Religion is not a theory about reality; it is a reality. And yet we must not forget that it is a reality, which includes a theory. In The Religious Experience philosopher James Bissett Pratt attempts to describe religious consciousness as an unprejudiced observer who has no thesis to prove. He demonstrates the universality of religious experience, however varied the verbal descriptions employed by persons who have had it. Topics covered in the book include the Religion of Childhood, the Belief in Immortality, the Cult and its Causes, and the Place and Value of Mysticism. JAMES BISSETT PRATT (1875 -1944) was strongly influenced by his deeply religious mother who awakened him to the phenomenon of religion and one's personal relationship with God. Pratt obtained his doctorate from Harvard University under the aegis of William James, who influenced his philosophical development, and became a mentor and good friend. Shortly afterwards he was hired by William College, where he became a professor of philosophy. Although raised an American Protestant, he did his best to experience Roman Catholicism in Europe, and Hinduism and Buddhism in India, Burma, and Sri Lanka.