Religious Experience

Edited by Guy Axtell (Radford University)
Assistant editor: Katelyn Dobbins (Radford University)
About this topic
Summary

     Religious experience is a very broad topic, understood in different ways by different persons and faith traditions. Each academic field that bears on religion and spirituality approaches it with distinct methods. Recognition of the diversity in reported religious experiences, values, and beliefs also informs work on religious freedom, tolerance, and the public role of religion in a pluralistic society.  

     The broadly epistemic issues include: the need to interpret one’s religious experiences; the cognitive value of religious experience; the proper role of evidence in the formation of religious belief; the epistemology of miracle claims; differences between “experience” as personal and primary, and "testimonial" belief in faith traditions centered on a special revelation; the nature and limits of religious language; feminist critique of androcentric and anthropocentric conceptions of godhead; positive theology in contrast with apophatic or mystically-oriented faith traditions; and process verses substantive conceptions of ultimate reality.

Key works Pamela Sue Anderson (1997), Richard Braithwaite (1955), John Caputo (2001), Evan Fales (2004), Jerome Gellman (2005), Paul Helm (1999), John Hick (1989), David Hume (1998), Alvin Plantinga (1981), Arvind Sharma (1991), William J. Wainwright (1984), Ludwig Wittgenstein (1966), Nicholas Wolterstorff (1984), Keith E. Yandell (1993), Linda Zagsebski (2004)
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1750 found
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1 — 50 / 1750
  1. added 2020-05-30
    In Spirit and Truth: Toward a Theology Without Walls.Richard Oxenberg - manuscript
    Theology Without Walls is a project that seeks to understand the nature of divine reality through an exploration of all the world's religious traditions, without confining itself to any one in particular. In this essay, I discuss why theology has traditionally been done within the boundaries of specific traditions and suggest that, in our time, we are called to a new, more comprehensive, approach to theology.
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  2. added 2020-05-29
    Problems of Religious Luck, Chapter 1: Kinds of Religious Luck: A Working Taxonomy.Guy Axtell - manuscript
    Although there has been little written to date that speaks directly to problems of religious luck, described in other terms these problems have a long history. Contemporary contributors to the literature have referred to “soteriological luck” (Anderson 2011) “salvific luck” (Davidson 1999) and “religious luck” (Zagzebski 1994). Using “religious” as the unifying term, Part I of this monograph begins with the need a more comprehensive taxonomy. Serious philosophic interest in moral and epistemic luck took hold only after comprehensive taxonomies for (...)
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  3. added 2020-05-29
    Spirituality, Expertise, and Philosophers.Bryan Frances - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 1:44-81.
  4. added 2020-05-27
    Testimony, Faith and Humility.Finlay Malcolm - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    It is sometimes claimed that faith is a virtue. To what extent faith is a virtue depends on what faith is. One construal of faith, which has been popular in both recent and historical work on faith, is that faith is a matter of taking oneself to have been spoken to by God and of trusting this purported divine testimony. In this paper, I argue that when faith is understood in this way, for faith to be virtuous then it must (...)
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  5. added 2020-05-27
    The Fellowship of the Ninth Hour: Christian Reflections on the Nature and Value of Faith.Daniel Howard-Snyder & Daniel J. McKaughan - forthcoming - In James Arcadi & James T. Turner Jr (eds.), The T&T Clark Companion to Analytic Theology. New York, NY, USA: T&T Clark/Bloomsbury.
    Christians in the West struggle with intellectual doubt more than they used to, especially university-educated Christians. It is common for young Christians to go off to college assured in their beliefs but, in the course of their first year, they meet powerful defenses of scientific naturalism and the basic Christian story (BCS, for short) in particular. What they learned at home or church seems much less plausible to them, and many are thrown into doubt. They think to themselves something like (...)
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  6. added 2020-05-27
    Religious Disagreement, Religious Experience, and the Evil God Hypothesis.Kirk Lougheed - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (1):173-190.
    Conciliationism is the view that says when an agent who believes P becomes aware of an epistemic peer who believes not-P, that she encounters a defeater for her belief that P. Strong versions of conciliationism pose a sceptical threat to many, if not most, religious beliefs since religion is rife with peer disagreement. Elsewhere I argue that one way for a religious believer to avoid sceptical challenges posed by strong conciliationism is by appealing to the evidential import of religious experience. (...)
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  7. added 2020-05-27
    Immediacy.Jason W. Alvis - 2020 - PhaenEx 13 (2):11-37.
