• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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. Moot-court Reflective Report.

    Although, I had already prepared my own argument, I then helped one member of my co-council to find authority for her part of the argument. While I was researching more cases I came across a better case for my part of the argument, which was more appropriate as it reinforced the point that I was making in my argument.

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

    Aquinas, for example, says that there cannot be an infinite series of causes.44 They have also asked how can the cosmological argument avoid contradicting itself. If, for example, nothing causes itself how can there be a first cause which does not itself require a cause other than itself?45 Though this could be debated.

  1. Conscience is the voice of God - discuss

    the functionality of society, it would mean providing a simple justification of any act of cruelty imaginable.

  2. The religious experience argument is the most convincing proof for the existence of God. ...

    An argument put forward by Richard Swinburne, who formed the 'cumulative argument' agrees with the aforementioned statement. He states that if you add all the theories for the existence of God - Ontological, Moral, Teleological, Cosmological... etc - they in turn provide a reasonable probability that there is a God.

  1. Deontology has many strengths but it is justifiable to reject it. Clarify and assess ...

    If they are to be persuaded by a deontological ethical theory it would have to be a secular one. In this respect, Kantian Ethics may present a more suitable candidate. Immanuel Kant's Formalism, another well-known deontological theory of ethics, has been characterised as "a Divine Command Theory without the Divine", because of the similarities between the two theories.

  2. 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

  1. Does Religious Experience offer a convincing argument for God

    Transience, meaning that the experience is not long lasting â no more than a few hours â however the effect of the experience could last a life time and finally Passivity, meaning the person having the experience feels as through the experience is being controlled from outside themselves â they

  2. Evaluate the claim that corporate religious experience is no more than an illusion

    âThe Blessingâ is a worldwide spiritual movement within Pentecostal and charismatic churches which originated at the Toronto Airport Church in January 1994. The Blessing originated from the Faith Movement in the USA, and was passed onto Randy Clark, a pastor in Missouri.

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