RE2b(v) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 4 – God on the Brain

God on the Brain – transcript A BBC Horizon programme aired Thursday 17th April 2003 (transcript copied from here) RUDI: I thought that I had died and I had gone to hell. GWEN: I was almost thinking of my son as god. BERNY: It then turned out she thought I was Joseph, she was Mary… Read More RE2b(v) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 4 – God on the Brain

RE2b(vi) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 5 – natural explanations

Perhaps the key challenge to veracity of religious experience is the claim that that there are alternative explanations; that these are not supernatural experiences of God, but are natural explanations, the result of brain activity, such as temporal lobe epilepsy. This link between brain activity and religious experience have often been supported with reference to… Read More RE2b(vi) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 5 – natural explanations

RE2b(iv) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 3 – more likely explanations

David Hume, an 18th century Scottish philosopher is one of the most influential empirical philosophers.  Empiricism is the idea that knowledge comes from experience, so for Hume, the only we can know something is through some form of experience.  He once wrote that: “the wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” By this he… Read More RE2b(iv) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 3 – more likely explanations

RE2b(iii) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 2 – the finite and the infinite

The second challenge to the idea of religious experience concerns the idea of the finite experiencing the infinite.  How can finite beings such as humans, that is, limited beings, experience an infinite being such as God? Experiences of any kind deal with out perceptions, what we perceive.  These perceptions are mediated.  This means that when… Read More RE2b(iii) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 2 – the finite and the infinite

RE2b(ii) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 1 – the problem of verification

Cast your mind back to Swinburne’s ideas on the Principles of Credulity and Testimony.  In this, Swinburne argues that if an account or testimony is credible, then we ought to believe it, unless we have clear, positive reasons for not believing the testimony. So, for example, if I said that for my 18th birthday I… Read More RE2b(ii) Challenges to the argument from religious experience 1 – the problem of verification

RE2b(i) Challenges to the argument from religious experience

We have spent some time considering the argument from religious experience for the existence of God and we know that the key question in respect of this argument is, Are religious experiences really of God? We have also studied various attempts to strengthen this inductive argument by providing evidence and reasons to support the claim… Read More RE2b(i) Challenges to the argument from religious experience

RE2a(v) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 4: the subjects’ perspective

The argument from religious experience for the existence of God is an inductive argument, meaning if we are to be convinced by it, we need supporting evidence and reasons. So far we have suggested change in the life of the subject and the common phenomenological core are evidence to support the argument and the Principles… Read More RE2a(v) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 4: the subjects’ perspective

RE2a(iv) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 3: the Principles of Credulity and Testimony

So far we have presented two pieces of evidence that seek to strengthen this inductive argument from religious experience for the existence of God; change in the life of the subject and the idea of a common phenomenological core.  Both of these seek to provide additional evidence in support of the claim that religious experience… Read More RE2a(iv) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 3: the Principles of Credulity and Testimony

RE2a(iii) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 2: the common phenomenological core

In William James’ study of religious experience, he argued that in all the instances of religious experience he had studied, there was a common phenomenological core. Before we seek to understand what he meant by that, let us first consider what he means by these three words. Phenomenology is the study of phenomena, that is,… Read More RE2a(iii) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 2: the common phenomenological core

RE2a(ii) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 1: change

In the previous post we saw how the argument from religious experience for the existence of God works.  It is an inductive argument, meaning that while the premises support the conclusion, they do not prove it to be correct.  There are, therefore, alternative possible conclusions. The previous post ended with the idea that the success… Read More RE2a(ii) Supporting the argument from religious experience – part 1: change

RE 2a(i) The argument from religious experience for the existence of God

We know that religious experiences happen.  We know that many people have had experiences that we might call religious.  That these experiences happen is not in doubt.  What is open to doubt however is their veracity, that is, are they really, truly religious experiences?  For example, in the case of Saul’s conversion, clearly something happened… Read More RE 2a(i) The argument from religious experience for the existence of God