Swinburne on Religious Experience

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What does Swinburne try to achieve?

Swinburne tries to combine SCIENCE with RELIGION. 

His idea is that subjective stuff which is not scientific and is based on interpretation is useful and can be valid. 


Just because you can percieve something as religious, it doesn't mean that it is. (mistaken judgement) Other causes can also cause positive changes after a supposed 'Religious Experience.'

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Swinburne's approach

'If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him' - Swinburne

LINKS: Dawkins says kind of the same thing - Religion is a 'filler for the gaps in science.'

Swinburne brings a cumulative approach - Things add up and as they do the probability builds up, he has an inductive approach. 

Example: 'I like the sun' is a SUBJECTIVE statement. 


All the OBJECTIVE statements add up the SUBJECTIVE statements, like 'the sun is warm', 'my skin is most comfortable in this temperature' etc. 


SUBJECTIVE statements can be ssen as objective and valid. 

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Swinburne's conclusion


Swinburne's definition of a religious statement is '...an experience which seems to the subject to be an experience of God (either of his just being there, or doing or bringing about something) or os some other supernatural thing.'

So Swinburne thinks that it is reasonable to think that God would interact with creation, as this would fit in with God's omnipotence and omnibenevolence, so if God does exist, we shoul expect religious experiences to be genuine. The presence of alleged religious experience in the world today pushes Swinburne to thing that they are most likely genuine if they pass the two Principles of Testimony and Credulity.

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