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Religious experiences, transformative paths and religious goals
Religion (2011)
  • Travis Chilcott, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Jared Lindahl, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Though McNamara indicates that his focus is mainly on theistic forms of religious experience common in the West, it is important to consider how his broadly stated thesis might be affected by data from traditions other than those that are the focus of his book. Although he is right to call our attention to the processes through which religious traditions promote and religious practitioners cultivate experiential states, his approach is limited by his non-attributional conceptualization of religious experience as the culmination of one path toward one goal. A more nuanced approach would require attending more closely to: (1) the diversity of ‘experiences’ that religious traditions set apart as being of particular importance; (2) the diversity of practices that are prescribed as being efficacious towards the attainment of those experiences; and (3) the dynamic relationship between individual practitioners and authorities of a religious tradition, wherein questions of authenticity arise and experiences are deemed ‘religious’ or not.
  • Patrick McNamara,
  • neuroscience,
  • religious experience,
  • path schema
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Religion on April 11, 2011, available online:
Citation Information
Travis Chilcott and Jared Lindahl. "Religious experiences, transformative paths and religious goals" Religion Vol. 41 Iss. 1 (2011) p. 79 - 83
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