A Defeater of the Claim that Belief in God’s Existence is Properly Basic

Philo 7 (1):57-70 (2004)
Michael Shaffer
St. Cloud State University
Some contemporary theologically inclined epistemologists, the reformed epistemologists, have attempted to show that belief in God is rational by appealing directly to a special kind of experience. To strengthen the appeal to this particular, and admittedly peculiar, type of experience these venture to draw a parallel between such experiences and normal perceptual experiences in order to show that, by parity of reasoning, if beliefs formed on the basis of the later are taken to be justified and rational to hold, then beliefs formed on the basis of the former should also be regarded as justified and rational to hold. Such appeals to religious experience have been discussed and/or made by Robert Pargetter, Alvin Plantinga and William Alston and they claim that they provide sufficient warrant for religious beliefs, specifically for the belief that God exists. The main critical issue that will be raised here concerns the coherence of this notion of religious experience itself and whether such appeals to religious experience really provide justification for belief in the existence of God.<br><br>.
Keywords Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 1098-3570
DOI 10.5840/philo2004715
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