- First attempt at presenting religious experience as a vehicle for revelation
- "feeling of absolute dependence"
- Special faculty of apprehension/ appreciation required
- Deeper than level of rational thought
- Private concept- conflicting claims
- Can feelings lead to knowledge claims?
- Psychological origins?
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Søren Kierkegaard (1813- 1855)
- God= irrational (see Kant)
- "leap of faith", beyond reason
- Subjective- "no objective way" of reaching God
- Strengthened by Kant
- Subjective things cannot be proven true
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- "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"
- Kant- can't know the noumena, only the phenomena
- Numinous- God too other to be experienced?
- Feelings cannot generate cognitive truth claims and are often unreliable
- Prior belief may shape experience
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- personal encounter with the divine
- "I- thou" not "I-it" relationship with God
- People are incorporeal and can connect with eachother and God through direct apprehension
- Brian Davis- everyday relationships not comparable to relationships with God
- Psychology- relationship with God conditioned by those we have with friends etc.
- Peter Donavan- "Can we know God by Experience?" Sense of encounter may be mistaken- we cannot verify intuition
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William James (Religious Experience) 1842-1910
- Unifying core (PINT)
- feeling= source of religious experience. Felt, not conceptualised.
- "men in their solitude" "stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine"
- Cannot establish cause so test effects instead
- Not interested in brain's functioning- "mystical"
- No cause
- Corporate not included
- Not all ineffable
- Katz- effects often shaped by belief
- Lash- does not point to God
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William James (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
- First type is not passive so contradicts PINT
- May not be a result of God
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William Alston- Defends 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, noone would doubt our sense perceptions.
- No reason to reject experience just because it is unusual.
- Lash- God is a mystery so can't be sure
- Vardy- modest claim- if you believe in God it is reasonable to believe in religious experience
- Anti realist- shows claims to religious experience are acceptable within the form of life of religious believers
- Katz- interpretation- can't identify cause
- Martin- religious experience conditioned by prior beliefs
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- 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 them"
- Flew- 10 leaky buckets
- Conditioned by religious tradition- only interpretation makes it religious
- Vardy- likens to ordinary too much, too rational- "little feeling for the numinous"
- Martin- negative principle of credulity- what seems not to be, probably isn't
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