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The Argument For The Existence Of God

1710 words - 7 pages

The Argument for the Existence of God

It is an undisputed fact that some people claim to have experienced
God. It is these religious experiences that have been used by
philosophers to argue for the existence of God. The main way of
expressing the argument from religious experience is as follows:

P1 Someone experiences an entity

C1 The entity exists

P2 Someone has experienced God

C2 God exists

Those who champion the argument seek to differentiate ordinary
experiences and religious experiences. The supporters of this argument
argue that there are several key differences between the two types of
experience: that religious experiences are completely different from
what is normal and usual; that it is not usual to be able to describe
a religious experience; religious experience cannot usually be checked
(i.e. someone else cannot check to see whether it has happened or
not); and it gives insight into the unseen.

All religious experiences take the form of either 'a sense of oneness
or union with the divine', 'a sense of dependence on the divine' and
'a sense of separateness from the divine'. All of these are to do with
direct experience and this is what the topic of religious experience
is debated on.

When people claim to have had a religious experience, it can usually
be categorised by being non-inferential, being experienced through one
or more of the five senses and being something like the way that you
would experience people. Language used to describe these experiences
is often linked with the sense such as 'seeing' and 'meeting' God;
this is to show that the experience is personal and shows that you
have encountered another being. H.H. Farmer, in his book Towards
Belief In God, argues that 'the divine reality is by definition unique
… we would expect that that if we knew the reality of God, we shall
just know that we are dealing with God'. The idea expressed here is
that religious believers will become explicitly convinced that they
are in God's presence when a religious experience occurs.

In order to stress that the experience was truly experienced and not
simply a conclusion of a series of inferences (caused by consideration
of a set of hypotheses), experiences are described through the
undeniable, self-authenticating interaction of the five senses. For
example, when you see a football heading straight towards you and
subsequently colliding with your head, you not only see the football
coming towards you but also feel the football when it hits your head.
Through the interaction of the two senses of sight and touch it would
seem illogical to deny the existence of the football and, indeed, the
event itself. An analogy to this effect is often cited because the
direct experience that comes from a spiritual sense and that not to
believe in God's presence...

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