Argument from Religious Experience

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  • Created by: JMitch
  • Created on: 22-05-13 12:41

Argument for God from Religious Experience

William James' Approach

  • Wrote Varieties of Religious Experiences and came from not only a Philosophical approach but also a psychological and scientific approach
  • Said that all religious experiences are: Noetic, Transcient, Ineffable and Passive
  • Accepted that people need 'good dispositions' to contribute as evidence
  • Experiences indicate the probability of a 'God' of sorts
  • Experiences are essential to religious belief and because they are common then this is good evidence for a higher being
  • BUT - James took a pragmatic approach towards religious experiences - the outcome of the experience gives it meaning not its cause
  • Also took a pluralistic approach that suggested all religious experiences point towards the same ultimate reality

Swinburne's argument

  • Swinburne argued that: 'If there is a God he would make himself know, there are experiences of God, therefore God exists'
  • Accepted issues around evidence but had two principles to account for this:
  • Principle of Credulity - If there is no evidence to oppose the experience (person


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