Arguments from Religious Experience

Caroline Franks Davis

in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198250012
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681233 | DOI:
Arguments from Religious Experience

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This chapter discusses several ‘arguments from religious experience’ which have had wide appeal. Some of them were not originally intended as ‘arguments from religious experience’ in the full sense, but they can be treated as such because they represent common lines of argument about religious experience. Most of them have the following shortcomings: they are all arguments for the existence of (or for the reasonableness of belief in the existence of) the Judaeo-Christian God; they tend to take the empirical research for granted, which can seriously weaken their case; many proponents of arguments from religious experience appear to demand too much of religious experience. In this chapter, the following arguments from religious experience are examined: the analogy with aesthetic and moral experience; the analogy with sense perception; the ‘sense of a personal encounter’ argument; the ‘all experience is experiencing-as’ argument; and an argument using the concept of basic beliefs.

Keywords: religious experience; analogy; sense perception; personal encounter; basic beliefs; aesthetic experience; moral experience

Chapter.  10737 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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