Religious Experience

Richard Swinburne’s argument for God’s existence from the Principle of Credulity 1:

(1) For any person S and any object x, if S, on the basis of an apparent experience of x, takes it that x exists, then prima facie it is probable that S’s experience is veridical and thereby x exists. (PC)

(2) If any person S, on the basis of an apparent experience of God, takes it that God exists, then prima facie it is probable that God exists. (From (1) by universal instantiation)

(3) Numerous persons, on the basis of apparent experiences of God, take it that God exists. (Premiss)

(4) Prima facie it is probable that their experiences are veridical and thereby God exists. (From (2) and (3) by modus ponens)

(5) That it is prima facie probable that their experiences are veridical, and thereby the claim that God exists can be defeated only if it is significantly more probable than not that God does not exist. (Premiss)

(6) The cumulative argument shows that it is not significantly more probable than not that God does not exist. (Premiss)

(7) It is probable without qualification that their experiences are veridical, and thereby God exists. (From (3), (4), and (5))

  1. R Swinburne, The Existence of God (Oxford University Press 2004) []