    At least for Schleiermacher, religion is life in immediate feeling. Whether or not we agree with him, immediacy can be understood as one essential aspect of feeling that makes feeling congenial as the means by which we tend to express the source of religious experience. Yet in general, immediacy is difficult to define and qualify. Is there a hope for immediacy in seeking “to be delivered from contingency”? Is immediacy expressed in the instantaneity of how qualities of things are given (...)
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  8. added 2020-05-27
    Antistructure and the Roots of Religious Experience.Connor Wood - 2020 - Zygon 55 (1):125-156.
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  9. added 2020-05-27
    Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God.John M. DePoe & Tyler McNabb (eds.) - 2020 - Bloomsbury Academic.
  10. added 2020-05-27
    Tagore on Religious Consciousness: A Study Based on the Letters Written to Indira Devi and Hemantabala Devi.Rachana Basu - 2020 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 37 (1):3-17.
    The most of Tagore’s ideas expressed in his books and usual writings that draw attention by the Tagore’s scholars, a layman/woman cannot connect easily. The letters focused in this article are written in a simple language, though personal, rooted in daily experiences of Tagore himself—he shares in a very simple and lucid language. Often, the charges against Tagore’s philosophy are made that he is too idealistic and beyond realization. The paper attempts to argue based on these letters that his ideas (...)
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  11. added 2020-05-27
    Religious Faith: Existential-Anthropological Meanings.O. I. Predko - 2019 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 16:33-42.
    Purpose. The aim of this article is to analyse the essential features of religious faith as an existential-personalistic model of the formation of a person, his worldview orientations and activities. This requires a consistent solution of the following tasks: a) to focus on different approaches to understanding the phenomenon of "religious faith" ; b) to reveal the spiritual potential of religious faith, its capabilities in boundary situations. Theoretical basis. The author thinks that the interpretation of religious faith as confidence in (...)
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  12. added 2020-05-27
    Religious Emotion as a Form of Religious Experience.Ingrid Vendrell Ferran - 2019 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 33 (1):78-101.
    This article argues that religious emotions are variations of general emotions that we already know from our everyday life, which nevertheless exhibit specific features that enable us to think of them as forming a coherent subclass. The article claims that there is an experience of joy, sorrow, regret, fear, and so on that is specifically religious. The aim is to develop an account that specifies what makes them “religious.” The argument is developed in three stages. The first section develops a (...)
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  13. added 2020-05-27
    Psychology of Mystical Experience: Muḥammad and Siddhārtha.Abdulla Galadari - 2019 - Anthropology of Consciousness 30 (2):152-178.
    A comparison between Muḥammad and Siddhārtha’s psychological states is made to identify how they had their mystical experiences and how their presuppositions and personalities shaped their interpretation of these experiences. Muḥammad’s mystical experience appeared to be based on an altered state of consciousness. Siddhārtha’s teachings include that one must not have blind faith and remain open to various truths. These teachings may reflect that he was high in openness to experience, which may have fortified him from becoming delusional. While mystical (...)
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  14. added 2020-05-27
    Peircean Faith: Perception, Trust, and Religious Belief in the Conduct of Life.Michael Pope - 2018 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 54 (4):457.
    Classical pragmatists, especially William James, have long been known as defenders of the rationality of religious commitment. Recently, however, scholars have begun to appreciate Charles Sanders Peirce's unique contributions to that defense. For instance, Richard Atkins defends Peirce's Sentimental Conservatism as advising us to trust in our instinctual sentiments rather than our reasonings and theories, elucidating an account of the rationality of religious belief in Peirce's "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God." Likewise, Michael Raposa examines Peirce's religious writings (...)
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  15. added 2020-05-27
    Three Perspectives on Resurrection: Revelation, Experience, Recognition.Jan-Olav Henriksen - 2018 - Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 60 (3):321-341.
    Summary The claim about the resurrection of Jesus Christ is marked by relative semiotic indeterminacy. The lack of an experiential reference for this claim means that we have to see it as the result of an abductive interpretation. Against a backdrop founded on a pragmatist semiotic theory that includes the analytical differentiation between contexts of discovery and contexts of justification, the claim about the resurrection is analyzed with reference to the categories revelation, experience, and recognition. Abduction is at work with (...)
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  16. added 2020-05-27
    Jung in Dialogue with Freud and Patañjali: Instinct, Affective Neuroscience, and the Reconciliation of Science and Religious Experience.Leanne Whitney - 2017 - Cosmos and History 13 (2):298-312.
    For both Jung and Patañjali our human desire to understand “God” is as real as any other instinct. Jung’s and Patañjali’s models further align in their emphasis on the teleological directedness of the psyche, and their aim at reconciling science and religious experience. As an atheist, Freud was in disagreement, but all three scholars align in their emphasis on the study of affect as an empirical means of entering into the psyche. For Patañjali, the nadir of affect lays in transcending (...)
