Philosophy Nature of God, Religious experience + Life after death

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WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910) Religious Experience - The Varieties of Religious Experience - Investigated a large number of accounts - "The only thing it unequivocally testifies to is that we can experience union with something larger than ourselves, and in that union find our greatest peace."
RUDOLF OTTO (1869-1937) Religious Experience -The idea of the Holy (1936) - Coined the term "numinous" to refer to the sense of being in the presence of an awesome power, yet feeling distinctly separate from it.
MARTIN BUBER (1878-1965) Religious Experience - Relationships with God form on 2 levels, regardless of the numinous. 1. I-it: Viewing people and things simply as phenomena - functional, detached. 2. I-thou: Personal, emotional relationships.
JAMES LEUBA (1868-1946) Conversion Talks of conversion experiences with respect to wrongness and sin, from which people move away. Akin to a moral conversion.
EDWIN D STARBUCK (No dates) Conversion Conversion in adolescents, religious or not, produces the same results, from depression and anxiety to a "happy relief" and objectivity.
Theresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Visions Ineffability of experience - Famous example: Talked of seeing Christ at her side, without discerning his form. - "I was conscious of him, for neither the yes of the body or of the soul did I see anything." -Accused of being sexually frustrated
St Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879) Corporeal vision - Catholic saint - Had a number of visions of Mary
EZEKIEL (THE BIBLE) Visions -Ezekiel 1:4-28: Overwhelmed and frightened by a vision of God -"When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of the One speaking."
ST PAUL (SAUL) (THE BIBLE) Voices - Became the missionary of Christianity on the road to Damascus - Acts 9: Paul is blinded, and spoken to by God. He remains blind for 3 day until he is healed by the Disciple, Ananias.
ST AUGUSTINE (354-430) Voices - Augustine hears the voice of children chanting, "take and read, take and read." - Believing this a divine command, Augustine is freed from his sorrow, and turns to his Bible.
SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939) Rejection of Religious Experience - Without warning, the id can flood back with repressed memories, causing some form of neurosis. - God is a "crutch" to deal with the challenges of daily life.
KARL MARX (1818-1883) Rejection of Religious Experience People create God to satisfy their emotional needs, a by-product of the human struggle in a capitalist society.
MICHAEL PERCINGHAM (No dates) Rejection of Religious Experience Investigated hyperreligiosity to find that even atheists can experience the feeling of a higher power with magnetic brain stimulation
JONATHON WEBBER (No dates) Rejection of Religious Experience - Revelation and Religious Experience - Notes issues with interpretation, proof of real experience, perception of the Divine, infinite and immaterial and self authentication. -Genuineness ≠correctness
PATRICIA CHURCHLAND (No dates) Rejection of Religious Experience Argues the brain is immensely capable of creating a religious experience.
BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970) Rejection of Religious Experience - "Some people drink too much and see snakes, while others fast too much and see God." - "The fact that a belief has a good moral effect upon a man is no evidence whatsoever in favour of its truth."
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Religious Experience - Principle of testimony: Don't doubt your own experience without good reason. - Principle of credulity: Don't doubt others' experiences without good reason. - "How things seem to be is a good indication about how things are."
R. M. HARE (1919-2002) Religious Experience -Coined the term "blik" - People will determine event according to their worldview, which can have a massive impact on their lives.
Epicurus (341-270 BCE) Life after Death "Death is of no concern to us, for while we exist, death is not present, and when death is present, we no longer exist."
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Replica Theory, Life after Death - Death and Eternal Life (1976) - It remains possible for an omnipotent God to create an exact replica of us, and because this replica it could conceivably be the same person
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Life after Death and the Problem of Evil - Hick questions the concept of heaven where there is no pain or death - Can we conceive of a worthwhile existence with no needs? -Also questions hell as a place of eternal suffering. This make God the creator of a place of torment, incompatible with benevolence.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Life after death and the problem of evil Divine annihilation of the damned is most just. Everlasting torment is vindictive, but there is no point keeping the corrupt alive as they could not enjoy the 'vision' of God.
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Eastern conceptions of life after death - There seem to be random elements of injustice in life. Why are we not created equally, with the same chance of happiness etc? Karma could be the solution. - Ultimately, to say my soul is reborn does not fit in with any conception of ID.
MICHAEL PETERSON (No dates) Eastern conceptions of life after death - Reason and Religious Belief - "One cannot discern whether a soul is a reincarnated person, or a new individual." - The soul bears no strands of the self, and therefore it seems unfair for us to suffer for the actions of another person.
