Premium Essay

Religious Experience

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By funky80
Words 2137
Pages 9
Is Religious experience a valid and trustworthy argument for the existence of God?

Introduction

In this essay I shall be making a case for why I believe Religious experience to be a valid and trustworthy argument for the existence of God, I will be focusing primarily on the Christian faith and some of it’s faithful adherents. I shall address some counter arguments, and conclude with what I believe counts for a valid religious experience, so as to decipher, to an extent, subjective human experience in contrast to what adherents to their faith would believe is a universal, absolute truth. Religious Experience

The argument for ‘religious experience’ being a valid and trustworthy argument for the existence of God is often termed ‘the argument from perception’ as the one experiencing perceives that the experience itself is birthed by something or someone independent of the recipient . The logic behind the ‘argument from perception is that since there are so many people who at various times in history have claimed to have Theistic perceptions, there simply must be something to them’( Gellman,17,2001). Concerning the area of ‘Religious experience’ It is interesting to note that in an article for ‘The Guardian’ by columnist Mark Vernon, he cites renowned Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James as stating that the ‘strongest evidence for the existence of God was found in personal, inner religious experience’ ( Vernon, 2010). After extensive studies of religious experiences and conversions, James came to the conclusion that there was a very stark difference in depth concerning religious experience or religious conversion in contrast with a general change in attitude in human beings, He states that,
‘Human beings generally undergo alterations of character in everyday life, being one person at...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Religious Experience

...RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE A2 Philosophy of Religion What is Religious Experience? • A religious experience is a non-empirical occurrence and may even be perceived as supernatural • It can be described as a “mental” event which is undergone by an individual and of which that person is aware. • Such an experience can be spontaneous or it may be brought about as a result of training and self-discipline. • Recipients of religious experiences usually say what has happened to them has drawn them into a deeper knowledge or awareness of God. • It is very important to remember that the experience itself is not a substitute for the Divine, bit a vehicle that is used to bring people closer to the Divine. • The experience that each individual has is absolutely unique and cannot be shared with anyone. • Finally, genuine religious experiences seem to be encouraging, they do not condemn the individual, but help them to live a better life or, for example, to help others. Arguments from Religious Experience from William James. The most famous commentator on Religious Experience is William James (1842 – 1910) He recognised that the term mystical is used in a wide variety of contexts but suggested that using it to refer to “any person who believes in thought transference and spirit return” is far too ambiguous. His famous work “The Varieties of Religious Experience”, published in 1902 includes his categorisation of the four characteristics which, he claims, will enable us to...

Words: 2406 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Critically Assess the Claims and Conclusions on William James’ Variety of Religious Experiences

...from New York City.In the book ‘the varieties of religious experience’, James concluded that religious experience testifies that “we can experience union with something larger that ourselves and in that union find our greatest peace”. He defined such experiences as “experiences of the divine” and believed that religious experience was at the heart of religion, true religion unlike religious teachings, practices and attitudes as these, for James are ‘second hand’ religion which later develops as individuals reflect on their common experience. It is the actual experience which points to God. However this theory does little to prove religious experiences simply because many of his claims do not stand up to critical analysis. James looked at a variety of religious experiences, particularly mystical experiences, this refers to experiences where God is revealed directly and there is a sense of oneness with the divine. James claimed that there are 4 criteria which are all characteristics of mystical experiences. Firstly an experience has to be ineffable, meaning that it is beyond proper description as it cannot adequately be described in words, language limitations prevent description. It also must be noetic, not just feelings but however the experience gives you a deep and direct knowledge of God which could not have been achieved through reason alone. Another criteria of mystical experience is that it must be transient, the experience is temporary and cannot be sustained,......

Words: 1295 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Arguments from Religious Experience

...uments Arguments from religious experience are never convincing. Discuss Throughout the years, many people claim to have religious experiences, as seen in the research of the Alister Hardy research centre or the work of David Hay. When people say that they have experienced God or the divine in some way; they are not saying that it ‘seemed like’ God but was something else. The issue for many philosophers is: are religious experiences veridical? By this is meant can we actually demonstrate that the religious experiences of people are what they seem to be, i.e. experiences of God, rather than delusions, products of the mind or of some other source such as LSD? Can a person saying they have had a religious experience really be convincing. To know whether religious arguments are convincing or not, Richard Swinburne has suggested two principles that may be used to assess claims about religious experiences. First, he suggested what he calls that ‘principle of credulity’. Swinburne argued that, other things being equal, we have good reason to believe what a person tells us is correct. In general, if a person tells us that they can see a cat crossing the road, we believe them, even if we have not seen the event. Even if only one person sees the event, they still count. Swinburne says “the principle of credulity states that we ought to belie that things are as seen to be… unless and until we have evidence that they are mistaken” by the evidence that they are mistake, Swinburne......

