How Successful is the Argument for Religious Experiences

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Last updated: November 22, 2019

Religious experiences have been reported for centuries, but there is no proof that reports of any such experiences are genuine.

Religious experiences are momentary links between God and man in which the human involved experiences God. Genuine religious experiences can be life-changing and can affect many people, but it is doubtable whether any reports are genuine since only a single person can experience the experience they claim connected them to God. Religious experiences lack proof since they involve a single person.The public have to rely on this single person to relate the experience, so there is a huge margin for fake reports and exaggerations. Disputable mental health statuses can cause what is believed to be a religious experience: people with ill mental health may experience what they would assume is a religious experience. Religious experiences can also be claimed as a result of a vivid dream or inexplicable lights or sounds.

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Links with God can be imagined or added to the experience for dramatic effect – supernatural effects can be common, but lacking a link with God.Strong religious believers may also believe themselves closer to God, and link this with an (imaginary) religious experience. Devoted people often attribute God to parts of the everyday world. For example, a person could say they felt full after a large meal, while another person could say that they were experiencing God’s ‘warmth and love’. What people may assume to be religious experiences may be occurrences supernatural only for our time and knowledge.Electrical power two thousand years ago would have been seen as a hugely significant religious experience, but which is now seen as a common facility. Although electrical power has little relevance to religion, its uniqueness and novelty may have caused it to be associated with religion. Similarly a modern religious experience may be an example of what we as the human race would find common in the future.

Many people claim to have experienced religious experiences – a poll, though not entirely reliable, showed that sixty percent of the UK’s population had had such an experience.Although the vast number of claims of religious experiences can dilute the viability of the claims, it can also make the actual existence of religious experiences more viable. The idea of religious experiences is also very popular. Aside from those who actually claim to have had a religious experience, most people believe that religious experiences do exist, and that they are a link to God. Such support makes the argument for religious experiences much more successful. Religious and philosophical and theories are controlled by the mind so people can choose what to believe.

We don not know whether or not God actually exists, what he is like, and whether or not religious experiences exist, so the strength or success of an argument depends on public opinion and beliefs, not solid, nonexistent truth. This does not imply that the agnostic view is necessarily the correct view – it may be possible to know the truth about God and religious experiences in the future -; it just means that we do not know what is right at the moment so we have to rely on human beliefs and perception. Many people believe in religious experiences so the argument for religious experiences is very successful.

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