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Living ReligionEmbodiment, Theology, and the Possibility of a Spiritual Sense$
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James W. Jones

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190927387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190927387.001.0001

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Knowing Religion

Knowing Religion

(p.94) 4 Knowing Religion
Living Religion

James W. Jones

Oxford University Press

Taking embodiment seriously impacts the way religion is theorized in the discipline of cognitive psychology and in other religious studies disciplines, including theology. This chapter describes new avenues of research that follow from adopting an embodied perspective. An embodied perspective also transforms the way we think about traditional topics concerning religious knowledge. The often argued parallel between ordinary perceptual experience and certain religious experiences commonly described as religious perceptions is analyzed and an appreciative critique of William Alston’s 1991 book Perceiving God is offered. Arguments for conceiving of religious experience as a form of perception are strong but the argument as currently framed is seriously flawed psychologically. Reframing the argument in terms of an embodied-relational model strengthens it and supports the argument in this book that reason is on the side of those who choose a religiously lived life.

Keywords:   religious experience, psychology of religion, perceiving God, William Alston, cognitive science of religion

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