Words: 1382 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Examine the Argument for the Existence of God from Religious Experience

...The argument from religious experience is the argument from experiences of God to the existence of God. In its stronger form, this argument asserts that it is only possible to experience that which exists, and so that the ‘God’ therefore must be a God; case closed. In its weaker form (logically) the argument asserts only that religious experiences constitute evidence for God’s existence. Richard Swinburne has defended this form of argument with an appeal to the principle of credulity. The principle of credulity claims that rationally we should believe a person’s claim about what they have experienced. Generally, says Swinburne ‘it is reasonable to believe that the world is probably as we experience it to be. Unless we have an obvious objection to question a religious experience, therefore we should accept it as prima facie evidence from the existence of God at least. Although, the atheist Michael Martin criticised Swinburne’s use of the principle of credulity, If as Swinburne suggests that experiences are generally to be treated as veridical, an Atheist could logically argue that as he experiences the absence of God using the principle of credulity, that the world is then as this experience represents it as being Godless. Arguments therefore for the existence of God through credulity can be met with arguments from atheist experiences (fire with fire) which brings the two equal. Swinburne in defence argues that you can’t have a negative principle of......

Words: 1062 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Madness as Religious Experience - Allen Ginsberg

...Madness as Religious Experience: The Case of Allen Ginsberg Author(s): Martin Wasserman Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 145-151 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27505671 . Accessed: 14/06/2012 10:29 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Springer is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Religion and Health. http://www.jstor.org Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 21, No. 2, Summer 1982 Madness Experience: Ginsberg as Religious The Case of Allen MARTIN WASSERMAN to be a religious Various writers have considered madness On the basis ABSTRACT: experience. in the area with literature and conversations it is argued that of the psychiatric patients, as a four-stage as a religious can be viewed The four madness process. experience developmental are: 1) The state hurt-and-be-hurt of being, self-induced 2) The stages experience, psychedelic 3) The clarify......

Words: 3501 - Pages: 15

Free Essay

William James Views

...known through sensory experience or logical argument • Ordinary language cannot do justice to religious experience, because it is an experience beyond normal sense-experience • Religious language is a ‘schema’ – an attempt to find clusters of words which approach the idea of expressing an inexpressible idea • God is ‘wholly other’ – completely different and distinct to humans • Humans are not able to know God unless he chooses to reveal himself • The numinous is where God reveals himself and his revelation is felt on an emotional level Objections • Confusing regarding the issue of whether knowledge of God is gained through experience • He says the theological ideas come after the experience • He implies that numinous experience is a ‘once and for all’ experience – implies there can be no further experience • To suggest that all religious experiences are numinous is limiting as other forms are so well documented Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) – inspired Otto He agreed that religious experiences are primarily emotional and that every person has a consciousness of the divine. These emotions are deeper than reason and it is ‘self-authenticating;’ not requiring testing to see if it is genuine. Doctrines such as the creed were attempts by individuals to understand their religious experience. He disagreed with this because the experiences should have priority and statements of belief should be formulated to fit them. He contended that the experiences are not......

Words: 548 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Spirituality in Counseling

... Religion and spirituality are arguably among the most important factors which structure human experience, beliefs, values and behavior. Religion and spirituality are clearly important to most Americans; however, most counselors have little or no training in dealing with religious and spiritual issues. Since the mid-1990’s, the integration of spirituality and religion into therapeutic sessions has generated much interest as an area that needs to be addressed with regards to diversity in clients. This paper will address the inclusion of religion and spirituality in client’s session and counselor’s attitudes toward a client’s faith based on the assumption that the client’s faith and the counselor’s attitude can have significant impact on the outcome of the treatment of the client. A counselor’s willingness to attend to faith as a means of growth can build rapport and lessen potential resistance with clients who are religious (Worthington, 1989). Spirituality in Counseling: Integrating Religion and Spirituality Spirituality has become increasingly important in counseling and prayer has become the spiritual intervention of choice for Christian counselors, as well as secular counselors. The controversial nature of including prayer in counseling requires much consideration on the grounds of ethical boundaries. Majority of mental health professionals who claim a type of religious affiliation, believe spirituality is relevant in their client’s well-being and value the......

Words: 2495 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Philosophy

...First name Last name Lecturer Date Spiritual Life needs Critical Mind The core postulation of the Buddhist doctrine is the assumption that all is misfortune, our irrelevant souls are at bay forever in a confusion, and the exclusive way to avoid the misfortune is via a specific route to open mindedness, which changes with every communion of Buddhism, which always entails adherence to different attitudes and behaviors (Carrier 1). In correlation, the core postulation of Christian doctrine is the assumption that we completely have imperishable spirits which are barred by the fault of Adam and individually enjoin condemnation not only to suffering and evil in this universe, but to an endless of life in heaven, but the exclusive means to avoid this doom is through accepting that Christ was the offspring of the Almighty and liberated us by His death on the cross (Carrier 1). Besides that, Christian communions alternate with account to the correct entry demands for eternity home but they are all likely to concur that heartfelt and true belief in the aforementioned main thesis not only advance to a liveliness of goodness and happiness in this universe, but to endless life. According to Carrier (1), to disallow one of the two allegations is to disallow the entire validness of the indicated religions. In fact, even to propose that these allegations are inappropriate or of only secondary significance are to disallow the entire validness of these communions, because everything they......

