Reading Blog 3, The Sacred and the Holy

Not many know about the origin of religion but, for one thing, it is becoming more well-known that people are agreeing religion is all about the experiences. Religious experiences can be scary but also amazing at the same time, which proves how powerful something can be. These contradictory feelings are shown in many religions, making it a universal concept.

Rudolf Otto, a psychologist who deemed the idea of numinous experiences, believed that the essence of religion came from these experiences. This idea includes “creature-feeling,” which is described as feeling overpowered by something greater than the self. One feels overwhelmed and insignificant. Humans experience feelings of mysterium, tremendum, and fascinans, also. The experience is mysterious and immeasurable to anything else. It is an experience that puts someone in awe and fear. Lastly, the experience is attractive to people; it is fascinating and makes others want to know more. Numinous experiences have happened to people of different cultures, backgrounds and religions. A few examples are Isaiah from the bible, the Hindu named Arjuna, and John Ruskin, who was a part of the Romantic poetry period.

Mircea Eliade argued that something sacred is always something unordinary and that anything can be considered or become sacred. Some space can be more sacred than others. Sacred space is an opening to communicate with the holy and divine. He describes this space as axis mundi, which connects the physical, present world to the spiritual world. Two prime examples of joining heaven and earth are the Buddhist stupa and pagoda, which were elaborate structures that led into enlightenment. Not only are buildings, altars and other man-made places considered sacred but also nature.

Like sacred space and experiences, sacred time is not ordinary. Rituals are repeated and time is valued even more. It is safe to argue that there are two worlds, one that is normal day-to-day living and one that is spiritual and sacred.


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