Donovan implications

"Can we know God by expiernce?" Donovan 

Implications Unit 4 

Edexcel RS A2 paper 

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  • Created on: 09-06-12 14:58

Key themes of Donovan

Can God be known through intuition?

  What is the relationship between intuition and knowledge?

Are religious experiences reliable evidence for the existence of God?

Questions whether it is possible to have direct, intuitive knowledge of God.

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Key idea

- We know morals and mathmatical statements through intuition

- We see having areas of life based on intuition as quite normal and rational 

- Can the same be true about intuitions on religious experience  

- Can we know God and religion through intuition 

Donovan disagrees that we should rely on intuition uses the idea of Russell

- We can believe that somebody loves us and be convienced and feel certain but that doesnt make it true

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20th Century philosophers

H.P. Owen

- religious experiences may provide knowledge of God, through intuition

- feel the reality of God 

- an individuals throuh experience senses a strong feeling of God

- intuitive knowing of God explains the presence of faith 

- prevents faith from being a blind leap (Kierkegaard) 

H. H. Farmer 

- Gods personality communicating with ours 

- its not knowledge about God but revelation of God himself

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Martin Buber

Different type of knowledge in personal relationships 

2 types of relationship 

I - IT            I - YOU

I - IT - relationship with objects and impersonal belongings 

I - YOU - direct, person - to - person relationships, they dont involve reasoning 

- God is seen in the bible as personal 

- We have an I - You relationship 

- There is a difference between reason and arguing about God and experiencing and encountering him 

- Belief in and belief about 

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Claiming you know something

Certainty is not the same as being right 

2 types 

Pschological certainty - we feel convinced by something in a sujective way 

Rational certainty - reason and evidence support facts so we can be certain in a more ojective way 

- Feeling certain doesnt make us right

- Right is whether our feeling of certainty corosponds with what is the case

- Certainty can be meaningless - one persons right is another persons wrong

- We can't be certain that God exists 

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Freud and Marx

Freud :

- Religion is supressed sexual desires 

- The mind creates religion to help it cope with the problems and fears of teh world 

- Religion is a 'neurotic illness' 

Marx :

- Religion is a tool to supress people 

- "Opium of the people"

- Makes the rich richer as they control the poor

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Wisdom - 

 Parable of the gardener, highlights the problem that things can be interpreted in different ways 

David Hay - 

Human experience are objective, we can describe them. But we are unable to describe subjective experiences. They are hard to check but often they bring an insight into something that was previously mysterious 

Swinburne - 

1. Principle of Credulity - if it seems to a person that x is present that probably x is present 

2. Principle of Testimony - the experience of others are as they report them unless with have reasons to suggest otherwise 

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William James

4 characteristics of religion


Passivity - in a religious experience you feel a sense of being controlled by a powerful being

Ineffability - There is an awareness that there is something to be decribed but there is no way of doing so (Wittgenstein Language Game) 

Noetic Quality - Knowledge gained through the experience

Transciency - the significance and effects of the experience are out of preportion with the duration of the experience

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