Words: 2819 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Religious Article Critique

...of the article examined, and the overall significance of the article appraised. By doing this, it will be possible to read this paper and obtain a general feel for all the articles the have been provided. WHAT DO WE EXPERIENCE IF WE HAVE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE? By Peter Antes. This article looks at why people who have religious experiences never “...saw a person who was totally unknown in the respective religious context where the apparition took place.” (Antes 3). Why don’t people ever see the God(s) from other religions, why do some people “...see Kali or Durga, while in Christian contexts, if the vision is that of a woman, St. Mary is seen instead.” (Antes 3). This thesis is rather profound in the fact that almost every religion claims to have religious experiences and divine visions, but never of the God(s) from other religions. An interesting contrast shown in the body of the article is between Madeleine Le Bouc, and Ramakrishna. The former, was said to be quite mad by Doctor Pierre Janet while the ladder was considered a saint. Antes points out that “...they had similar types of experience which, according to their surrounding milieus, found very different explanations: a medical one in terms of mental illness in the secular context of France, and a religious one in the Indian context of Hindu spirituality.” (Antes 2). By using this approach, the findings will be more valid as this argument explores “...the field of Psychology of Religion.” (Antes 3). There is an......

Words: 2847 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Pastoral Counselling Competencies of the Convention Baptist Ministers’ Association Janiuay-Badiangan Circuit Members

...WEST VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF EDUCATION SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES LA PAZ, ILOILO CITY METHODS OF RESEARCH (FND 501) ROSENDO D. MIJE FORTUNATO J. BASAL Researcher Course Facilitator RESEARCH PROPOSAL: PASTORAL COUNSELLING COMPETENCIES OF THE CONVENTION BAPTIST MINISTERS’ ASSOCIATION JANIUAY-BADIANGAN CIRCUIT MEMBERS INTRODUCTION: At any time, we can face uncertainties and experiences that threaten our emotional and spiritual well-being. Caught off-guard by the numerous crises and transitions that accompany life, we may not know how to cope or where to turn for help. Some people turn to psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers for help in coping with these crises and transitions. Others look for support and the opportunity to discuss these issues within a spiritual context. But can one find spiritual help and psychotherapy at the same time? Most religious leaders have little time or training to provide in-depth and extensive therapy. And most psychotherapists have little training or desire to discuss in-depth spiritual matters during sessions with patients. The answer may be pastoral counseling. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: According to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) pastoral counseling is a form of psychotherapy that uses spiritual resources as well as psychological understanding for healing and growth. The central theme in pastoral counseling is an awareness of the spiritual......

Words: 855 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Religion and Health

...Well-Being Research has discovered that through most religious or spiritual involvements there is a positive correlation between religiosity or spirituality and well-being (Koenig, 1995a; Levin, 1997). These establishments provide an environment that fosters prosocial and adaptive qualities, which increase positive mood and decrease stress (Donahue & Benson, 1995). Most religious or spiritual institutions serve as a support system for young adults and families, socially and emotionally. Religious or spiritual organizations offer individuals a sense of connectedness (Blaine & Croker, 1995), which has a positive effect on self-esteem and outlook on life. According to research, teenagers who have religious or spiritual affiliations are less likely of suicide ideation, suicide attempts, alcohol use, and sexual involvement, while being more likely to be involved in volunteer work (Varon & Riley, 1999). Research has also shown that those living through traumatic experiences have discovered that coping though a religious framework has been beneficial (Plante, Saucedo, & Rice, 2001). Miller and Thoresen (1999) has discovered “increasing spiritual and/or religious integration in psychotherapy has improved treatment outcome for religious clients.” Depression Research proposes that religiosity and spirituality are linked with reducing levels of depression on a general scale (Captipovic, Ilakovac, Durjancek, & Amidzc, 1995; Cosar, Kocal, Arikan, & Isik;......

