Religious Experience

  • Created by: Livvi
  • Created on: 07-06-11 20:36

Religious experience is an attempt at proving the existence of God. It's an a posteriori experience and therefore relies on evidence and experience. it is also both a synthetic and an inductive argument. A religious experience is generally understood to be an encounter with God and the different types of religious experiences are; revelatory experience, near death experience, mystical experience and corporate experience. A religious experience "offers a sense of the ultimate and a feeling of wholeness." and it generally has a deep effect on the experient, although they may not be able to fully comprehend what the experience meant. It has known to create a sense of "awe and wonder" (James) for the experient.

    For many people, a religious experience is enough to prove the existence of God. This could be because the religious experience often leads to the experient converting from one or no religion to another. This can be quite sufficient evident that God exists for not only the experient but also, for the people around them who notice the change in the individual. Swinburne agrees that we should believe people if they say they;ve had a religious experience as he says that "In the absence of special consideration peoples experiences are (probably) as they report." Swinburne puts forward the Cumulative Argument for the existence of God. It first looks at all the various arguments for God's existence except the argument of religious experience. He believes that although none of the arguments in isolation prove that God exists, when they're put together they do. So, given this, he goes on to put forward his argument for Religious Experience.

     There are two principles to this argument: The principle of credulity which says that "it it seems to subject that X is present, than x probably is present" and the principle of testimony maintains that, in the absence of special consideration, you should believe the experient. However, Swinburne didn't take into consideration the negative form of…


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