Can Religious Experience Provide Justification for the Belief in God? The Debate in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy

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Abstract

In recent analytic philosophy of religion, one hotly debated topic is the veridicality of religious experience. In this paper, I briefly trace how the argument from religious experience comes into prominence in the twentieth century. This is due to the able defense of this argument by Richard Swinburne, William Alston, and Jerome Gellman among others. I explain the argument's intuitive force and why the stock objections to religious experience are not entirely convincing. I expound Swinburne's approach and his application of the Principle of Credulity to religious experience. Then I critically examine four major objections to Swinburne. I conclude that the argument from religious experiences is not likely to be conclusive but it should not be dismissed either.

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