Four challenges to religious experience

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  • Created on: 25-01-13 10:34
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Four challenges to religious experience
Challenge 1: Psychological explanation
Feuerbach: idea of God is a human projection of human
aspirations or desires, we create God in our image
Freud: neurosis caused by childhood insecurities and the
desire for a father figure to protect us, hallucinations,
product of our subconscious & desire for security and
Countering the argument
Jung: accepted the reality of numinous experiences ,
spiritual aspect of us essential to psychological wholeness,
each have the archetype of God within a shared collective
James: accepted that they have a psychological dimension
BUT not just psychological events
Challenge 2: Physiological explanations
Some scientists suggest that there are neuropsychological
mechanisms which underlie religious experiences
Countering the argument
Does not need to lead us to reject the experience
Brains are constructed in such a way that we are almost
wired up to experience God
Challenge 3: difficulties of interpretation
Tend to be described in terms of people's prior religious
E.g. Catholics may interpret their experiences caused by
the Virgin Mary , whereas a Hindu is unlikely to give the
same explanation
Countering the argument
All our experiences are interpretations
It does not mean that the event you are describing is
Experiences in different faiths might be genuine
experiences of an ultimate reality of God

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Challenge 4: it is logically impossible to experience God
Kant: our senses can only experience things in the
empirical realism
May be a reality beyond our experience but it is
impossible for us to experience as a matter of logic
Human senses are finite and limited, it is impossible for
humans to experience an unlimited God
Countering the argument
It may be possible for humans to experience God if he
chooses to reveal himself to them
Alston: similar to our normal sensory perception, may be…read more


ZA Führer


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