Philosophy of Religion

Cards to help structure revision for exam in Philosophy of Religion

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Religious Experience: Characteristics

Varieties of Religious Experience: William James

  • Ineffable Tennyson
  • Transient The Razor's Edge
  • Passive St John of the Cross
  • Noetic Julian of Norwich

Rudolf Otto

  • Numinous Wind in the Willows


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Intellectual: Julian of Norwich

Corporeal: St Bernadette

Imaginary; Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's ladder (

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Mystical experiences

What is a mystical experience?

A (purportedly) super sense-perceptual experience granting acquaintance of realities or states of affairs that are of a kind not accessible by way of sense perception.

or...An non empirical experience that purportedly grants one acquaintance with transcendent truth

Characteristics: William James and Rudolf Otto

Examples- The buddhist at prayer, St Therese, The Toronto Blessing

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Self Surrender


St Paul on the Road to DamascusSt paul (

Contemporary examples eg Muhammad Ali, Cat Stevens (Yusuf)

All of the case studies in Varieties Of Religious Experience

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The Argument From Religious Experience

Swinburne: Principle of Credulity

The Principle of Credulity: if it seems to a subject that x is present, then probably x is present. 

It is reasonable to believe that the world is probably as we experience it to be.

Unless we have some specific reason to question a religious experience we ought to accept that it is evidence for the existence of God.

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btw this is religious experience not psychology of religion

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