[Wide] Varieties Of Religious Experience

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William JamesWilliam James documented hundreds of cases of religious experience.  He made little qualitative distinction among them.  Clinical case studies.  He documented that they exist.

[Contemplative] experiences are, and have the right to be, authoritative for those that have had them, and those who have had them not are not in a position to criticize or deny the validity of the experience; the mystic is invulnerable and must be left in undisturbed possession of [their] creed.

He concludes:

It must always remain an open question whether mystical states may not possibly be superior points of view, windows through which the mind looks out upon a more extensive and inclusive world.

And unless the influence of one’s psychopathy is too great, what publicly educated, garden-variety person in the West would deny its plausibly?

Nevertheless, historical Christian contemplation stands in a long line of collective memories that makes sharper distinctions than James’ observations and that are both simultaneously rationally and intuitively revealed…revelation being the operative word when it comes to describing historical Christianity.