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  17. added 2020-05-27
    Religious Experience and the Probability of Theism: Comments on Swinburne.Christoph Jäger - 2017 - Religious Studies 53 (3):353-370.
    I discuss Richard Swinburne’s account of religious experience in his probabilistic case for theism. I argue, pace Swinburne, that even if cosmological considerations render theism not too improbable, religious experience does not render it more probable than not.
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  18. added 2020-05-27
    Chapter 15. Paul Tillich and the ‘Dark Night of Faith’ as Mystical Experience.Stefan S. Jaeger - 2017 - In Samuel Andrew Shearn & Russell Re Manning (eds.), Returning to Tillich: Theology and Legacy in Transition. De Gruyter. pp. 175-186.
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  19. added 2020-05-27
    The Strength of Faith and Trust.Michael Pace - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (1-2):135-150.
    While there has been considerable interest in the nature of faith and trust in recent philosophical literature, relatively little has been said about what it is for faith or trust to be psychologically stronger or weaker. Drawing on recent accounts of propositional faith by Daniel Howard-Snyder and Lara Buchak, I argue that the strength of one’s faith can vary in two distinct dimensions. The first primarily involves the extent to which one’s confidence motivates one to take risks. The second involves (...)
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  20. added 2020-05-27
    Faith-Based Organisations Between Service Delivery and Social Change in Contemporary China: The Experience of Amity Foundation.Theresa C. Carino - 2016 - Hts Theological Studies 72 (4):1-10.
    China has undergone a profound paradigm shift in its approach to economic development since its policy of 'opening and reform' was first implemented in 1978. It has shifted rapidly from a centrally planned economy to a market-oriented one, speeding up its economic development through foreign investment, a more open market, access to advanced technologies and management experience. It is notable that its economic growth, marked by annual double-digit rises in GDP over two decades, has lifted more than 400 million people (...)
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  21. added 2020-05-27
    Testimony, Belief, and Non-Doxastic Faith: The Humean Argument for Religious Fictionalism.Christopher Jay - 2016 - Religious Studies 52 (2):247-261.
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  22. added 2020-05-27
    Self-Knowledge, Abnegation, and Ful Llment in Medieval Mysticism.Christina Van Dyke - 2016 - In Ursula Renz (ed.), Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 131-145.
    Self-knowledge is a persistent—and paradoxical—theme in medieval mysticism, which portrays our ultimate goal as union with the divine. Union with God is often taken to involve a cognitive and/or volitional merging that requires the loss of a sense of self as distinct from the divine. Yet affective mysticism—which emphasizes the passion of the incarnate Christ and portrays physical and emotional mystical experiences as inherently valuable—was in fact the dominant tradition in the later Middle Ages. An examination of both the affective (...)
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  23. added 2020-05-27
    Einstein and Mysticism.Gary E. Bowman - 2014 - Zygon 49 (2):281-307.
    Albert Einstein deliberately and repeatedly expressed his general religious views. But what were his views of mysticism? His statements on the subject were few, relatively obscure, and often misunderstood. A coherent answer requires setting those statements in historical, cultural, and theological context, as well as examining Einstein's philosophical and religious views. Though the Einstein that emerges clearly rejected supernatural mysticism, his views of “essential” mysticism were—though largely implicit—more nuanced, more subtle, and ultimately more sympathetic than “mere appearance” suggests.
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  24. added 2020-05-27
    Kristeva's Thérèse: Mysticism and Modernism.Carol Mastrangelo Bové - 2013 - Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 21 (1):105-115.
    This essay focuses on Julia Kristeva’s recent volume Thérèse mon amour: Sainte Thérèse d’Avila (2008) , describing and placing this blend of novel, play, psychoanalytic cultural theory, and case history in the context of her work. I argue that the volume contributes to an understanding of religion’s impact—especially Catholic mysticism--on Western categories of women. I address in particular Thérèse ’s mysticism and modernist use of a feminine figure to subvert practices threatening the vitality of the psyche and of social relations. (...)
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  25. added 2020-05-27
    John Dewey’s Uncommon Faith: Understanding “Religious Experience”.Thomas M. Alexander - 2013 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):347-362.
    Dewey’s A Common Faith has been variously interpreted, both in terms of its relation to Dewey’s corpus and internally in terms of its leading ideas. I argue for its crucial relevance in understanding Dewey and undertake an analysis of the key idea of “religious experience” as an “attitude of existence.” This distinguishes religious experience from other types of qualitative experience and shows the unique place this concept has for Dewey.
