Chapter

Challenges to 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250012.003.0006
Challenges to Religious Experience

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Arguments from religious experience must generally rely heavily on people's descriptions of their past experiences. Only rarely can the proponents of such arguments appeal to their own personal experiences, and they are seldom able to examine other subjects undergoing a religious experience. Suspicion of the accuracy or sincerity of subjects' reports of their religious experiences will have serious consequences for any argument from religious experience, for they are the primary means of access to the experiences themselves. This chapter looks at various challenges to religious experience, which can be classified as follows: description-related challenges, subject-related challenges, and object-related challenges. While none of the above challenges can destroy the evidential force of religious experience on its own, they can be combined into a cumulative argument of much greater strength.

Keywords: religious experiences; description-related challenges; subject-related challenges; object-related challenges

Chapter.  11203 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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