Arguments against Religious Experience

Outines and briefly evaluates the arguments against the argument of religious experience for the existence of God.

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  • Created by: Grac3
  • Created on: 24-04-14 15:32
Bertrand Russell
Those who have religious experiences are in an unusual physical/mental state e.g. Jesus starving in the desert/meditation. Davies counters that this is not always the case (Damascus) or that we need to prepare for a religious experience (Paris).
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The Biological Argument (Pursinger's experiments)
It is possible to replicate the feelings of a religious experience by artificially stimulating the temporal lobe. Can be countered with the argument that God acts within the laws of nature.
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Freud
Belief in the veracity of religious experiences is merely wish-fulfillment; we want them to be true because they are comforting. Not all religious experiences are comforting i.e. 'don't be afraid'.
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Aquinas
Our idea of God is not of a God that can be experienced; the finite cannot experience the infinite. However, some people fear death when experiencing God but are assured forgiveness.
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Hume
Problems of testimony: scientific backwardness; misremembering; ulterior motive (e.g. money); differing religions.
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Marx
Organised religion is the "opium of the masses" and religious experiences are merely illusory. Can we separate God from organised religion?
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Card 2

Front

It is possible to replicate the feelings of a religious experience by artificially stimulating the temporal lobe. Can be countered with the argument that God acts within the laws of nature.

Back

The Biological Argument (Pursinger's experiments)

Card 3

Front

Belief in the veracity of religious experiences is merely wish-fulfillment; we want them to be true because they are comforting. Not all religious experiences are comforting i.e. 'don't be afraid'.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Our idea of God is not of a God that can be experienced; the finite cannot experience the infinite. However, some people fear death when experiencing God but are assured forgiveness.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Problems of testimony: scientific backwardness; misremembering; ulterior motive (e.g. money); differing religions.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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