experience, religious

experience, religious
   An experience is religious if the individual undergoing it takes it to involve an encounter with a transcendent divine reality. While such experience is generally believed to contrast with mundane non-divine experience, Schleiermacher rejected the notion of special divine action and instead viewed religious experience as a component of all human experience. Assuming that we demarcate the range of religious experience as less than the totality of experience, we can then enquire into its specific epistemological status. William James argued pragmatically in The Varieties of Religious Experience that putative religious experience can be accepted at face value owing to its positive effects on the percipient. Recently, William Alston has argued in Perceiving God that 'mystical perception' can serve as an epistemological ground for belief in God analogous to the ground sense perception provides for knowledge of the world. The argument from religious experience reasons that the existence of God provides the simplest explanation for the widespread distribution and nature of reports for special religious experience.
   Further reading: Alston 1993; Archer, Collier and Porpora 2004; Baillie 1962; James 1920; Yandell 1994

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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