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Analyse the key concepts of Religious experience as an argument for the existence of God.

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Introduction

Analyse the key concepts of Religious experience as an argument for the existence of God. Firstly the argument is of an 'a posterioi' nature, therefore it is inductive. This means the argument uses data and evidence from which conclusions are drawn. The argument of experience must involve a sense of encounter, the experience of the encounter therefore has been seen, felt and sensed and therefore making the experience exist to us (Hume). These experiences seem to be widespread throughout society and therefore can be claimed to be a normal occurrence. David Hay in his book "The Spiritual Experience of the British" in 1979 his findings are counter-intuitive, his findings show that roughly 50% of the sample reported having had a religious experience of some form. It also showed that more woman had had an experience than men, better educated people had more religious experiences than lesser educated. There are a range of different types of religious experiences, for instance, there are subjective experiences (the meaning and value of the experience is personal), ...read more.

Middle

We could argue that some people are justified in interpreting their experiences religiously whilst others are justified in presenting alternative explanations for the same phenomenon. Another problem is that we know our senses can be deceived, for example Optical Illusions, this implies that perhaps religious experiences are just illusions. There are 2 possible outcomes, one is that the interpretation is of Reality "I think therefore I am" (Descartes) or it is of an opposite nature "When a man tells me God has spoken to him in a dream.....it is no more than to say he dreamed God spoke to him". Richard Swinburne's principle of Credulity and Testimony, help to support peoples' interpretations of experiences by stating that people who make such claims have a right to be taken seriously. If a recipient of such an experience is normally a person who is sincere and trustworthy, the likelihood is that their testimony has strong credibility. ...read more.

Conclusion

The numinous is the mysterious presence of the holy, which is perceived as being both attractive and repellent, both fascinating and awe-inspiring. Ninain Smart describes the Numinous differently, as an everyday devotional experience of believers during prayer, worship or the reading of the bible, but this is open to doubt as it is considered that the experience is of sufficient intensity. William James 1842-910, points out that Religious experience must involve a sense of high order and that Religious experiences have 4 main concepts which are, 1) The experience leaves the person with an awareness of something beyond the trivial material world, 2) Elation, the person is left feeling 'high', 3) Experience leaves the person with the feeling of having come into contact with a benevolent and high order and 4) Experiences have an impact on life and result in change, e.g. a move towards a more spiritual, charitable and morally-aware life style. Shaun Lock Religious Studies Analyse the key concepts of Religious experience as an argument for the existence of God. ...read more.

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