I have a confession to make. I have never had a religious experience (I once had a hypnopompic hallucination, which was quite scary at the time. Fortunately, I had already read about these hallucinations so when I experienced it I simply thought “b#@ger me – so that's a hypnopompic hallucination!”
So, where do I stand in relation to such experiences? The rest of this article is an attempt to answer that question. I stole the title from a wry and witty comment in De Numine #46 that ‘religion’ could be defined as ‘the politics of religious experience’. There are several aspects of the 'politics of religious experience' that have interested me over the years: definitions of religion, Perennialism and the 'common core' hypothesis, empirical and experiential approaches, science and scientism, and 'spiritual one-up-manship'.