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  26. added 2020-05-27
    Experience, Explanation and Faith: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion.Anthony O'Hear - 2013 - Routledge.
    In this book Anthony O’Hear examines the reasons that are given for religious faith. His approach is firmly within the classical tradition of natural theology, but an underlying theme is the differences between the personal Creator of the Bible or the Koran and a God conceived of as the indeterminate ground of everything determinate. Drawing on several religious traditions and on the resources of contemporary philosophy, specific chapters analyse the nature of religious faith and of religious experience. They examine connections (...)
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  27. added 2020-05-27
    The Will to Believe.William James - 2011 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press.
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  28. added 2020-05-27
    Mysticism.Christina Van Dyke - 2010 - In The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy. pp. 720-734.
    Rather than dismissing mysticism as irrelevant to the study of medieval philosophy, this chapter identifies the two forms of mysticism most prevalent in the Middle Ages from the twelfth to the early fifteenth century - the apophatic and affective traditions - and examines the intersections of those traditions with three topics of medieval philosophical interests: the relative importance of intellect and will, the implications of the Incarnation for attitudes towards the human body and the material world, and the proper relation (...)
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  29. added 2020-05-27
    Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences: Brain-State Phenomena or Glimpses of Immortality?Michael N. Marsh - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    Discrediting 'mystical' or 'psychical' interpretations of out-of-body and near-death experiences, Michael Marsh demonstrates how these phenomena are explicable in terms of brain neurophysiology and its neuropathological disturbances, and discusses the theological and philosophical implications of his hypotheses.
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  30. added 2020-05-27
    Ontological Proof and the Critique of Religious Experience.Florin Lobont - 2010 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 9 (27):157-174.
    Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Focusing mainly on a number of unpublished texts by Collingwood, especially his “Lectures on the Ontological Proof of the Existence of God,” the study examines the English philosopher’s innovative interpretation of the Anselm’s main contribution to the philosophical-theological tradition. Collingwood insightfully shows how the ontological argument can be used in (...)
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  31. added 2020-05-27
    Six Feet Over: Out-of-Body Experiences and Their Relevance to the Folk Psychology of Souls.Kemmerer David & Gupta Rupa - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (5):479.
    During an out-of-body experience (OBE), one sees the world and one's own body from an extracorporeal visuospatial perspective. OBEs reflect disturbances in brain systems dedicated to multisensory integration and self-processing. However, they have traditionally been interpreted as providing evidence for a soul that can depart the body after death. This mystical view is consistent with Bering's proposal that psychological immortality is the cognitive default.
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  32. added 2020-05-27
    Out-of-Body Experiences as the Origin of the Concept of a 'Soul '.Thomas Metzinger - 2005 - Mind and Matter 3 (1):57-84.
    Contemporary philosophical and scienti .c discussions of mind developed from a 'proto-concept of mind ',a mythical,tradition- alistic,animistic and quasi-sensory theory about what it means to have a mind. It can be found in many di .erent cultures and has a semantic core corresponding to the folk-phenomenological notion of a 'soul '.It will be argued that this notion originates in accurate and truthful .rst-person reports about the experiential content of a special neurophenomenological state-class called 'out-of-body experiences '.They can be undergone by (...)
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  33. added 2020-05-27
    William James and a Science of Religions Reexperiencing the Varieties of Religious Experience.Wayne Proudfoot - 2004
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  34. added 2020-05-27
    Faith and Reason: The Indian Scene and Experience.Amiẏa Kumāra Majumadāra (ed.) - 1999 - Asiatic Society.
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  35. added 2020-05-27
    What Does Mysticism Have to Teach Us About Consciousness?R. Forman - 1998 - In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Journal of Consciousness Studies. MIT Press. pp. 185-201.
    One of the most exciting aspects of this journal, of which I am proud to be an executive editor, is that it has become a venue in which so many distinct fields can interact on a single question, that of consciousness. I know of no other question, or journal, which has brought together so many voices, from so many fields, to swirl around a single topic. It is exciting both to provide a forum and to be a part of this (...)
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  36. added 2020-05-27
    Experience, Explanation and Faith.David Gordon - 1985 - International Philosophical Quarterly 25 (2):221-222.
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  37. added 2020-05-27
    Experience, Explanation and Faith: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion.Anthony O'hear - 1985 - Philosophy 60 (233):413-414.
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  38. added 2020-05-27
    Experience, Explanation and Faith.Paul Helm - 1985 - Philosophical Books 26 (1):50-52.
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  39. added 2020-05-27
    Faith And Experience: XII Christian Experience.Simon Tugwell - 1980 - New Blackfriars 61 (717):62-77.
