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Challenges to Religious Experience

A2 Philosophy Revision

adeleine dougan

on 21 September 2012

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Transcript of Challenges to Religious Experience

Four Challenges to Religious Experience Ludwig Feurbach (1804-72) Psychological Explanations Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) idea of God is a human projection. All attributes of God are in our nature. We created God in our image. human religious behaviour is a neurosis caused by childhoof insecurities and the desire for a father figure to protect us. Religious experiences are hallucinations that have a simple explanation. Countering the Argument Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) accepted the reality of numinous experience. He claimed in each of us we have an idea (archetpye) of God within a shared collective unconcious. Much work in the last 20 years has focused on the function of the various areas of the brain. Some scientists suggest that there are neuropsycological mechanisms which underlie religious experiences. They refer to the 'casual operator' and the 'holistic operator' within the brain. Physiological Explanations Countering Argument the fact that there is a physical dimension to religious experience need not lead us to reject the religious experience completely. Maybe this is how God has planned to get into our brains since this is how he made us? tend to be described in temrs of people's prior religious faith. Difficulites in Interpretation for example; a Catholic may interpret their experience to be from the Holy Spirit when a Hindu may give another explanation. Countering Argument Our interpretation doesnt mean something did not exist. Although there are many religions possibly they are all different walks of faith from one God expressed in different ways. Immanual KANT (1724-1804) argues our senses can only experience things in the empirical realm which Kant refers to as phenomena. There may be a reality beyond our noumena (experience) bit it is impossible for us to experience it as a matter of logic.
Our senses are finite and limited. Is it logically possible to experience God? Countering Argument it may be possible for God to reveal himself if he chooses to. William Alston (1921-present) argues that religious experience is similar to our normal sensory perception. There may be an aspect of our human mins that is able to experience God. C.D. Broad (1887-1971) gave an analogy of a society of blind people where some evolve the capacity to see. Those who were still blind were skeptical of the information given by the sighted people.
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