R. K. TRIPATHI (No dates) Hindu views of life after death - Karma removes God from responsibility for the inequality of human birth. - Our actions have karmic consequences and are not judged by God. His role in evil is seemingly non-existent.
JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832) Life after Death Intentionally preserved his body to affirm his disbelief in the afterlife. Now on display at UCL.
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) Life after Death "The natural condition of the soul is to be perfectly united to the body... and the will cannot be perfectly at rest until the soul is again joined to the body."
ARNALL BLOXHAM (No dates) Evidence for life after death Has produced well documented examples of people taking on different personalities, voices and languages, often found to be historically accurate.
PLATO (428-347 BCE) Dualist view of the soul - The immortal soul pre-exists the human body in the realm of the forms. Real knowledge is thus recollection. - The soul longs to return to the forms - Arguments from the cycle of opposites and from knowledge
RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650) Dualist view of the soul - "proved" the existence of the soul through a skeptical argument. - "Cognito, ergo sum." or "I think, therefore I am." At the very least, the mind exists.
DAVID HUME (1711-1776) Criticisms of Descartes When you introspect, all you find are various thoughts, beliefs, mental states, etc, not an immortal soul.
FRIEDRICH NIETZCHE (1844-1900) Criticisms of Descartes We can only be certain that there are thoughts, at any one time a collection of which are assumed to be one person.
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) Dualist view of the soul - The soul is not part of the body, but able to operate independently. - Called the anima, because it animates or gives life force to the body. - Not divisible, so able to survive death, and retains the individuality of that to whom it was attached
ARISTOTLE (384-322 BCE) Soft Materialist view of the soul - The soul or something is to be seen in its function or purpose. If an eye had a soul, it would be vision. - The soul is the life giving force of the body, developing character and skills. It is not separate, for without physical material, there would be nothing to have purpose. -The human mind (nous/intellect) is immortal and divine.
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Soft materialist view of the soul - Psychosomatic soft materialism, very Aristotelian in nature. - To talk of the soul is to describe mental characteristics and behavioral dispositions. - "My soul is not be." The body is a psycho physical unity.
RICHARD DAWKINS (1941-) Hard materialist view of the soul - The traditional view of the soul is a "mythological concept," for the "weak minded" which "stifles creative endeavor." -We are "bytes and bytes of digital data" programmed to reproduce. - Accepts a conception of the soul as "high development of the mental faculties. Also, in a somewhat limited sense, sensitivity."
GILBERT RYLE (1900-1976) Body/soul distinction - The Concept of the Mind (1949) - The soul as separate, "the ghost in the machine" is a mistake of language. - The soul exists, but is not distinct. - Foreigner watching cricket, asking, "Where's the team spirit?" Spirit is not something identifiably extra to the game.
H. H. PRICE (1899-1984) Survival of the disembodied self - Article: Survival and the Idea of Another World - The soul consists of consciousness, memory, volition and emotional capacity. - The afterlife is mind depended, an "image world" with no feelings, just the ability to communicate with other souls. - "Maybe all we are going to get."
PETER COLE (No dates) Survival of the disembodied self Dualism is the "preferred view." It allows the comfort of immortality, without the inherent issues of resurrection theory - the need to create a replica of the dying human body.
BERNARD WILLIAMS (1929-2003) Survival of the disembodied self - Personal Identity and Individuation (1956) - Disembodied existence is a contradiction in terms. - For P to continue to exist, so must its body, which suggests that bodily continuity is a necessary condition of personal identity.
PETER VARDY (1945-) Survival of the disembodied self - Dualism and a disembodied existence devalue the body, and it is hard to see how body and soul may interact. - Vardy questions whether or not he could be himself without any physical attributes such as the body, brain or sensory organs.
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Criticisms of Price's dream world - Can we really be "living" in this world? - Hick supports an Irenaean theodicy, with an environment suited to "soul making," which may require an afterlife to complete. With no interaction in Price's world, this is impossible.
GEORGE BERKELEY (1685-1753) Idealism - We cannot know whether bodies exist except when we perceive them. - In this case, it is possible only the mind exists, and therefore the illusion that we have physical bodies is removed when we travel to the next world in spiritual form.
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) God's simplicity God is immaterial - he is bodiless. A body would have characteristics just as we do, but God is simply God.
ST AUGUSTINE (354-430) God's simplicity Timeless God - God is unchangeable and cannot lose or gain any characteristics. - God is also unchangeable because change involves movement. God is the cause of change because he is unchanged. - "Thy years neither come nor go, whereas ours both come and go."
