Problems with verifying RE
- Individuals rather than groups undergo these experiences.
E.g. St Bernadette was seen talking to an 'unseen' someone.
She could have lied bc nobody else saw or heard her talking to Mary. We only have the tesimony of person who supposedly underwent the RE. Relies on their credulity.
- RE is very like emotion which is a person response so empirical testing is useless.
- Those who encounter RE portray the Being revealed to them differently to others who claim to have had RE.
E.g. deity that is distinct from the God of formal/organised religion, such as natural forces.
- Drugs or alcohol produce similar effects to RE.
Subjective/objection distinction challenges RE
RE are subjective bc no objective criteria can be applied to them to judge their authenticity.
E.g. Hildegard of Bingen had a vision of God where 'the heavens opened and a blinding light of exceptional brilliance flowed thourgh [her] entire brain.'
RE is very different to everyday life.
Recipient perceives it as a RE bc it is not like anything they have seen before - RE may be deceptive.
Theological challenges to RE
Physical appearances by God do not appear in the bible bc he is so holy.
E.g Exodus 33:20 'you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.'
Christian teachings emphasise the importance of scripture as having ultimate authority.
This means that visions of God within a RE that are not in the bible should not be regarded as complete truth.