William James: Varieties of Religious Experience

William James: Varieties of Religious Experience Essay example
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William’s “circumscription of the topic” is not focusing on creating an outline for the subject rather it opens the minds of natural theology students to the vastness of the subject and disadvantageous of attempting to define it.


William discourages using a single principle or essence to define the theology as many authors have been doing (William 30-32). Why William used variety of religious sentiments rather than a single concept in circumscribing the topic is because he perceived dogmatic conceptual frameworks could only over simplify the many entities in religion rather than providing a useful insight to it. William viewed religion as a “store house” of sentiments to religious people. Further he describes how traditional definitions focus only one sort of sentiments such as feeling of dependence, derivative of fear, sexual life, and feeling of infinite (William 31). In contrary William use collective form of religious essence for introducing the content of subject. In describing psychological entities associated with religions William did not introduce a new set of human emotions. Alternatively he describes common emotions associating with human mind such as love, fear, joy and awe are the same with respect to religion although the factors explaining burgeoning of religious emotions are different. ...
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