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Discuss the suggestion that it is pointless to analyse religious experiences.

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  • Essay length: 1205 words
  • Submitted: 13/01/2005
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University Degree Philosophy and Theology

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Discuss the suggestion that it is pointless to analyse religious experiences.

A religious experience is defined as a non-empirical event in which the individual(s) concerned makes direct contact with 'a higher entity' (in relation to or associated with God), and experiences a sense of wonder, insight, holiness and profundity. To this end, the individual may interpret the experience by following an experimental or a prepositional approach: the former allows the experience to speak for itself, without trying to define exactly what happened, whilst the latter extracts from the experience certain definitive propositions, which are then claimed to be religious truths.

As a result, when we come to examine such events, we must therefore consider whether it leads to an exclusivist or inclusivist interpretation. For example, if an individual claims that the particular experience, such as Muhammad hearing and reciting the words of the Qur'an offers a unique and infallible truth - the words of the Qur'an are believed to be the words of Allah - then they will have a corresponding authority. However, alternatively, an inclusivist might be willing to accept that the Qur'an contains valid religious truth, but not that it can claim absolute

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