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Religious Experience

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F.D Schleiermacher
First attempt at presenting religious experience as a vehicle of revelation
"Feeling of absolute dependence"
Special faculty of apprehension/appreciation required
Deeper than level of rational thought
Criticised because:
Private concept - conflicting claims
Can feelings lead to knowledge claims?
Psychological origins? (Freud)

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Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
God = irrational
"Leap of faith" beyond reason
Subjective - "no objective way" of reaching God
Has been criticised because:
Strengthened by Kant
Subjective things cannot be proven

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Rudolph Otto
"Apprehension of the wholly other." - direct experience
experience of the numinous and holy
One can perceive the numinous through direct intuition
"Mysterium, tremendum et fascinans."
Ineffable, though often described with words like "awe"
Criticised because:
Kant - cannot know the noumena, only the phenomena
Numinous - God…

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Martin Buber
Personal encounter with the divine
"I-thou" not "I-it" relationship with God
People are incorporeal and can connect with each other and God through
direct apprehension
Criticised because:
Brian Davies - everyday relationships not comparable to relationships with
Psychology - relationship with God conditioned by tose we have…

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William James (1842-1910)
Unifying core (PINT)
Feeling is a source of religious experience, felt not conceptualised
"Men in their solitude" "stand in relation to whatever they may consider the
Cannot establish cause so text effects instead
Not interested in brain's functioning - "mystical"
Criticised because:
No cause
Corporate not…

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William James and Conversion
2 types of conversion experience:
volitional - conscious and voluntary
self-surrender - person gives up, leaves it to God
Conversion happens when we are not looking for it
Subconscious divine intervention
Criticised because:
First type is not passive so contradicts PINY
May not be a result…

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William Alston's Defence of Mysticism
Everyday experience is reported and believed so why is religious
experience doubted?
It is possible we perceive God if there is a God to perceive
Sense perceptions - if we reported seeing a red car, no one would doubt
our sense perception
No reason to…

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Richard Swinburne
Cognitive - conforms to reason/test
Defines religious experience by separating into categories
Principle of credulity - what seems to be probably is
Principle of testimony - "experiences of others are probably as they report
Criticised because:
Flew - 10 leaky buckets
Conditioned by religious tradition - only…


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