I have heard and read some religious apologists argue something to the effect that we have no more reason to believe our ordinary experiences than we have to believe our religious intuitions and experiences.I am curious to know how far is such a stance philosophically and scientifically defencible.Thanks in advance

2 Answers 2


Personally, I'm in sympathy with this concept. However Hume has an entire discussion of this topic --his answer is essentially that mundane experiences match a reliable pattern, while religious experiences are outliers.

As someone who has had religious experiences myself, they definitely serve me personally as supporting evidence for my religious beliefs. However, I understand why Hume would claim that my report of my experiences are unlikely to serve as compelling evidence for anyone else.

  • But i would like to know how the stated position in the question can/has be/been defended or ctiticised..especially in the light of postHume debates of this issue. Jan 23, 2015 at 17:51
  • @Chris Sunami - is it that your religeous experiences are internal and "felt" rather than seen in the physical world? In order for them to be as "believable" as more worldly experiences, I guess they'd need to be something that also affects your body (senses - touch, vision etc), which would make them part of the real world we see before us. If they remain as feelings or internal "isms" then I agree that they're no less valid as experiences but they're so personal that they remain only for you .. thus only believable for you (& perhaps others who understand you) .. how's my logic ? Jan 23, 2015 at 19:12
  • @user2808054 Russell says basically the same in 'Mysticism and Logic'
    – dwn
    Jan 23, 2015 at 19:26
  • @dwn he got it from me, lol. Ta I might look that up. Jan 26, 2015 at 9:49

In the East the problem is come at from an entirely different angle. The subject is dealt in detail in the Mandukya Upanishad and Gaudapada's Karika (a commentary on the Mandukya Upanishad). What you call 'ordinary experiences' are analyzed as experiences of the waking state. The Mandukya analyzes the experience of the universe from the different states of consciousness; waking, dream, dreamless sleep, and Turiya (Super-Consciousness, Nirvana, Samadhi - 'religious experience').

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