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Conversion Experience Are The Strongest Evidence For The Existence Of God

1001 words - 5 pages

Conversion experience are the strongest evidence for the existence of god
William James argued that conversion was “the habitual centre of personal energy” in a person taken over by religious aims but never stated what the habitual centre was. The person who had such an experience was the “undergoer of an outstanding process performed upon him from above. There is too much evidence if this for any doubt of it to be possible”. Despite this he does acknowledge that other factors may be at work. He points out that dramatic emotions show themselves which can feel similar to conversion experiences. There are people with temporary inhibitions which make them refuse to believe but they may change ...view middle of the document...

It is worth noting Starbucks study is that non-religious adolescents appear to go through similar stages of anxiety and depression before finding a kind of happy relief with a sense of identity.
Starbuck’s conclusions are criticised by others as although in conversion there seems to be a sense of the individual choosing to believe and following religion meaning at some point there needs to be an element of passivity. Religious believers believe at this point a sense of someone or something is acting upon them but theists recognise the large amount of psychological aspects of conversion experiences but argue that to reduce conversion to just a psychological phenomenon fails to address the question of the cause of the experience.
Another form of religious experience is corporate experience an example of this is the Toronto blessing in 1994 large numbers of believers reported to be affected to by the Holy Spirit. This was shown by uncontrollable weeping, laughing and rolling on the floor. Many took this as a sign of a new move by god but many criticise it believing it to just be mass hysteria. Corporate experiences seem more impressive than conversion as it happen to many people and therefore is easier to believe than conversion experience. This type of religious experience may be considered a stronger piece of evidence for god because as quoted by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) to reject the argument as it is possible to confirm or deny what is happening inside someone else. So therefore it is impossible to confirm or deny what happened to that singular person the more people that experience god the easier it is to confirm he exists. Richard Swinburne (1934-) came up with an interesting way of defending conversion experience with his principle of credulity and principle of testimony where he states that whatever appears to be the case unless proven otherwise is probably the case and unless there positive evidence there are lying...

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