Richard Swinburne - RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

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  • Richard Swinburne
    • Background info
      • Oxford Professor of Philosophy
      • Inductive Argument
        • Attempt to prove God probably exists
          • The probability is greater than 50%
        • Claims of religious experiences are analysed and a similarity is found between them leading to the conclusion that God must have caused these experiences
          • Relies on people's interpretations
          • Uses logic
      • Cumulative Argument
        • Had a cumulative approach towards the argument of God's existence and his own focus on religious experience
          • Swinburne had a trilogy called: "The Coherence of Theism, the existence of God, and Faith and Reason"
          • Claims of religious experiences are combined and each claim builds to the case of God existing
            • Lacks logic, investigation and reliability
    • Religious Experience
      • Swinburne defined religious experience as "An experience of God or some other supernatural thing"
        • These experiences can feature angels, saints, prophets and other religious figures
      • 5 types of Religious Experience
        • Private         3.) A describable experience (e.g. a dream) 4.) An indescribable experience (e.g. mystical experience)  5.) The feeling of God been experienced but lacks material evidence (e.g. forgiveness)
          • Public          1.) Interpreting a normal phenomenon as religious (e.g. a sunset) 2,) Identifying an unuaual public object as supernatural (e.g. the resurrection)
    • Criticisms
      • Michael Martin-Negative Credulity: Those that don't experience God may support the case of God NOT existing
        • Swinburne says the Principle of Credulity is only applicable to positive experiences, the absence of evidence does not prove it doesn't exist
        • Principle of Credulity clashes with evil & suffering, if there is innocent suffering then the creator must be cruel
          • Swinburne says there is not a comparison between trusting your senses with the conclusion that God does not care about suffering
    • Principle of Credulity
      • "We ought to believe that things are as they seem to be, until we have evidence that we are mistaken"
        • Humanity relies on assumption
        • Should not believe: Proven liars, drug-users, mental health sufferers, someone that will benefit from tricking us
          • "(in the absence of special consideration) the experiences of others are (probably) as they report them"
            • Humanity relies on assumption
            • Criticism: Why aren't UFOs, monsters and conspiracy theories as widely as accepted as God?
              • Response: God existing is more likely since there has been prior testimonies
    • Principle of Testimony
      • "(in the absence of special consideration) the experiences of others are (probably) as they report them"
        • Criticism: Why aren't UFOs, monsters and conspiracy theories as widely as accepted as God?
          • Response: God existing is more likely since there has been prior testimonies

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