Religious Experiences

Alanis  Harridine
Mind Map by Alanis Harridine , updated more than 1 year ago
Alanis  Harridine
Created by Alanis Harridine over 6 years ago
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A2 level Philosophy and ethics (A2) Mind Map on Religious Experiences, created by Alanis Harridine on 05/21/2015.

Resource summary

Religious Experiences
  1. Posteriori argument - are encounters with a divine higher being that can be mystical, corporate, numerous and conversion. Where these experiences have authority and convince individuals their religious beliefs are true and pass on a understanding of God or in some cases persuade them to change beliefs. However the evidence for this argument is too subjective/personal.
    1. William James
      1. Inductive argument, argues 4 common factors of RE:
        1. Ineffability (the experience cannot be explained - inexpressible), Passivity (no control), Noetic (conveys knowledge), Transcendent (passes quickly). These four used empirical evidence based on the description of the RE. James accepted a psychological element but also argued for a spiritual cause. He understood that RE was the key to understanding the very foundation of Religion and further, the psychological truths of the human mind as it uncovers the way in which the mind works at an extreme level. Although there is no concrete proof: 'it is reasonable to believe that there is a personal God' who is interested in the world and its individuals.
      2. Richard Swinburne
        1. Culmative argument, argued that RE's give an understanding of God, and 'fits' with God's nature and an entirely acceptable; "Omnipotent and perfectly good creation will seek to interact with his creatures and in particular with human persons capable of knowing him." Principle of TESTIMONY - we find that people usually tell us the truth so we should go with the balance of probability when we are told something and accept their explanation. Principle of CREDUALITY - is an experience which is normally reliable, to trust our instincts and consider the "believability."
        2. OTTO - said that God is the wholly other, this means he is a being that is completely different to human beings. We can only 'know' God is he chooses to reveal himself. NUMEROUS EXPERIENCE is where God reveals himself and is experienced on a emotional level. He also said that believers interpret the world through the experience and ideas about God may then be developed when believers reflect on their experience.
          1. OTTO implies that numerous is the only RE you can have (what about the others?) so therefore his argument is too simplistic.
            1. Schleiermacher and Otto
              1. Argued that experiences are two things: (1) experienced on a emotional level (2) theological knowledge arises afterwards when the people reflect on the experience.
                1. For Schleiermacher they are primarily emotional experiences, deeper than reason and at their core a feeling of absolute dependence upon the divine.
            2. St Teresa of Avila
              1. Had mystical experiences she described how the person feels that their soul/consciousness has left their body physically so she created a test to see if RE's are genuine:
                1. 1.) Does it fit in with Christian teaching - urging the individual to do something positive has to fit in with the benevolent God. 2.) Does the experience leave the individual feeling at peace? beneficial experience?
              2. Buber
                1. Argued that God reveals himself to people on a personal level as they experienced him in life and in the world. He meant that RE's are like a intimate personal relationship which we might encounter in deep friendships with nature and God. He called this an 'I-Thou' relationship which is different to what we have in an 'I-It' relationship (relationships we have with objects or people we don't know).
                2. FREUD - argued that RE's are just 'illusions' and that they are just creations of the brain and are simply false examples of our desires.
                  1. DAWKINS - wrote a book against the idea of RE's called 'The God of Delusion' this is where he suggested RE's are just outcomes of alternative explanations.
                    1. A. J. AYER - claimed that RE's are all together fallacious. He also stated that humans are mistaken and untrustable to believe them and therefore there is no proof for the existence of God (verification principle - logical positivists).
                      1. FLEW - argued that religious believers were so convinced of the truth of their religious statements that they often refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary (FALSIFICATION).
                        1. STARBUCK - a psychologist thought RE's might just be the normal process/development of adolescence finding its sense of their identity.
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