Religious Experiences- A01


Explain the main concepts of religious experience as an argument for the existence of God. (A01- 18 Marks)

A religious experience is defined as an encounter with the divine. Some religions began because of a religious experience (re) and most of them still use these experiences as the base of their religion. In this argument, I shall be exploring at how religious experiences lead to the belief that God exists.

Many scholars have tried to define religious experience as a term. Martin Buber defines it as God interacting with others and through nature. Another scholar Edward Schleirmacher defines it as an awareness of something greater than yourself but you are dependent on it. Ninian Smart defined it as an awareness of something greater than yourself. All these scholars believe that either there a type of force that overpowers you or that God exists.

William James a scholar, who has conducted extensive research into this particular topic of philosophy, defined religious experience as a feeling of reverence and holiness. Acknowledging his work for the topic of miracles is important as he does develop a main concept.  He suggested four aspects of a religious experience: noetic (imparts knowledge/truth), ineffable (cannot be described), transient (brief but profound) and passive(taken over but it).

Some argue that there are certain factors that lead to you having a religious experience which is an important concept. Music and atmosphere allows you to share your beliefs with those your with and it’s a communal experience.  Another contributing factor could be mediation or prayer. Meditation is the process when a person seeks understanding of a union with God.

There are a few types of religious experiences such as dramatic events a biblical example of this would be Paul’s conversion on the road of Damascus.Inthe event Saul is blinded on his travels to persecute the Christians and God speaks to him and asks him to convert, Saul accepts Christ and converts. Another type is a corporate experience, when a group experience the same feelings at the same time; an example for this type is the Toronto Blessing which is related with revival, healings, personal transformation and a greater awareness. The other types include: near death experiences, mystical, revelation and responses to life and to the world.

These experiences are unique and could be either individual or mass happenings. Greeley said that a common outcome of a religious experience could be a feeling of deep inner peace, certainty that everything will turn out for the good and God’s love is the centre of everything.

The argument itself in syllogism form is, P1: Experience of X indicates the reality of


Deborah Jeyaseelan


I got 16/18 for this A01.