The Variety of Religious Experience

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davep54
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The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by davep54 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:49 am

By William James (1902). It's mentioned twice in the BB but I've never met anyone who's read it. I found it to be a very difficult read but persevered and liked it. I think Bill was very fortunate not to be charged with plagiarism =biggrin as there is a lot of identical info in both books. Anybody else ever taken the time to read it?

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Daelynn
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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by Daelynn » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:37 am

Never read Varieties of Religious Experience but I ama bit familiar with him from some philosophy or psychology class. And I think hes author Henry James' brother. William seemed ahead of his time in many ways and still gets quoted in articles about neuroscience and consciousness. Was the rest of the book interesting?

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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by PaigeB » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:29 pm

davep54 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:49 am
By William James (1902). It's mentioned twice in the BB but I've never met anyone who's read it. I found it to be a very difficult read but persevered and liked it. I think Bill was very fortunate not to be charged with plagiarism =biggrin as there is a lot of identical info in both books. Anybody else ever taken the time to read it?
I bought it - but alas, I could not get through much of the beginning of it.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by davep54 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:09 pm

Thanks for the comments. I found it a difficult book to digest, no doubt, and I'm not stupid. It's based on a series of lectures given at Edinburgh University in 1901/2 so the language and concepts are dated but still relevant. As I said above Bill paraphrases it in the BB, he must have been a very intelligent man (he conversed with Carl Jung as well) to not only read it but understand it.

I do think the book is worth a go though as there's some good stuff that expands on religious (spiritual) experiences. I found Lectures IX and X particularly insightful but it took a long time and lots of head scratching to get there. I wouldn't recommend going straight to those lectures without reading the preceding lectures though as they give context and understanding.

Daelynn, the rest of the book I didn't find particularly helpful to my AA.

This is only my opinion and you are free to do as you wish.

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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by PaigeB » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:26 am

davep54 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:09 pm
... I didn't find particularly helpful to my AA.
Can you give me a brief of it? I mean I came to the book as an atheist looking for help with finding an HP I could live with. I did not get through it easily - and therefore not at all. Such is the nature of my alcoholic condition I suppose. Instead I turned to a book called My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin. Real people did real things after all and I wanted to be a person of action. The book was loaned to me by my Catholic sponsee. I know, the irony is rich.

My question: does it talk about other religions? Does it talk about ancient religions?
And if you care to ~ Did it help you at all in forming a Higher Power personal to you?
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by davep54 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Hi PaigeB,
Wikipedia has a good brief on the book that you might find helpful: (Link removed by moderator).

I've read some of Fr. Martin's stuff and enjoyed it, been a while though.

James doesn't really discuss other religions or religion at all per se. It was more about how people experienced a power greater than themselves.

Another non conference approved book I read was "The Idea of the Holy" by Rudolf Otto: (Link removed).

In answer to your question I found both books reinforced the BB and help confirm to me that lots of people across the ages believe and trust in a personal HP, which helped me. I've always looked to see how others do things and this was no different in that if others found a HP personal to them then I could and can do. I had to unlearn a lot of Christian church dogma before I could though.

Hope this helps you on your journey.
The links to Wikipedia have been removed in keeping with group policy www.e-aa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=23992

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Daelynn
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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by Daelynn » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:06 pm

I live on an island in Canada that is 30% native. At one meeting on a reserve, I heard this story:
There was this guy who quit drinking, and people would send their relatives to him when they drank too much. He got sober by asking his Creator for help, attending sweat lodges and smudging, making amends to his neighbors for things he did when he was drinking, and helping others. People kept sending him their drunk family members, but he couldnt help everyone in the village. Someone told him about AA and he started taking some there. When he came into the room, and read the 12 steps on the wall, he couldnt believe how smart these white people had become.

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avaneesh912
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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:18 am

My question: does it talk about other religions? Does it talk about ancient religions?
And if you care to ~ Did it help you at all in forming a Higher Power personal to you?
I think our mind keeps us in that spot where it constantly feels insecure that we are missing out on something. I got more out of reading the works of Eckhart tolle. I would admit when I was introduced to Eckhart the book dropped on my lap was Power of Now, its a great book but if you continue to look through the mind, it is a difficult book. Later I heard he had a second book "A New Earth" though some parts could be dull for the egoic mind, there were practical experiences which is narrated by Eckhart to get across the other dimension, the true nature of us. And people could have that shift easily reading a New Earth. But I have seen some intellectual mind still dont get it, reading those zen stories, they come up with their idea of why the character did something.

Having said that, I too tried reading William James's work, its not a easy read then, it may make sense now, but I have to revisit it. I think Bill did a great job in explaining what he means by 'spiritual experience" in the appendix.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by PaigeB » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:57 am

Daelynn wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:06 pm
I live on an island in Canada that is 30% native. At one meeting on a reserve, I heard this story:
There was this guy who quit drinking, and people would send their relatives to him when they drank too much. He got sober by asking his Creator for help, attending sweat lodges and smudging, making amends to his neighbors for things he did when he was drinking, and helping others. People kept sending him their drunk family members, but he couldnt help everyone in the village. Someone told him about AA and he started taking some there. When he came into the room, and read the 12 steps on the wall, he couldnt believe how smart these white people had become.
I love that story! Made me giggle!

I have always identified with the Appendix on Spiritual Experience. It is what I fall back to during difficult times when I can't bring myself to pray. It reminds me that this practical program of action works in rough going!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Daelynn
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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by Daelynn » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:27 pm

It's a lesson that I have to constantly relearn - that while our thoughts and feeling drive our behavior, it works both ways, and my actions and environment affects my behavior. The hard part is making myself do thi ga even though I'm feeling negative or unmotivated.
Thanks for your comment.

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Re: The Variety of Religious Experience

Post by Spirit Flower » Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:30 pm

I read it and loved it.
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