RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS - University of Limerick





In this section of the paper I wish to argue that religious consciousness exhibits a structure common to all forms of consciousness; that it is a structured series of cognitional acts.

I will base my account of religious consciousness therefore on this pentecostal phenomenon.



However scientific consciousness is difficult to enter into and difficult to sustain; training, habit, commitment make it easier.

Similarly, even though religious consciousness is impossible to enter into by a mere decision of the will, still habit, training, commitment make it easier to dispose oneself for its reception.



Scientific consciousness questions the data.

Religious consciousness asks (of God) what do you want me to say, to do?

Scientific consciousness puzzles over the data until an insight arises which it formulates as an hypothesis.

Religious consciousness hears words, sees images, receives impressions which it formulates as prophecy or words of knowledge.

The more expert the scientific investigator, the more the empirical consciousness is trained in observation, attention to detail, recognition of deviations from the norm, the more fruitful are his or her hypotheses likely to be.

Similarly the more filled with the love of God the religious person is on the level of empirical consciousness, the more habituated they are to receiving prophecy and words of knowledge, the more faithful they have been to guidance in the past, the more likely they are to receive accurate prophecies and words of knowledge.


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The intentionality therefore of scientific consciousness is knowledge for its own sake.

The intentionality of religious consciousness is God and others in God.

Scientific consciousness can be entered into by a decision, 'an act of will'; the scientist simply decides to undertake a certain investigation.

Religious consciousness cannot be entered by an act of will.


Overview: The Christadelphians are a small Christian denomination

Obsession requires only deliverance and can be carried out by any believer.

This concludes the description of religious consciousness in operation.

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they are almost always grateful for the ministry, even if the deliverance has not been successful.

For anyone operating in religious consciousness, belief in the existence of self-conscious, intelligent, non-bodily entities, or "spirits" is normal as it is based on experiences such as these.

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Prayer for and belief in physical healing is a normal part of religious consciousness.

For the people praying for the healing, the experience varies.

Duns Scotus, God’s Ability to Keep Forms in Existence, …

These however are obviously not operating in the mode of religious consciousness but out of a desire to deceive, impress or make money.



The element of spontaneity is even more evident in prayer ministry.

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Others philosophers disagree. For example, Alvin Plantingaacknowledges that if a proponent of a specific religious perspectivehas no reason to doubt that those with whom he disagrees really are onequal epistemic footing, then he is under a prima facie obligation toattempt to resolve the conflict. However, Plantinga denies that theChristian exclusivist need ever acknowledge that he is facing trueepistemic parity—need ever admit that he actually is differingwith true epistemic peers. Although the Christian exclusivist, we aretold, may grant that those with whom he is in disagreement have notviolated any epistemic duty and may know of no arguments that wouldconvince those with whom he is in disagreement that they are wrong andhe is right, the exclusivist is likely to believe that he “has beenepistemically favored in some way.” He might believe, for instance,that he has been graced by “the Internal Witness of the Holy Spirit; orperhaps he thinks the Holy Spirit preserves the Christian church fromserious error, at least with respect to the fundamentals of Christianbelief; or perhaps he thinks that he has been converted by divinegrace, so that he now sees what before was obscure to him—ablessing not so far bestowed upon the dissenters” (Plantinga 1997,296).

New religious movement - Wikipedia

These results form the basis of further action: experimentation, hypotheses, testing.

Religious consciousness creates and augments tradition, (individual or communal), as it adds tested and discerned prophecy, knowledge and guidance to its body of teaching.