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

To what extent does religious experience provide a compelling argument for the existence of God Discuss

Extracts from this document...


?To what extent does religious experience provide a compelling argument for the existence of God? Discuss (45) While James may put forward a strong argument in favor of religious experience being at the core of all religion, Freud presents an equally strong argument that challenges this with a psychological explanation. Religious experience may provide an argument, but an argument that can always be counteracted. William James was an advocate of religious experiences. He believed that they were the very core of all religion and should be the focus when studying religion, rather that scripture or church. He believed in pluralism and so these experiences were all similar despite personal belief. Despite this, James accepted that there were various types of experiences, however he used the ?PINT? criteria to explain the characteristics a person would encounter when experiencing a mystical experience. This criteria explains that an experience is feeling a loss of control during a short-lived experience that give people revelations into truths that they cannot find words to describe. ...read more.


Soul mysticism is seeking personal knowledge and knowledge of God, Nature mysticism is the awareness of a presence in nature and God mysticism is the feeling of experiencing being God whilst retaining your identity. However all three strands are flawed. Soul mysticism can be entirely psychological and does not present evidence of God; it merely is searching for and finding yourself. Nature mysticism is vague and subjective. Similarly to how you may view the beauty of nature, you may view the interaction of God within it. And lastly God mysticism would mean that a human felt that they were existing outside of human understanding itself. As all three are personal experiences, and on certain levels subjective, they cannot provide an argument for the existence of God as no one but yourself can perceive the way you experience mysticism. Richard Swinburne considered that a loving God has reason to make himself known. He argues that since many people have experienced what they believe to be God, then rationally they should be believed. ...read more.


These experiences then lead the followers to interpret the world from their experience and to develop their own ideas about god. However Otto?s account is to simplistic, it cannot be suggested that all religious experience is numinous as many accounts of religious experience aren?t numinous in nature therefore suggesting that Otto?s proposal cannot prove the existence of God. However Marx produced a sociological explanation for religious experiences by comparing religion to a drug. He said that religion is the ?opium of the world? as people long to belong to the community. Everyone in a religious group forms a close community that draws people in. Even when looking at the British working year, Christianity depicts holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, both bank holidays and important Christian dates. Therefore religious experience does provide an argument for the existence of God but it?s flawed, especially when considering proposals like soul mysticism that are proving to be psychological. The most solid argument is that it is of a psychological reasoning that people experience such strong religious feelings and that that seems most plausible. ...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. Religious Experience presents a convincing argument for the existence of God. Analyse this claim.

    A strength of the argument from religious experience lies in the type of argument that it is, a posteriori. There have been many thousands of people who claim to have had a religious experience. Psychologist Carl Jung said that "religious experience is absolute, it cannot be disputed.

  2. Synoptic Study, Satre, Engels and Marx

    The book tells the story of Pablo Ibbieta, a resistance fighter who in captured. He faces a similar dilemma in which he has to reveal where the rebel Ramon Gris is or face the firing squad. In the story Pablo actually chooses to face the firing squad but most people

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

    Also what if the subject of supposed religious experience has taken some sort of mind altering drug surely then empirical evidence cannot be used to justify any sort of vision. Finally the sceptic would note that a religious experience is not an ordinary experience, one see's trees everyday but experiencing God is quite different.

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

    However, none of the arguments by themselves prove the existence of God. Given this basis, Swinburne goes on to put forward an argument. First of which is the Principle of Credulity, by this Swinburne is saying that what seems to be true - probably is true.

  1. Reductive physicalist accounts of the mind fail to fully explain the nature of mental ...

    Like a jigsaw puzzle, they (mental states) exist alongside each other. How one behaves depends on all the mental states one has; there is no such thing as a distinctive behaviour associated with a single mental states in isolation. Consequently, any plausible connection between mental sates and behaviour will have to invoke many mental states in explaining behaviour.

  2. Discuss the issue that it is pointless to analyse religious experience

    James also created characteristics of religious experience with a hope of being able to understand them and giving them a greater meaning. The characteristics he came up with were, ineffability (the quality of the experience, beyond words), noetic quality (an insight into the wisdom and truth of God, intuition of

  1. Explain what a study of Religious Experience may reveal about the nature of God. ...

    ?The religious experience does not last for long? (Cole). It may only last for a few minutes or hours. The moment of the experience is however more significant despite the duration of it. It is comparable to a dream where one may dream something that happened for days whereas the dream itself was only a few hours or minutes long.

  2. Does Religious Experience offer a convincing argument for God

    This experience also offering a convincing argument for the existence of God as people may believe that these messages of wounds were personal messages from God to let people know he exists and that he is doing it for a specific reason.

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