The Study of Religious Experience - Approaches and Methodologies - Bettina E. Schmidt

The Study of Religious Experience - Approaches and Methodologies - Bettina E. Schmidt

7. An Argument from Religious Experience: Origins and Revelations

The Study of Religious Experience - Approaches and Methodologies - Bettina E. Schmidt

Tristan Nash
University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Description

In this paper I will draw a distinction between two different types of religious experience. Firstly, those experiences that it could be said are part of our everyday framework of beliefs, as fundamental as our beliefs in the external world or the existence of other minds. Then there are those religious experiences that are extraordinary; those experiences that are, in part, defined as religious experiences by the manner in which they are distinct from our everyday experiences. It is this second group of religious experiences that will be the focus. The extraordinary nature of these beliefs often, and quite reasonably, lead people to look for the causes of these experiences, often resulting in competing causal explanations of either a divine or biochemical nature. However, by drawing comparisons with other profound experiences in the field of ethics and scientific discovery, I will argue that focusing solely on causal explanations is to fail to grasp much of what is important about these experiences. I will argue that what is truly significant about religious experiences is not what causes them, but what they reveal.

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Citation

Nash, Tristan. 7. An Argument from Religious Experience: Origins and Revelations. The Study of Religious Experience - Approaches and Methodologies. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 125-134 Aug 2016. ISBN 971781792575. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=26582. Date accessed: 25 Jul 2017 doi: 10.1558/equinox.26582. Aug 2016

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