CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

How God Arguments From Experience Work

Many Christian apologists are afraid to argue from experience because they find that atheists are very quick to jump on experience arguments. The reason is two fold:

(1) Atheist tend to be the sort of people who hide behind objectivity. Objectivity is, what C. Wright Mills called "a cloak." It's a veil, it hides one from having to the face the scary subjective nature of truth.

(2) Atheists tend to be scientifically minded, mechanically minded, and mathematically minded. These are all the types of people that are most drawn to the pretense of objectivity. It's my experience that atheists sometimes tend to hate and fear emotions, although not always the case.I get the idea from the arguments on the board now that atheists typically dismiss the experience arguments because they think the reason it is a proof is the intensity of the experience, which they take to be somehow a proof of the supernatural.They think I'm arguing that the experience itself must be a miracle because its' so amazing. I say this because I've seen, in their attempts to explain it through Brian chemistry statements to the effect that it's not supernatural so it can't be a proof of God.None of my God arguments are predicated upon the idea that experiences of God's presence are so amazing and intense that they must be supernatural. I don't think that religious experience is a miracle. I think it's ordinary and universal. In fact that's why it's a counter to the "we are all born atheists" idea. We are not born atheists, we are born experiencing God and with a structure in the brain that responds to the idea of God talk.

I basically have three experience arguments:

(1) Mystical argument.

This is NOT saying that experiences of God are so amazing they must be miracles! Rather it argues that

(a) The experience itself is real, something actually to the person to change his/her life. It's a very power life changing thing.

(b) The argument argues by process of elimination that other kinds of experiences cannot produce long term positive effecting this manner.

(c) but the turning point is, just when it seems like I am arguing for miracle, I don't argue that since the experience is ration and productive it is a good thing and one should embrace it, it can only help you; since the content is about God its' a rational warrant for accepting the notion that is from God; not because it's a miracle and there couldn't be any other reason for it, because it is rationally a possibility that it is from God. Since the experience works, why not accept the content as valid?

(2) Thomas Rid argument.

This argument does not turn on RE being amazingly amazing. It just says that the same criteria through which we judge other kinds of experiences to be valid can also be applied favorably to RE, thus we have just as much reason to trust RE as we do other kinds of experiences.

(3) Religious a priori.

This just says that religion is its own thing, it's not a jumped up ethics or a privative failed sincere. It's like art of music or philosophy, its own disincline with its own orientation toward the world. It's a phenomenological apprehension of certain aspects of realty which cannot be supplied by science. That means that if one chooses to Bel religious it is a rational thing t do and one is justified in doing so.None of these are about miracles, and it doesn't matter if the experiences are transmitted through brain chemistry. None of that beats these arguments. They do not prove the existence of God, but they do supply a rational basis for believing in God.

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