Religious experience

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<p> 1. ReligiousExperience 2. CONTENT 1) Thenatureofareligiousexperience 2) Theapproachesandtypesofreligious experiences 3) Mys?cismandrevela?onasformsof religiousexperiences 4) Theargumentfromreligiousexperience- JamesandSwinburne 5) Cri?cismsofreligiousexperience 3. THEMAINQUESTION Cananyexperienceofthedivinebeusedasan argumentfortheexistenceofGod? 4. THENATUREOFRELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES ReligiousExperienceshavebeenarguedtobegrounds forbeliefinGod. Ingeneralareligiousexperienceisdenedby: 1.Asenseofwonder 2.Asenseofnewinsightandvalues 3.Asenseofholinessandprofundity . 5. DEFINITIONS RudolphOWo(TheIdeaoftheHoly1917)statedthatareligiousexperience maybeanencounterwithsomethingpowerful,uncanny,weird,awesome butalsoaWrac?veandfascina?ng.Hespokeofthisasanencounterwiththe numinous.Healsopointedoutthatareligiousexperiencecannotbe describedinordinarylanguage,sincenoneofourwordsquitecapturethat specialsenseofsomethingbeingholy. Itinvolvesthewholeperson-mind,emo?ons,valuesandrela?onships. WilliamJamesstatesthatareligiousexperienceisthefeelings,acts, experiencesofindividualmenintheirsolitude,sofarastheyapprehend themselvestostandinrela?ontowhatevertheyconsiderdivine. 6. TWOGENERALAPPROACHES Therearetwogeneralapproachestointerpre?ng religiousexperience: 1.Theexperien;al:Thisisconcernedwiththe experienceitself-itallowstheexperiencetospeakfor itselfwithouttryingtodeneexactlywhatis experienced 2.Theproposi;onal:Thisextractsexperiencesfrom certaindeniteproposi?ons-whichareclaimedto bereligioustruths 7. THEPROPOSITIONAL Ingeneral,thephilosophyofreligiontendsto encourageanexperien?alapproach,sincethe proposi?onalapproachdoesnotallowforatrue understandingoftheexperience. 8. TYPESOFRELIGIOUSEXPERIENCES 1.Neardeathexperiences 2.Conversion 3.Groupexperiences 4.Mys?cism 5.Medita?on 9. MYSTICISM (Atypeofreligiousexperience) InhisVarie?esofReligiousExperience,William Jameslistsfourquali?esassociatedwithareligious experience: -Ineability(dierentfromordinaryexperience) -Noe;cquality(atypeofrevela?on-knowledge whichcannotbeproperlyexplained) -Transiency(doesnotlastlong) -Passivity(thepersonfeelsthat) 10. CANRELIGIOUSEXPERIENCEBE DEEMEDREVELATION? Revela?onisdenedasGodrevealinghiswillto humanityorknowledgewhichisgiventhrough supernaturalagency.Itcancomethroughevents, peopleorthescriptures. Revelatoryexperiencestendtobeauthorita?vefor thosewhohavethem,goingbeyondwhatcanbe knownra?onally.Itisgenerallythoughtofasagif fromGod-amomentwhenGodchoosestoreveal himself. 11. PROBLEMSWITHREVELATION Revela?onraisesproblemsforphilosophy becauseknowledgecanonlybear?culated usingwordsthathaveacommonlyagreed meaning.Withoutthat,knowledgedoesnot makesense.OncewriWendown,revela?onis inevitablyreducedtoasetofproposi?onsthat canbeassessedra?onally.Itisthislastprocess withwhichphilosophyistradi?onally concerned. 12. PROBLEMSWITHREVELATION Revelatoryexperiencesarepowerful-peoplewho havereceivedthemmightnotbeabletodefend whattheyhaveexperiencedra?onally,butfor themitisauthorita?ve. Peoplewhohavehadarevelatoryexperienceare unlikelytobedissuaded.Butitisreasonableto dismisstheirclaimonthebasisthatitisimpossible toknowthatwhichisbeyondthesenses? 13. THEARGUMENTFROMRELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE Everyexperienceinvolvestheinterpreta?onof sensa?onsthereisthethingthatisexperienced,and theinterpreta?onandunderstandingofwhatis experienced.Theformerisobjec?veandthelaWer subjec?ve. Areligiousexperiencemustthereforeincludeboththe objec?veandsubjec?veelementsinordertoclassifyas anargumentforGod(oreveninordertoevencountas anexperienceitself). 14. THEARGUMENTFROMRELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE Thereisanevidentproblemwiththis..Godis meanttobebeyondthelimited,physicalworld. Sohowcanpeopleknowthattheyhave experiencedGod? 15. PRIORKNOWLEDGE ISNECESSARY Italldependsonpriorknowledge.IfGodisinnite,hecannotbe locatedinapar?cularplace,nordoeshehaveboundaries.So argumentsaboutwhetherornotanexperienceisofGod, requireapriorknowledgeofwhatGodis. Inorderforreligiousexperiencetobepartofalogicalargument abouttheexistenceofGod,thereneedstobeanagreed deni?onofwhatismeantbythewordGod.Otherwisethere willbenowayofknowinghowthepersonisinterpre?ngtheir experience. 