religious experience

How do Schleiermacher and Process relate?

Question: 
Schleiermacher's theology is very close to process theology, so could process be a bridge between American and continental theologies?
Publication Month: 
May 2012
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

This is a complex question. Let me first describe where I agree. Schleiermacher was certainly an important figure in German theology. He is often called the father of liberal theology. During the nineteenth century, along with Hegel and Kant, he was a major shaper of the tradition. His basic program was renewed by Rudolph Otto, and there are clear continuations in Paul Tillich. There are certainly today adherents of this tradition.

Wrestling with the Ox: A Theology of Religious Experience

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Paul O. Ingram

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Religious Experience

Question: 
It seems to me that when we strip theism of the fallacy of "argument from authority", the only proof we have left for God is in religious experiences. There has been some recent scientific research on Religious Experiences done by neuroscientists like Andrew Newberg (Why God Won't Go Away). Newberg and other researchers have been able to study them in laboratory conditions using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). His research concludes that religious experiences are real, observable events in the brain. I know it has often been the position of religious people to deny science's ability to explain the mystical using reductionist, scientific methodology... but his findings, it seems to me, are very reconcilable with a panentheistic view of God. During religious experiences, it has been observed, the flow to the "object association area" in the brain's left parietal lobe, which is responsible for drawing the line between the physical self and the word, is reduced. Is this not consistent with the belief that the divine is all around us, and can only be experienced when we stop focusing on the material and on our narrow selves and begin to see the vast interconnectedness of all things, those rare moments we call "religious experiences." Abraham Maslow made a similar claim, years earlier, when he stated that B-Cognition (in his peak experiences) was a momentary melting away of Ego. He also stated that these peak experiences are "the core religious experience." Do you think that Andrew Newberg's research can be reconciled with a panentheistic view of God?
Publication Month: 
November 2002
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

The Physiology of Religious Experience

Before tackling this question, I should acknowledge that I have not kept up closely with the recent research to which the questioner calls attention. My answer will, therefore, be somewhat general. But I hope it will not be irrelevant to the particularities of recent discoveries.

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