• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Religious experience presents a convincing argument to prove the existence of God. Analyse this claim (12 marks)

Extracts from this document...


Religious experience presents a convincing argument to prove the existence of God. Analyse this claim (12 marks) The religious experience is an a posteriori argument with the philosophical proof if based on experience. The actual argument is as follows: P1 - I have a strange experience P2 - The explanation for the experience lies beyond me P3 - All things which are beyond me I attribute to God C - Therefore God exists Religious experience can be split into three types; mysticism, conversion and prayer. A mystical experience is the name given to the experience of having apprehended an ultimate reality that is difficult to express using normal vocabulary. Conversion is the changing from one set of beliefs to another. The word prayer includes every kind of inward communion or conversation with the power recognition, thanksgiving and petition. As the argument is based on a prior believe in God and the thought that he manifests himself occasionally and privately in some people's lives. This argument requires spiritual recognition as it cannot be proven by any form of rational justification. ...read more.


For example as God is the creator, how would you recognise this attribute if you were to have a religious experience. The argument that 'you know' is too insufficient as there must be reasons as well as convictions. Swinburne states, in support of the argument, that there is no good reason to suppose that 'God exists' is somehow meaningless, or contradictory, or not possibly true. He says that one should not reject claims to experience of God by rejecting the whole idea of God. Swinburne also says that when someone explains about a religious experience they are only reporting how it appeared to them. Evidence has shown that experiences can give us grounds for supposing that things are as we take them to be. He argues that we can acquire knowledge from experiences and that we can acquire knowledge of God by religious experience. Swinburne also says that God does not defy human understanding and there is no reason, in principle, why people should not be able to correctly identify an object of their experience as divine. A common argument against the criticisms of this argument is that although people can make mistakes when describing how things are, does not mean that they are always mistaken. ...read more.


Aquinas argues against the religious experience argument as he says that God is a reality which defines human understanding so he argues that if god accounts for the experiences we have, we are not in any position explicitly to recognise that any object of our experience is God. The main criticism of this argument is that experiences can often present false impressions, an example being that it looks as if the sun moves around the earth but it doesn't. People who suffer from various kinds of drug addictions may genuinely believe that the world contains fifty foot penguins but this is obviously not the case. These leads to many people believing that experiences can carry little weight when it comes to the question of God's existence. These criticisms often lead people to not supporting this argument and so many people question the premises and the believability of this argument. Aquinas puts forward many criticisms for this argument but these stem from his strong belief in God prior to this argument. Freud, looking from a more psychological approach, also apposes the argument looking at the area of making a mistake rather than the likelihood of God appearing to people. Words = 1,170 Hannah O'Shea-Herriot R.S. A Level Philosophy ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    Immanuel Kant rejected the cosmological argument based on his theory that reason is too limited to know anything beyond human experience. However, he did argue that religion could be established as presupposed by the workings of morality in the human mind ("practical reason").

  2. Analyse paragraphs 11 & 12 of Peter Donovans article 'Can we know God by ...

    In this extract one of Owen's forms of gaining a sense of God's reality is through contemplation of beauty and order in nature. The use of nature in reference to God is a controversial area of philosophy and one that has been discussed for many centuries.

  1. Examine the main strengths and weakness of the Cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    He said that should we be able to explain the causes of, say, each particle out of a group of twenty, it would be unreasonable to go on to ask what the cause of the whole twenty would be. If we have explained each part of a series, have we not explained the whole?

  2. Moot-court Reflective Report.

    I then changed the case in my argument from R VS. Cambridge University EX Parte Beg 1999 to R vs. Manchester Metropolitan University Ex Party Nolan 1994. This enabled me to present a stronger argument, which reinforced the point that I was making.

  1. Religious Experience presents a convincing argument for the existence of God. Analyse this claim.

    "God was present, though invisible; he fell under not one of my senses, yet my consciousness perceived him." Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, argues that there is no such thing as a religious experience and that they are merely expressions of a persons psychological needs: "The argument from religious

  2. Analyse the key strengths for the arguments of the existence of God based on ...

    Using this theory would allow us to believe that the argument is in fact logical. The strengths of the argument can be simplified into three main arguments sub-headed "similarities of experience", "quantity of experience" and "effects of experience".

  1. Synoptic Study, Satre, Engels and Marx

    This man surly can't have the same freedom that Sartre has. He is not free to define him self as anything he chooses to be. He could not decide to become a write or doctor as he would loss his job, income and eventually starve himself and his family.

  2. Assess whether religious experience demonstrates the existence of God?

    As philosophers we must view these extraordinary experiences differently and be more analytical into the causes (such as looking at the recipient of the experience). In Brian Davies book "An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion" he highlights that to reject empirical evidence without any major reason to doubt is simply absurd.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work