurs when a person is in a conscious state. Religious experiences are conscious states whose content is religiously positively significant according to some religion. This article presents a few descriptions that partially indicate the variety of religious experiences, focusing on Judaism and Buddhism. In the former, experiences are subject/consciousness/object in structure. In the latter, experiences are said to involve recognizing “oneself” as having a certain metaphysical structure. Subject/aspect, or introspective, experiences are matters of a subject being aware of himself or herself as having some feature. This article also discusses the principle of experiential evidence.

Keywords: Judaism; Buddhism; religion; religious experiences; subject; consciousness; object; aspect; introspective; experiential evidence

Article.  5429 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Comparative Religion

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