Chapter

Religious Experience and the Question of Whether Belief in God Requires Evidence

Evans C. Stephen

in Evidence and Religious Belief

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603718
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729287 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603718.003.0004
Religious Experience and the Question of Whether Belief in God Requires Evidence

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This chapter argues that George Mavrodes’ account of religious experience helps us to see the value of both Reformed epistemology’s contention that belief in God can be ‘properly basic’ and evidentialist arguments for God’s existence. Mavrodes’ account of religious experience as ‘mediated’ helps us see that the ‘ground’ of a properly basic belief in God can also be the basis of an inference. The Reformed Epistemologist is right to argue that belief in God can be properly basic. However, some people may need arguments for belief in God. The same ‘natural signs’ that ground our properly basic beliefs can also provide a basis for such arguments, though the power of the signs is not exhausted by arguments. This account helps us understand why theistic arguments continue to have appeal, even for those who reject the arguments, by pointing to the experienced ‘signs’ that lie at the core of the arguments and give them their force. To illustrate this claim an account of a moral argument and the natural sign that lies at its core is provided.

Keywords: reformed epistemology; religious experience; natural signs for God; Alvin Plantinga; George Mavrodes; theistic arguments; moral argument for God

Chapter.  8360 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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