Paper 3 Exam Essay Plans

Doesn't cover every topic, only the ones that I chose to prepare for in the exam - I took a bit of a risk and ignored some of the worst topics due to lack of time (and planning). I don't recommend this, but these notes can still be useful.

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Religious Experience
Part 1
Swinburne's 5
Public: miracle (multiple witnesses) assigning religious significance to e.g. sunset
Private: can be explained can't be explained being guided
Swinburne's 2
Credulity normally trust senses, should here too
Testimony normally trust people, should here too
James's 4
Noetic revelations
Transient temporary
Passive can't control
Ineffable can't describe
More James
Subjects are totally convinced by experiences
No reason why others should share their conviction
Religious experiences prevents us from rejecting possibility of world beyond our
sense (including God)
Part 2
Strengths
Swinburne's Principles
Conversion experiences (Nicky Cruz)
Public experiences/miracles how can so many be wrong?
ORERU about 1/3 people have had religious experiences
Lourdes
Egypt (even in a Muslim area, Mary appears)
Weaknesses
Product of faith not grounding of faith
Issues with Principles optical illusions, people lie
Alternative explanations psychological (middleaged men and pubescent girls most
likely to have experiences), medical (particularly for NDEs, lack of oxygen etc.),
hallucinations...
VP cannot verify
Ayer in talking about religious experience the mystic "merely gives us indirect
information about the condition of his own mind"
Russell "we can make no distinction between the man who eats little and sees
heaven and the man who drinks much and sees snakes"

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Ontological
Part 1
Analytic and synthetic statements
Anselm
"God is that than which no greater can be conceived"
Greater to exist in mind and reality than only one, so God must exist
The fool understands concept but does not accept
Descartes
Part of God's essence is to exist
God is noncontingent
Malcolm
Prime numbers
Part 2
Criticisms
Gaunilo perfect island (but Descartes: God is noncontingent and thus different)
Hume cannot analyse X into existence or nonexistence may as well not bother
Kant existence not an…read more

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Statements can be meaningful without being true I have five cats, or there is a God
who listens when I pray
Analogy
Part 1
Used to connect partially similar things to make the unclear easier to understand e.g.…read more

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Braithwaite religious language not factually meaningful (VP and FP pointless on it)
but it is a tool Christians talking about Jesus' resurrection serves to encourage them
to live the Christian good life (very liberal, evangelicals don't agree)
Hick celestial city, beliefs won't be confirmed until the end but they will be eventually
Vardy VP "dissolves in its own acid"
Deontology
Part 1
Deon meaning duty, deontology prescribes fixed, universal duties (can be contrasted
with Hedonism á lá Bentham)
Summum Bonum ultimate good, religious thing
Categorical/hypothetical…read more

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Absolutism gives certainty and universality
Criticisms
Disagreement some Catholics, many Protestants have reservations (such as about
salvation coming from moral laws rather than God's grace)
There aren't any clear, universal laws e.g.…read more

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