BOETHIUS (480-524 CE) God outside of time - The Consolation of Philosophy - God does not exist in time, he is "the whole simultaneous and possession of unending life." - Uses the term "providence" rather than "prevision". God does not see things from our inferior perspective but from above; in the sense of time, above past, present and future. - "The difference between simple and conditional necessity is the addition of the condition."
PETER VARDY (1945-) Different conceptions of God's knowledge - In The Puzzle of God, Vardy presents 2 ways of understanding God's knowledge - If God knows Y, then necessarily Y will happen - If Y happens, then God necessarily knows Y. - Boethius takes the latter view.
ANSELM (1033-1109) God's simplicity - God is perfect. Anything subject to change is not. - Could be used to support Boethius' view.
RICHARD SWINBURNE/ANTHONY KENNY (1934-)/(1931-) Criticisms of Boethius It does not make sense to argue that all time exists simultaneously to God, as it seems to suggest that everything happens at once.
PAUL HELM (No dates) Timeless God - God brought about and sustains the universe by his will. - God timelessly produces the entire space-time universe through one eternal act.
NICHOLAS WOLTERSTORFF (1932-) Everlasting God - God everlasting - The eternity of God has appealed to people because an eternal God is different from Human's experience of life and the world, not just due to Greek philosophical influence. - The Biblical view of God requires him to act freely in response to the actions of humans, and so he must act within time.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Eternal God - The concept of an eternal God fits better with the Biblical understanding of God. - God exists at all points inside time, but doesn't exist outside of time - "There is no time at which he did not exist... He is backwardly eternal."
OSCAR CULLMAN (1902-1999) Eternal God - This is the best understanding based on scripture. - The most logical translation of eternal would be "endless duration, not outside of time."
JÜRGEN MOLTTMAN (1926-) Process theology - The Crucified God - God does not just sit outside of time being perfect and immutable, but gets involved and shares in the pain of human experience to the extent of suffering and death by torture. - ISSUE: If God is perfect or immaterial, in what sense can he experience pain or time?
D Z PHILLIPS (1934-2006) Other conceptions of eternity Eternity is not relative to time, but expresses something of a qualitative nature. God is completely different to any being that can be comprehended, and "eternal" tries to convey this.
RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650) God's omnipotence -God can do anything, including the logically impossible. - Criticised by philosophers such as J L Mackie: The idea of logically impossible actions is "only a form of words which fails to describe any state of affairs."
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) God's omnipotence - God's power is infinite, which relies on it being unlimited by the constraints of physical existence. - Whatever involves a contradiction is not held by omnipotence: "A contradiction in terms cannot be a word, for no mind can conceive it." - God can't climb a tree - it is illogical.
ANTHONY FLEW/J L MACKIE (1923-2010)/(1917-1981) Issues with omniscience/omnipotence - Does omniscience include knowledge of the future? - Flew and Mackie have argued that, given God could have foreseen the consequences of creation, it ought to have been possible to create free creatures who always do the right thing.
ALVIN PLANTINGA (1932-) God's omnipotence - Even though God is omnipotent, it is possible it was not in his power to create a world containing moral good but not moral evil. - Moral evil can only be removed along with moral good: logical impossibility. In line with Hick. - Omnipotence = What is logically possible for God
PETER VARDY (1945-) God's omnipotence - God created the universe in such a way that his ability to act is necessarily limited. - Limitation is self imposed, necessary for the existence of free, rational beings.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) God's omnipotence - It only follows from the stone paradox that if God were to create said stone, there would be something he could not lift. - The paradox is only an issue for omnitemporal omniscience - the view of a being who exists necessarily and is necessarily omnipotent at all times. - A person is no less omnipotent for being unable to bring about a state of affairs that he believes he has an overriding reason not to bring about.
PETER GEACH (1916-2013) God's omnipotence - Providence and Evil - Omnipotence is to be understood as a statement concerning the power of God. - Criticises the view that omnipotence is what is logically possible for God to do - it relies on the view that his nature is perfect.
J L MACKIE (1917-1981) God's omnipotence - God's omnipotence is incoherent. For God to be omnipotent, he needs to be able to do anything, yet the paradox of the stone suggests otherwise. - God cannot be all powerful.
PLATO (428-347 BCE) God's benevolence - The Euthyphro dilemma - Is good good because it is good, or because God says it is good?
R M ADAMS (1937-) God's benevolence To call God good is to express a favourable attitude towards him, and to ascribe qualities that we deem virtuous.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) God's benevolence - Free will is essential to benevolence and reward/punishment - God can know the future, but limits himself out of love, to give us freewill. - We must be free to damn ourselves.
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