Examining the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Argument for the Existence of God Based on Religious Experience

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A religious experience is an event which brings about an encounter between God and the experient. It is a communication between God and the individual which brings about an overwhelming awareness of God. As a result, the experient may undergo a conversion, may believe they have received a revelation or feel called to fulfil a divine commission or spiritual responsibility. But a question that would arise is whether there are strong grounds that suggest that such experiences prove the existence of God.

There is not just one definitive type of religious experience, there is a variety. They could be coincidental events that are given a religious significance, corporate and private experiences, visionary and auditory experiences, physical experiences (e.g. stigmata), supernatural experiences (beyond the natural order of things) or noetic experiences (revealing new knowledge).

In the early 20th century, a psychologist called William James conducted the first empirical study of religious experience. In his study, he identified four features that categorise a religious experience: Noet...

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