Swinburne's challenges to Religious experience


3 good grounds to disbelieve evidence

If we have reason to believe that the person was mistaken, for example if they are hallucinating under the influence of God

If we have strong reason to believe God does not exist, this would count against believing that an experience was religious

Evidence that the event was not caused by God. It may appear to be God but could be someone/something else

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Principle of Credulity

We have good reason to believe that things are as they seem to be

EXAMPLE: if a friend tells you a cat crosses the road, we believe them, even if we have not seen the event.

"We ought to believe that things are as they seem to be...unless and until we have evidence that they are mistaken"

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Principle of Testimony

It is reasonable to believe what someone tells you

EXAMPLE: if your best friend tells you about a religious experience they have had, do you have reason to disbelieve them?
You would probably want more details and investigate further but you wouldn't automatically reject it or call them a liar.

However, as not everyone has a religious experience, you could assume that the experiences are caused by something else, as surely God would want everyone to experience Him.

On the other hand, Swinburne says that just because not everyone has a religious experience is no reason to reject the possibility of some people having such experiences given by God

Swinburne said it is logical that more religious people have R.E because they are the ones who are more likely to have more knowledge of them and can interpret/recognise their experiences by referring to their religious belief

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