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  40. added 2020-05-27
    Faith and Experience I.Simon Tugwell - 1978 - New Blackfriars 59 (699):359-369.
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  41. added 2020-05-27
    Faith and Experience II:.Simon Tugwell - 1978 - New Blackfriars 59 (700):417-430.
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  42. added 2020-05-27
    Faith and Experience III: Experience and its Interpretation.Simon Tugwell - 1978 - New Blackfriars 59 (702):498-511.
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  43. added 2020-05-27
    Encountering Evil: The Evil-God Challenge From Religious Experience.Asha Lancaster-Thomas - unknown - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion:0-0.
    It is often thought that religious experiences provide support for the cumulative case for the existence of the God of classical monotheism. In this paper, I formulate an Evil-god challenge that invites classical monotheists to explain why, based on evidence from religious experience, the belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god is significantly more reasonable than the belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, evil god. I demonstrate that religious experiences substantiate the existence of Evil-god more so than they do the existence (...)
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  44. added 2020-05-24
    The Epistemology of Real-World Religious Disagreement Without Peers.Bryan Frances - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (1):289-297.
    When you learn that a large body of highly intelligent, fair-minded, reasonable, and relatively unbiased thinkers disagree with you, does that give you good reason to think you’re wrong? Should you think, “Wait a minute. Maybe I’ve missed something here”? Should you at least drastically reduce your confidence? There is a general epistemological problem here regarding controversial beliefs, one that has nothing especially to do with religious belief. I argue that applying this discussion to religion transforms the problem in unexpected (...)
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  45. added 2020-05-16
    Faith, Theology, and Imagination.John McIntyre - 1987 - Handsel Press.
  46. added 2020-05-03
    Pourquoi Accepter des Contenus Religieux Sans y Croire?Yann Schmitt - 2020 - Philosophie 2:146.
    Pour penser philosophiquement les attitudes religieuses, le concept de croyance est parfois considéré comme inadéquat. Un des reproches souvent développés est qu’une croyance propositionnelle, croire que p, est une attitude trop théorique qui ne peut rendre compte de la foi et de la vie religieuse en général. Il est possible de répondre à ces objections mais cet article évalue la pertinence d’un concept apparemment plus fructueux : l’acceptation. Ce concept permet de rendre compte de certaines attitudes et pratiques religieuses mais (...)
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  47. added 2020-05-03
    Objectiver le vécu. Réponse à Emmanuel Falque.Yann Schmitt - 2012 - In Anthony Feneuil (ed.), L'expérience religieuse: enjeux philosophiques des approches empiriques des religions. pp. 290-296.
    Discussion de la phénoménologie de la religion, et notamment certaines propositions de Heidegger ou Falque.
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  48. added 2020-04-18
    The Varieties of Modern Enchantment.Joshua Landy - 2009 - In Joshua Landy & Michael Saler (eds.), The Re-Enchantment of the World: Secular Magic in a Rational Age. Stanford, CA, USA: pp. 1-14.
    This chapter argues that there is a variety of secular and conscious strategies for re-enchantment, held together by a common aim of filling a God-shaped void. The discussion also introduces three approaches to affirm the claim and offer a more nuanced understanding of the nature of modernity. The first is to reject the notion that any lingering enchantment within Western culture must of necessity be a relic (the binary approach). The second is to reject the notion that modernity is itself (...)
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  49. added 2020-04-14
    Freeing Mysticism: Epistemic Standards in Theory and Practice.John Cooney - 2019 - Stance 12 (1):75-85.
    With the growth of epistemology, an important debate in philosophy of religion has arisen: can mystical encounters—purported feelings of intense unity with the divine—serve as epistemic warrants? In this paper, I examine two of the most prominent and promising standards by which to determine the veridicality of such encounters—those of William Alston and Richard Swinburne—and demonstrate their respective strengths and shortcomings. Considering these shortcomings, I compose and defend my own set of criteria to use in evaluating the veridicality of putative (...)
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  50. added 2020-02-17
    The Fruits of the Unseen: A Jamesian Challenge to Explanatory Reductionism in Accounts of Religious Experience.Walter Scott Stepanenko - 2020 - Open Theology 6 (1):54-65.
    In Religious Experience, Wayne Proudfoot argued that a tout court rejection of reductionism in accounts of religious experience was not viable. According to Proudfoot, it’s possible to distinguish between an illegitimate practice of descriptive reductionism and the legitimate practice of explanatory reductionism. The failure to distinguish between these two forms of reductionism resulted in a protective strategy, or an attempt to protect religious experience from the reach of scientific explanation. Among the theorists whom he accused of deploying this illegitimate strategy (...)
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