Analyse the Argument of the Existence of God from Religious Experience

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i) Analyse the Argument for the Existence of God from Religious Experience (18)

The argument for the existence of God from Religious Experience is a simple one, with only two premises. The first being that some people have, or have had a religious experience, the second premise is that these are only explicable though God, thus leading to the conclusion that God exists. This leads us to question, what exactly are religious experiences?

Theologians have struggled for centuries trying to define what a religious experience is, with many believing a religious experience to be a sort of revelation, meaning that God reveals some part of hi nature to the experient. St Thomas Aquinas believed that to be his 'Revealed Theology', where truths cannot be made known without some sort of experience, usually attributed to God. Martin Buber argues that God reveals himself to people on a personal level as they experience Him in life and in the world – people experience God through interaction with other people and through nature.

While there not being a concrete definition of what a Religious Experience is, many theologians have categorised these experiences, such as corporate experiences, conversion, visions and voices, and mystical experiences. A corporate experience is where a number of people witness the same experience, as in the Toronto Blessing, where people fell about with jovial laughter, or even mimicked animals. The experients were left feeling 'warm' and 'full of love'. A conversion experience is exactly that, a conversion. This can be for a variety of different reasons. An example of a vision is that of Bernadette of Lourdes, who repeatedly saw the Virgin Mary. A mystical experience is one which the experient perceives the ultimate reality which brings with it a sense of unity with the divine, which is often difficult to describe in ordinary, everyday language.

Richard Swinburne out forward a set of five types of religious experience, the fist being that...
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