16. WILLIAMJAMES IntheVarie?esofReligiousExperience,Jamestooka psychologicalapproachtohissubject.HemadenoaWemptto arguefromhisaccountsofreligiousexperiencestoany supernaturalconclusions-hewassimplyconcernedwith examiningtheeectofreligiononpeopleslives. Hepointstoreligiousexperienceasaphenomenonthatcan haveaprofoundeect-itisselfauthen?ca?ngfortheperson whohasit.JamesadmiWedthatitdidnotoeranylogicalproof oftheexistenceofGod. 17. WILLIAMJAMES JamesdidnotspeakofGodbutofthespiritual.He wasagainstanyaspectsofdogma?ctheology.Itisonly inthemostgeneraltermsthatJamescanbesaidto oeranykindofargumentfortheexistenceofGod. Jamessimplypointstoreligiousexperiencesandthe roletheyserveasllingpeoplewithlove,happiness, humilityandpeace. 18. SWINBURNE Swinburnealsoarguedthatreligiousexperiencesare authorita?vefortheindividual. Swinburnedoesnotarguethatreligiousexperiences shouldoerconclusiveproofofGod,butratherthat youneedtobalanceoutprobabili?eswhenitcomesto belief. 19. RICHARDSWINBURNE Swinburneoersawaytoclassifyreligiousexperience PUBLICEXPERIENCES: Ordinary,interpretedexperiencee.g.nightsky ExtraordinaryexperienceJesuswalkingonwater PRIVATEEXPERIENCES: DescribableinnormallanguageOR Notdescribableinnormallanguage(mys?cal) Nospecicexperience(forinstancewhenthewholeofa believerslifeisseeninacertainway) 20. SWINBURNE RichardSwinburneputsforwardtwoprinciplestoarguethatwe shouldbalanceprobabili?es. THEPRINCIPLEOFCREDULITY Maintainsthatitisaprincipleofra?onalitythat(inthe absenceofspecialconsidera?ons)ifitseemstoa personthatXispresent,thenprobablyXispresent. Whatoneseemstoperceiveisprobablyso.Putsimply- Youshouldnotdoubtawitness. 21. SWINBURNE THEPRINCIPLEOFTESTIMONY Maintainsthat,intheabsenceofspecial considera?ons,itisreasonabletobelievethatthe experiencesofothersareprobablyastheyreport them.Putsimply-Youshouldnotdoubtwhatthey havetosay. 22. ITALLDEPENDSONPRESUPPOSITIONS IfonebelievesinGod,ifGodisrealwithintheformoflifeof thebelievingcommunity,thenthewholeworldmaybeseenas beingimbuedwithGodspresence.St.Francissawthewhole worldasreec?ngthepresenceofGod. HoweverthisisNOTthesameassayingthatreligious experiencesestablishtheclaimsthatGodexistsindependently ofthecreateduniverse. 23. CRITICISM1-TheViciousCirclechallenge Thisholdsthatreligiousexperiencedependsontheprior assump?onsofthoseinvolved.ThusCatholicswillexperience MaryandHindusarelikelytoexperienceKali. ThisimpliesthatinsteadofreligiousexperiencebeingaBASISfor faith,theyaremorelikelytobegeneratedbyexis?ngfaith commitments.Theythereforehavenoepistemological 24. CRITICISM2-TheConic?ngClaimschallenge ThisarguesthatifChris?anreligiousexperiencesunderwrite Chris?anity,thenIslamicexperiencesshouldequallybeheldto underwriteIslamandsoon. Inotherwords,ifonereligionreliesontheirreligious experiencestoprovethetruthoftheirreligionthen, philosophically,eachreligioncanclaimthesameandthis provides,asDavidHumeputit,acompletetriumphforthe skep?casitimplieseachreligionisequallytrue. 25. CRITICISM3-ThePsychologicalChallenge Somepsychologistsholdthatreligiousexperiencescanbeexplained bypsychologicalfactors.Forinstance,(a)St.Paulsexperienceonthe Damascusroadcouldhavebeenduetoanepilep?ct. HOWEVERitisonethingtosaySomereligiousexperiencescanbe explainedpsychologicallyandanothertosaythatALLreligious experiencescanbeexplainedlikethis.Also,areligiousbelievercan claimthatifthereisaGod,thenGodcouldworkthroughones psyche. 26. CRITICISM4-FromKant Kanttooktheviewthathumanbeingshaveonlyvesensesand thatalltheyknowcomesthroughoneormoreofthem. SinceGodisnotpartofthephenomenalworldofobjectsthatis apprehendedthroughthesenses,wecannothaveanydirect knowledgeofhim. Kantwouldruleoutreligiousexperienceasawayof demonstra?ngtheexistenceofGod. 27. FINALTHOUGHTS Manythroughouttheworldareconvincedthattheyhavebeen inthepresenceofGod.Manyhavestakedtheirlivesonsuch belief.Suchindividualsareofenintelligent,thoughluland compassionatenotthesortofpeoplewhowouldlieorbe readilydismissed. Theirtes?monymaynotcons?tuteproofbut,accordingto JamesandSwinburneitshould,attheleast,isdeservingofbeing takenveryseriouslyandnotdiscarded.Religiousexperiencemay wellpointtothepossibilityofadivineother. </p>