Religious Experiences - Are They Proof of God?

Examining whether or not religious experiences could be proof of god

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  • Created by: Anna
  • Created on: 08-06-10 22:47


An encounter with the celestial, a non emperical occurance, and occassion in which "god establishes himself within the interior of this soul in such a way that it ia wholly impossible to doubt that i have been in god and god in me"; a religious experience, the most convincing proof of the divine?

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  • St Terisa of Avila
  • Difficult to decifer common themes
  • Direct and Indirect
  • Caroline Franks Davis - 6 types - awareness, quasi-sensory, numinous, interpretive, mystical and revelatory
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Paul Tilch

  • "Feeling of ultimate concern"
  • "understanding or religious significance"
  • "Religious experience without religious reflectionis blind"
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Being Denied ...

  • Near-death experience
  • Light at end of tunnel - faulty sensory information
  • Feeling of peace and ineffability - endorphins
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  • Ludgwig Wittgenstien
  • "seeing-as"
  • All unreliable as they don't all see "god" some see something other than god

Variations suggests not one sigular creator God:

  • "in the west it is mainly concerned with meeting someone in prayer. In the east, more a meeting with nothingness"
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Sigmund Freud ... Farther-child relationship

  • Earthly Farther is symbol of guilt and fear yet child still crave agape love
  • Between 3 and 5 the oesdipus complex develops, as there is competition for love
  • If this development doesn't occur like a coping mechanism, God is a "projection", a self deffence mechanism of the human psyche
  • Males feel love - god in place of real farther

Tom Merton's mystical experienc

  • Mother died when young and farther when at boarding school
  • Freud would decribe it as a 2religious neurosis"

religious experiences are pschological and emotional not proof of god

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Walter Stance - Extrovert and Introvert

Francis of Assis - extrovert mystical conscience, experiencing unity of the world as god


  • emptying the mind of all thoughts to discover th One at a persons center
  • incoperate voices and visions and are more prfound
  • Accepts proof despite variations
  • "each culture and each religion interprets this unindifferent unity in terms of its own creeds and dogmas"
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Enrich Newman

  • god exists as a being of mind and soul
  • he claims religious experiences are "projections of experiences that occur in the psychological inwardness of the anthopos"
  • because god is loving and personal it is reasonable for him to talk to us perosonally

Swinburne :

God "will love each of us as individual creatures and tell them things individual to themselves"

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Cumulative argument

  • If people are sain
  • If there are lots



"there is not to be found in all of history a miracle attested by sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education and learning as to secure us against all delusion"


lots of little weak accounts don't make one strong one, rather one large weak one

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Principle of Testimony

  • "in absence of special considerations, the experirence of others is (probably) as the report them"
  • The world

Principle of Credulity

  • "how things seem to be is good ground for how things are"
  • not unreliable conditions, similar not proven false
  • Therefore, "the burden of proof lies with those who want to discredit the experience"
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If genuine - proof of god

probable due to prosterioi form - drawing on experience

HOWEVER - Dawkins

  • "the argument from personal experience is the one that is most convincing to thouse who have had one, yet the least convincing ot everyone else especially anyone knowledgable of pschology"

THERFORE, i conclude similarly to John wisdom's parable

  • one believes
  • one doesn't
  • It is simply an issue requiring an idivisdual response
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