Pool 2The religious experience is a staple of belief for many people across time and faiths. Ithas been argued by some, however, that these eyewitness reports of the metaphysical are not proof for the existence of anything greater, but rather more evidence against any metaphysicalexistence in general. To better understand religious experience and religion as a whole oneshould examine the observers of religious experiences as well as the implications of discrepancies in experiences.First, is it possible to prove the existence of supreme beings through religious experiencealone? If the proof for religion is having a unique experience with a metaphysical being and a pure faith belief in that experience then there is no way to objectively test the existence of a god
.In fact Martin argues that the very fact that not everyone has had a religious experience and thatthose experiences cannot be tested is evidence that god(s) do not exist (Peterson, Hasker,Reichenbach, & Basinger, 2001, 52). Conversely others such as Westphal argue that anyexperience, believed to be one by the observer, is one depending on certain conditions (56).This begs the question then: what can we objectively test? The short answer available toscience now is the person. Whilst the experience of the divine (and ³what-have-yous´) isimmeasurable to human knowledge, a person is not. Thompson and Hugh said it best, ³Perceivedreality,
actual reality, is the key to understanding behavior. How we perceive others andourselves is at the root of our action and interactions«´ (2002) or rather what one believes istrue to them, no matter what evidence one can supply, is their truth. So to root out why different people report different experiences one should investigate how people construct their ideas, andsubsequently their beliefs.
Good work gentlemen, we can all go home happy that proof rests in the hands of god(s/what-have-yous).