Thursday, February 2, 2012

William James - The Varieties of Religious Experience

"I have been working my way through this book for three years now. Have not lost hope though."

"the book is, for the most part, stupid and overrated. certain thinkers believe that once they have achieved a certain stature, they can say anything they want. at no point does the book adress the problem that these 'religious experiences' are *based* on delusional beliefs."

"I was really looking forward to reading more about this subject, but I found that this book was just a scattered array of pages about nothing. After reading this, I honestly couldn't tell you what point he was trying to prove. How anyone can make a book with this topic so boring, is a mystery to me. It took me so long to get through this book because I just hated the idea of even picking it up again and reading this nonsense.


"very old-fashioned terms and references making the modern reader wince, so the book sounds better than it actually is."

"He is wrong in the way that all of the great artists of the Romantic period, from Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats to Picasso, are wrong, in his emphasis on the individual and his denial of the universal and the absolute. James offers a view of religion as a wholly personal matter, the utility of which lies in its benefits for each person. Like all of his intellectual cohorts, he had lost faith in universal truth. Indeed, one biographer has suggested that the succession of short term jobs that he held lead him to posit the equal value of all experiences. Because of this crisis of faith, he was unable to make judgments about the truth or value of different religious beliefs ... GRADE: F"

"I have a degree and some background in psychology, but I couldn't understand a word of what James Joyce was saying or trying to say, it's so 'thick', and that's unfortunately the way a lot of the top 100 greatest novels read for me; like Ulysses for example. That book was so thick with aulde Englishe, one would need an interpreter or something. My only thought is, what a bunch of stuffy people, those literary 'scholars', who voted many of these books. I am reading all the way through the bible, my objective, but I am also reading and enjoying many of the greatest classic novels as an objective, just to do it. But I don't need to read this book 'varieties..' to gain a single grain of wisdom or whatever. I am a born-again God-Man with a most wonderful life experience. Handcuffed in a police car and at the breaking point, I silently cried out from someplace desperately deep inside, 'O God... Take me out of this world', and true to my prayer, God answered. One day hitchhiking, I met a household of 'brothers' headed by a middle-aged Japanese couple. The Japanese man asked me, 'If you could have a treasure chest, that every time you opened it, there was something new and [exciting], would you take it?' When I looked into his eyes, they were shining, not as if he had been weeping, but glistening as with life and joy. I didn't answer; in fact I put up a fighting argument the whole time, but I stepped out to the curb, and whispered, 'Lord Jesus Christ! If you are real, get me a ride.' Almost instantly, a VW bug pulled over with a young college music student inside and took me home. Another day, I tested again, '.. If you're real, please give me a ride.' A car again pulled over, I got in without saying a word, and the lady handed me some christian gospel tracts, '..Here. Hand these out to people you meet. Praise the Lord.' Again another day, I tested, 'Lord, if you're real..' I got in without saying a word, and the lady exclaimed, '..I just had to pick you up. God told me, 'Pick up my Child'...' ... I would rather read any of Watchman Nee's or Witness Lee's works than this boring book 'Varieties..'; specifically , The Economy of God, a most important book, a classic masterpiece; I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have discovered it just once. Some of the principles set forth in that book can only be compared to something like the map to the treasure of Monte Cristo- a hundred fold. My only slight disagreement with Witness Lee is when he gets a little too preachy at times, maybe alluding to things of the spiritual life, '.. the sisters just know [from the inner life], not to buy a certain thing.' Sometimes, Mr. Lee may not have explained something as well as I think he should, but the book is a classic nonetheless. A greater read to me than 'Varieties..' would be a compilation of born-again or life experiences; How about several volumes at least. 'Varieties of Religious Experience' is an extremely boring read and I think a complete waste of time. Only one [thing] is important really, one focus, hinted at again and again thoughout the bible: Strive to enter [The Kingdom of God] at the strait gate. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are there already, Mary chose that better part, and few there be that find it. Christ said 'I am the Gate.' Witness Lee wrote another 'classic', called Christ Versus Religion."

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