Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Mysticism

Mysticism: The view that it is possible to gain experiential knowledge of that which transcends the limits of human reason and sensory perception. When associated with a religious tradition (as is usually the case), the mystic holds that it is possible to gain an awareness of God or ultimate reality through certain kinds of experiences, which are often claimed to be ineffable. Theists interpret such experiences as making possible a special intimacy or oneness with God but deny the monistic claim that in such experiences the mystic becomes aware of an identity with God.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 78.


Ron Krumpos said...

Not an identity with a theistic God, although some mystics have said that, but with the underlying reality, the spiritual essence which pervades and transcends all of existence: the Dharmakaya of Buddhism, the Godhead of Christianity, Brahman of Hinduism, al-Haqq of Islam, Ein Sof of Judaism, the absolute unity of being for the non-religious. Terminology is a trap, but people do seem to need words for that which no words can describe.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

For (what I think is) an interesting discussion on mysticism between Ron Krumpos and myself, readers of Apologetics315 might enjoy the post "Paths Up The Mountain" over at the blog of Providence College's Philosophy Foosball Club. Here's the link.

P.S. This Providence College is located in Manitoba, Canada.

P.P.S. Ron, I hope that you are well. - Hendrik

Ron Krumpos said...

Hendrik, it is good to hear from you again. Yes our lengthy discussion did lead to an impasse, but at least it was cordial. Two people with unshakable beliefs often disagree; that does not imply that one is right and the other wrong. We began by discussing Stephen Prothero's book "God is Not one." Recently I've been commenting on a more recent work of another Stephen: search for Hawking "The Grand Design" Krumpos. We might meet on this other topic.

Ex N1hilo said...

What's dangerous about mysticism is the claim that one may approach and commune with God apart from the Gospel. The Gospel is good news; that is, it is able to be communicated and understood by rational human minds. And it concerns events that we know of only through the testimonies of eye witnesses who heard and saw the Jesus Christ and what he did.

Given that the Gospel is a report of sensory data and a communication of these experiences to others, who can understand them; the Gospel and mystical experience are two entirely different and mutually-exclusive kinds of things.

Only by the Gospel may anyone approach God. Mysticism is fool's gold.

Unknown said...

Yet. . . the Gospel is a revelation of the Word of God Incarnate. . . it does not appeal to the physical senses, but only to the spirit in a man (Job 8:32). It is only by revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ to the human heart that a man can repent, not by only knowing rationally that Jesus is the Son of God. Many people know rationally that Jesus is God, but do not 'know' Him as the Real God. I'm not a mystic, but I do know that by own rational power I cannot know the Lord Jesus, it is only by the revelation of the Person of Jesus, The Eternal Word and Son, that the Person of Holy Spirit reveals. It is the Spirit of God who reveals Jesus to the human heart and spirit. Faith therefore is of a revelatory nature, not only by having a letter knowledge. Letter kills, Spirit gives life. So we need both, the Spirit to reveal the Letter Word to us and we respond in faith, God's faith. Only God can reveal God and only God can speak for God and only God can believe God! The finite cannot understand the Infinite in the finite power! It is only by the Power of the Person of Holy Spirit.

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