What Makes You Think That Was God? A Comparison of the Criteria Used by Researchers and Participants in the Determination of Experiences as Divine Communications

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Virginia Tech


This study brings together the scattered body of criteria contemporary scholars have used to identify divine communications (a sub-category of religious and spiritual experiences), presented as a new Model of Academic Criteria for Divine Communication. It compares the scholarly criteria in the Model of Academic Criteria for Divine Communication to the criteria that participants themselves (thirty-two Catholic sisters) used to distinguish divine communications from other types of experience. On the basis of this comparison, it suggests a new, altered set of criteria for future use in studying divine communications, formulated as a Model of Participants' Criteria for Divine Communication. It expands upon current research focused on the experiences of evangelical Protestants by providing the first scholarly report of modern American Catholic experiences of divine communications.



religious experience, spiritual experience, RSE, divine communication, prayer, Catholic