Why this book?
William James was a great pioneer of American psychology. With his exceptional open-mindedness, he had a very broad notion of what psychology should investigate, including spirituality and paranormal phenomena. The Varieties of Religious Experience is not so much a study of religion in the normal sense but of spiritual and mystical experiences. James’s great insight is that ordinary consciousness is just one type of consciousness, and doesn’t tell us the whole truth about the world. He treats mystical experiences as more intense states of consciousness in which a deeper and fuller reality is revealed. James is a massive inspiration to me and I see myself as attempting to follow in his footsteps.
The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature
Why should I read it?
5 authors picked The Varieties of Religious Experience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
Standing at the crossroads of psychology and religion, this catalyzing work applied the scientific method to a field abounding in abstract theory. William James believed that individual religious experiences, rather than the precepts of organized religions, were the backbone of the world's religious life. His discussions of conversion, repentance, mysticism and saintliness, and his observations on actual, personal religious experiences - all support this thesis. In his introduction, Martin E. Marty discusses how James's pluralistic view of religion led to his remarkable tolerance of extreme forms of religious behaviour, his challenging, highly original theories, and his welcome lack of pretension…