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Answering Austin Cline's Argument Against Religious Experience

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This article is a followup to Cline's argument against religious experience as a God argument. He attacks the concept of mystical experience: "Argument from Mysticism: Can Mystics and Mystical Experiences Prove God's Existence?"By Cline Begins by establishing the idea of a professional mystic.

An important form of the Argument from Religious Experience focuses on the issue of mysticism - it might be called the Argument from Professional Religious Experience. What is claimed is that, throughout time, in various cultures and places, there have existed particular individuals who have somehow had direct, personal experiences with God.
Like the general Argument from Religious Experiences, it is claimed that these experiences should be given the same credence as other experiential claims and should not be rejected out of hand. But unlike the general argument, it is observed that mystics spend a lot of time working on understanding and reaching God - th…

Is religious belief magical thinking?

In answer to Matthew Hutson, author of The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking. The article is called "All Paths Lead to Magical Thinking." (Posted: 09/19/2013 8:32 pm).

In recent years, psychologists have come to understand religion and paranormal belief as resulting, in most people, from simple errors in reasoning. You believe in God or astrology or a purpose in life because you apply ideas about people -- that they have thoughts and intentions -- to the natural world. Some display this tendency more than others, but it's there in everyone, even atheistic heathens like me. What has not been clarified is exactly how the various cognitive biases interact to produce specific ideas about the supernatural -- until now.

He presents a tour de force in the form of a bunch of studies that supposedly prove that religious belief is magical thinking. "In the November 2013 issue of Cognition, Aiyana Willard and Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia report on th…