How to understand the non catholic/non christian misticism?

I just wonder how the church and we catholics see other religions’ visions and misticism.

Are they seen as mental onl (not go inspired?) might they be satanic? Is that all dishonesty?

Thank you :slight_smile:

Oh, I would say they are honest but not from god, just human experiences of the mind.

Why would you say that Christians who have spiritual experiences are genuine experiences of transcendental love from God, while Sufis, Buddhists, Hindus and Baha’is who have experiences of transcendental love are just human experiences in their own mind?

It would vary on a case by case basis, depending on the content of the vision. If the content was consistent with Catholic Truth, then it could be authentic (especially if it lead the experiencer to closer union with the Church). If the content directly contradicts known Catholic Truth, then it is either “just human experience” or demonic in origin. The more directly the “experience” leads one away from God and His One Church the more likely demons are involved.

Christian mystics can be deceived and non-Christian mystics can have genuine encounters with God. Christian mystics can have genuine encounters with God and non-Christian mystics can be deceived. Catholic mysticism always advises that the mystic submit their experiences to a Spiritual Director and refuse to accept as genuine anything which contradicts Church teaching and/or the Directors guidance. Humility is one virtue that Satan cannot imitate.

From a catholic point of view.

This is the answer.

Many times the Christian thinks that he has had a mystical experience and it is really pride, or just daydreams and intellectual wanderings, or too much coffee before prayer.


What about honest non christian mistics ? I mean if some visions on both sides are false, what about honest and fervent muslims, for instance. I don’t know if there are examples of visions of non-christians who saw things which are typically christian. That would be incredible.

That is very good advice, and not just for Christians:

Some people come to Zen expecting that Enlightenment will be the Ultimate Peak Experience. The Mother of All Peak Experiences. But real enlightenment is the most ordinary of the ordinary. Once I had an amazing vision. I saw myself transported through time and space. Millions, no, billions, trillions, Godzillions of years passed. Not figuratively, but literally. Whizzed by. I found myself at the very rim of time and space, a vast giant being composed of the living minds and bodies of every thing that ever was. It was an incredibly moving experience. Exhilarating. I was high for weeks. Finally I told Nishijima Sensei about it. He said it was nonsense. Just my imagination. I can’t tell you how that made me feel. Imagination? This was as real an experience as any I’ve ever had. I just about cried. Later on that day I was eating a tangerine. I noticed how incredibly lovely a thing it was. So delicate. So amazingly orange. So very tasty. So I told Nishijima about that. That experience, he said, was enlightenment.

Source: Zen is Boring, Brad Warner


Just because a mystical experience of some kind is consistent with Catholic truth does not mean it is authentic.

Read the works of Evagrios the Solitary, especially the Texts on Discrimination.


That was my point: and still, if authentic (i mean by that honest, just no more “vision”) it may be only partially true. Exactly like other religions, who in our view are or may be partially true, but cannot save in any way.

Good point, I should have written more clearly. Obviously, a person could fabricate (or hallucinate) a false vision that accorded perfectly with Catholic doctrine. If a vision contradicts known Catholic Truth, it isn’t from God. That much we certainly agree on.

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