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Summary in 400 words or less:
Individuals have had visions of the divine and other such experiences that could only come from God, especially among those who were adamantly opposed to the faith in the beginning.. This gives credence to the existence of God as many of these experiences are not explainable by hallucinations and the like.
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Three questions (1 fill-in-the-blank, 1 multiple choice, and one discussion question):
References for further reading:
Kreeft, Peter. Tacelli, Ronald. Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God.
Religious Experience. Before the argument became hot in recent analytic philosophy, there was William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and Rudolf Otto’s The Idea of the Holy (1917). Essential are contemporary treatments are Swinburne and Alston (cited in footnotes 66 and 67). Some book-length treatments include: Keith Yandell, The Epistemology of Religious Experience (Cambridge, 1993). Caroline Franks Davis, The Evidential Force of Religious Experience (Oxford, 1999). Jerome Gellman, Experience of God and the Rationality of Theistic Belief (Cornell, 1997). Jerome Gellman, Mystical Experience of God: A Philosophical Inquiry (Ashgate, 2002). Kai-man Kwan, The Rainbow of Experiences, Critical Trust, and God: A Defense of Holistic Empiricism (Cntinuum, 2011). One of the best overall synopses I’ve read is in Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, & David Basinger (eds.), Reason & Religious Belief (Oxford, 2nd ed. 1998), pp. 18-42. Accordingly, a good collection of essays on the topic is in their companion, Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings (Oxford, 2nd ed. 2001), pp. 5-64. A nice presentation is also given by C. Stephen Layman, Letters to Doubting Thomas: A Case for the Existence of God (Oxford, 2007), pp. 38-78. For some of the recent history and defensive strategies, see Kai-man Kwan, “Can Religious Experience Provide Justification for the Belief in God? The Debate in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy” Philosophy Compass 1/6 (2006), pp. 640–661. Two of the best systematic defenses are Douglas Geivett, “The Evidential Value of Religious Experience,” in Paul Copan & Paul Moser (eds.), The Rationality of Theism (Routeledge, 2003). Kai-man Kwan, “The Argument from Religious Experience,” in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), pp. 498-552. See also William Alston, “The Experiential Basis of Theism,” (2002). Alexander Pruss, “A Religious Experience Argument for the Existence of a Holy Transcendent Being,” (2001). Travis Dumsday, “Neuroscience and the Evidential Force of Religious Experience,” Philosophia Christi 10 (2008), pp. 137-163.
Personal Transformation. William Alston, “The Fulfillment of Promises as Evidence for Religious Belief” in Radcliffe and White (eds.), Faith in Theory and Practice: Essays on Justifying Religious Belief (Open Court, 1993), pp. 1-34.
Credulity-Based. Richard Swinburne, “The Argument from Religious Experience,” ch. 13 in The Existence of God (Oxford, 2nd ed. 2004), pp. 293-327. A shortened version is his “The Evidential Value of Religious Experience” in Arthur Peacocke (ed.), The Sciences and Theology in the Twentieth Century (Notre Dame, ed. 1986), pp. 182-196.
Sense Peception. William Alston, Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience (Corness, 1991).
Numinous Perception. Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy (1917).
Collaborators: Brian Chilton
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