Reasons for why or why not religious experience is good evidence

  • Created by: Tori
  • Created on: 09-02-20 18:59
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  • Reasons to argue Religious Experience is Good exidence
    • Point 1
      • Argument
        • William James said that even if someone was on drugs when they had their experience, that doesn't make it invalid.
          • There are various 'portals' made by God so that the spiritual and physical worlds can interact. (eg. vis epilepsy or drugs).
            • Adresses the problem that every experience is accompanied by some kind of brain activity as who is to say that the cause of the brain activity is or is not God (Apple example)
      • Rebuttal
        • Why would an omnibenevolent God make the portals so dangerous? (eg. drug overdose/ epilepsy trauma).
          • Doesn't fit his characteristics.
    • Point 3
      • Argument
        • Swinburne further presents the Principle of Testimony which essentially argues that we should believe that people tell us.
          • The weight falls on the sceptic to prove it wasn't a RE, not the other way around.
            • Someone who has an RE has a good reason to believe that it was God.
      • Rebuttal
        • Moderates may argue that both sides have to present a case. It's not good enough for one side to proclaim they don't have to explain themselves/ shrug off the other side.
    • Point 2
      • Argument
        • Many people claim to have had RE's, which creates the idea of a common phenomina that is harder to disprove.
      • Rebuttal
        • Pretty much everyone's RE's differ, which creates an issue of why is the same divine being making such different experiences for everyone, making it harder for them to all claim it was God.
          • eg. how can someone claim they saw Allah if the Christian account of God is true.
    • Point 4
      • Argument
        • John Hick argues that it doesn't matter if people claim to see different Gods as people's cultural experiences/ existing beliefs will influence the experience.
          • The divine uses the as 'tools' to create an experience the individual will understand.
      • Rebuttal
        • There are more naturalistic explainations.
          • Freud argues that religious experiences are explained by psychological mechanismshaving their root in early childhood experiences.
            • Religion is a crutch to help humans find meanings, making RE's 'wish fullfillment', telling a person that their private beliefs are true.
              • Can't verify this claim, but unless you can show that belief in God is already reasonable, there are too many naturalistioc explainations.
    • Point 5
      • Argument
        • Anyone who has an RE, it changes their life. eg. St Paul is an example of someone whose entire perspective on religion transformed after having an experience of Jesus.
          • Not a fleeting thought like it would be if it was made up.
      • Rebuttal
        • Just because someone sticks to their story it doesn't mean it's necessairly true.
          • People can have alterior motives, eg. attention.


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