Argument from religious experience

On this it is extremely hard to give any confident answer. All these distinctions are interpretations of the experience. It may be argued, again, that naturalistic and Christian explanations are compatible: Again, sometimes an artist, or a school of artists, succeeds in progressively clarifying and intensifying an original vision or the expression of some distinctive emotion.

This is the sceptic's logical fallacy of confirmation bias and cherry picking. It is notable that temporal lobe epileptics tend to experience distinct episodes of religious fervour in the moments before a seizure.

These experiences often have very significant effects on people's lives, frequently inducing in them acts of extreme self-sacrifice well beyond what could be expected from evolutionary arguments. Outline[ edit ] In essence, the argument's structure is as follows: Can we be confident, for instance, that an intensification of numinous experience is necessarily a sign that we have a more adequate disclosure of God and not simply that we have constructed a more adequate and awesome idea of God?

Now, on to the argument! It is argued that this historical development provides material for a more adequate argument to God—one in which the risks of fantasy and subjectivism are much reduced.

They may not only be benign and optimistic, as we have so far assumed, but can also—with no less intensity—be pessimistic and grim. Verifiability of Religious Experience If someone claims to have discovered, perceived, become aware of an ordinary sort of object, we usually know what to do about checking his claim.


Unfortunately, the interpretations that supplement the experience are conceptually intricate and involve all the uncertainty and fallibility of philosophical and theological speculation. Do we have in theistic experience mere projection?

An Argument from Religious Experience A great many people both throughout history and throughout the world have had religious experiences. Without doubt there is an impressive mass of such records within the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Religious experiences are said to be "God given" compared to ordinary experiences which are available to anyone. This would save something, but assessing just how much to expect from a religious agnosticism like this would be a difficult task.

This argument can be based upon the fact that since we know about some believers for whom this argument is correct their reports for religious experiences are nothing more than illusionswe assume that perhaps all such reports may be illusions.

Philosophy of Religion

These might be mis-firings of evolved mechanisms selected for very different reasons. God is "remote" and "other," yet also mystically "near. And how happy I am to have found it at last! Back to Top The Religious Experience Argument posits that one can only perceive that which exists, and so God must exist because there are those that have experienced him.

The theist could insist that a much too crude notion of "interpretation" has so far been used, one that suggests, falsely, that there is a merely external and almost arbitrary relation between having and interpreting an experience.

The Argument from Religious Experience

There is a claim to knowledge of God by "acquaintance," rather than "description. I looked up and saw that an enormous black thunder cloud had crept up and now covered more than half of the sky. Or do we have a projection matched by an objectively existing God?

Christianity, for instance, seeks to unite numinous and mystical views of God: But even it does not exist, there is nothing but quiet and peace. Yet it is not easy to formulate a version of the Argument from Religious Experience that does not rely crucially on a sense of conviction.

The person with theistic religious experience is assured that it is different. This is the question that also calls in doubt any purely pragmatic philosophy of religion.

Feelings are often "feelings that …," surmises, and in that sense feelings involve judgment, have an essential component of belief. Even a passage of philosophical reasoning may do this, as when someone contemplates the incompleteness of all explanation, the intellectual opacity of space and time, and feels compelled—with a sense of mystery—to posit a divine completeness and unity.

This is the question that also calls in doubt any purely pragmatic philosophy of religion. The argument of Jesus Christ for the existence of God is wholly intuitive. Doctors and researchers, such as Dr. Despite there being experiences which are experienced by everyone for example, hunger, cold, fatigue Unless the principles that confer unity and objectivity are able to be collected from the experiences themselves which seems not to be possiblewe have to look elsewhere for them, and the argument is in this respect shown to be inadequate.

Analogous thought models are indeed employed in theological discourse, but they are peculiarly difficult to assess. But, notice, that often people believe in God on the basis of experiences like these.

Philosophy of Religion

The following exemplify some versions of the argument: But we are persons, and we are directly aware or some of us are of a meeting of person with Person in religious experience. Above him there was now nothing but the sky—the lofty sky, not clear yet still immeasurably lofty, with grey clouds gliding slowly across it.The argument from religious experience is the argument that because people have reported religious experiences of God, therefore God exists.

In the formal logic of philosophical theology the argument may be expressed as follows: Let E be credible, reliable, valid, true experiences of God. An Argument from Religious Experience A great many people both throughout history and throughout the world have had religious experiences.

These have typically included not only an awareness of a divine presence but also a qualitative change in the behavior of the one having the experience.

Religious experience - Religious experiences can be characterized generally as experiences that seem to the person having them to be of some objective reality and to have some religious import. That reality can be an individual, a state of affairs, a fact, or even an absence, depending on the religious tradition the experience is a part of.

The argument is of value to the non-believer as it points to another area o human life that might involve a divine being. there is no clear answer to the question of whether one can demonstrate God's existence as a result of religious experience.

Arguments from induction are unconvincing, as we only have one example - ourselves. There is no inductive case to assume that others are like ourselves in this manner (that is to say, conscious).

The difficulty of such questions without relying on 'experience' arguments might make us want to think again about the argument from religious experience. The argument from religious experience is the argument from experiences of God to the existence of God.

In its strong form, this argument asserts that it is only possible to experience that which exists, and so that the phenomenon of religious experience demonstrates the existence of God.

Argument from religious experience
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