Comparative Religious Studies/Religious Mystism

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Question
I have no specific religion but I am interested in religious philosophy. I am particularly interested in the mystical aspects of religious experience. Christianity specifically Catholicism has many, St John of the Cross, Thomas a Kempis, St Frances of Assisi, Teresa of Avila to name just a few. In Islam there are also many especially in Sufism, Rumi, Attar of Nishapur, Baha'u'llah. Of course Hinduism and Buddhism have many too.
Is the belief that union with the Divine can inspire direct or escoteric absorption in God? Or do you think mystism is delusional without credibility?
Your opinion on this would be much appreciated.
Sincerely
Steve L

Answer
Steve, the way I see it is there are two main types of mysticism.

1 - the aspirant has a relationship with God and doesn't really lose their individuality
2 - the aspirant believes s/he can literally become God

Some would argue that there's some overlap between these two types. The problem with mysticism is that it involves experiences that usually go beyond words. So words and categories might fall short.

I think some mystics are a bit deluded. I've encountered people who imo think they are more enlightened or holy than they really are. Sooner or later it all gets real.

Comparative Religious Studies

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Michael Clark, Ph.D.

Expertise

If youd like to explore the psychology and philosophy of religion, talk to me. Im familiar with the main issues of most world scriptures and Im well versed in comparative mysticism.

Id be happy to answer questions about insight and the so-called "discernment of spirits" as expressed in the biographies and teachings of saints, gurus, seers, shamans, healers, etc.

I also enjoy commenting on theological issues as they relate to different religions.

Questions about Freud and Jung's views on religion would also be appropriate here.

If you just need simple facts about different religions, please see www.adherents.com and/or religioustolerance.org (I have no affiliation with these web sites).

Experience

I did my M.A. at Rabindranath Tagore's Visva-Bharati university (W. Bengal, India), a place that welcomed students from all around the world. A great chance to meet real people practicing different religions. I also run an educational website earthpages.org that touches on interfaith and related issues.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology

For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.

Publications
Print Media:
My table from "Religions and Cults" at earthpages.org is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157

World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including http://tinyurl.com/db7a5o

I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic: http://tinyurl.com/cawykr

My articles appeared at the former New View magazine nuvunow.ca and are published at earthpages.org.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology

For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.

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