Words: 539 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

World of Religion Syllabus

...York University College of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Department of Humanities AP/HUMA 1860 6.00 The Nature of Religion: An Introduction Term Y Section A Course Director: Dr. Jason C. Robinson Y: Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Office: 126 Founders CollegeOffice Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment | Email: jasonro@yorku.ca Class Time: Tuesday 4:30-6:30 | Classroom: Curtis Lecture Halls (CLH) C | Tutorial Leaders and Times | Type | Day | | Start Time | Duration | | | Location | Instructor | | LECT 01 | T | | 4:30pm | 120 | | | CLH  C | Jason Robinson | jasonro@yorku.ca | TUTR 01 | T | | 7:00pm | 60 | | | ACE  012 | Jason Robinson | jasonro@yorku.ca | TUTR 02 | T | | 7:00pm | 60 | | | SC  220 | Cristiana Conti | menrua19@yorku.ca | TUTR 03 | T | | 7:00pm | 60 | | | SC  223 | Irfaan Jaffer | irfaanjaffer@gmail.com | TUTR 04 | T | 8 | :00pm | 60 | | | ACE  012 | Cristiana Conti | menrua19@yorku.ca | TUTR 05 | T | | 8:00pm | 60 | | | BC  325 | Irfaan Jaffer | irfaanjaffer@gmail.com | TUTR 06 | T | | 8:00pm | 60 | | | MC  215 | Janet Melo-Thaiss | janetmt@yorku.ca | | | Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course Course credit exclusions: AP/HUMA 1865 6.00, AP/HUMA 2800 9.00 (prior to Fall 2014), AP/SOSC 2600 9.00 (prior to Fall 2014). PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusions: AK/HUMA 1860 6.00, AS/HUMA 2800 9.00, AS/SOSC 2600 9.00. Camtasia......

Words: 9291 - Pages: 38

Premium Essay

Nursing

...Running head: SPIRITUAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT Spiritual Needs Assessment Daljit Kumari Spirituality in Health Care Home Grand Canyon University HLT- 310V February 23rd, 2014 This essays purpose is to finalize the spiritual needs assessment of a person that is to be selected to regulate his/her spiritual needs. Religion as well as spirituality do not contain the same definition, although they have been utilized regarding many opportunities. “The primary purpose of a spiritual assessment is to identify a need in the patient and formulate a care plan (Power, 2006, p. 17)”. This assessment plays an essential role within the patient’s care and assessment. The experience of health care is also something that can become as progressing or positive as for a patient as they can give and receive spiritual support that is satisfactory. This assists in promoting the health of a patient, preventing sickness or illness for example anxiety or depression, and to also assist patients to deal with difficulties in times during sickness. A spiritual assessment tool to gain a guide assistance for the health care professionals to cope and embrace the patient’s spiritual needs will be discussed in this paper by the author. According to “(Joint Commission, 2005), the main purpose of the spiritual assessment should be to identify the patient’s needs, hopes, resources, and possible outcomes regarding spirituality (p. 6)”. The best......

Words: 995 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

50 Shades of Religion

...by many writers who have debated whether or not this is a setback for women, to be attracted to a submissive relationship, or a breakthrough, to be able to openly read and discuss a book so sexually explicit that it is often referred to in the media as “mommy porn.” I think the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon is a thinly veiled rewrite of religion. Not religion in the conventional sense of the word, but in how we are redefining faith practices today as more and more people, especially women, shun man-made traditions yet continue to yearn for religious experiences. Something, yet again, to reassure those afraid of the unknown. Diana Butler Bass writes in “Christianity After Religion,” that millions of people share her story “of growing up in a formal religion, finding that somehow chilly or distant, and rediscovering God through a mystical experience.” She continues, “Religion morphed from an external set of rules into a vibrant spiritual experience of God. Somehow the word religion did not seem quite adequate to explain what had happened.” Never before have there been more “seekers” who are not satisfied with the religion they grew up practicing, those who are possibly secular but want...

Words: 931 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Peaceable Integration

...reflects the calling of Jesus Christ? In their book, A Peaceable Psychology, Alvin Dueck and Kevin Reimer discuss means in which to approach the art of counseling psychology that amply appeals to an ever-increasing diverse client population. The writers suggest a prominent shift ensues when counselors no longer reside strictly within the objectivist, non-religious mentality of therapeutic sessions. Instead, Dueck and Reimer propose the counselor integrate the clients’ spiritual and religious beliefs with the therapy session in order to assist in distinguishing and accessing the healing resources available to the client. Within the realm of psychology, many researchers and practitioners have considered areas of faith and religion to be irrelevant. The book describes how these psychologists were educated from early in their studies to regard religion and morality as nonfactors. The authors claim “an enculturated American psychology will displace local traditions in favor of presumed psychological universals” (Dueck and Reimer, 2009, p. 48). These “psychological universals” restrict a person’s life and identity by hindering the religious and spiritual affiliations unique to that individual. The therapist is withholding potential sources of healing in the client’s journey through counseling by depriving him or her of this integral aspect of life. Instead, religion and spirituality should be treated like any other cultural aspect of a client’s life, a fundamental feature of his......

Words: 1270 - Pages: 6