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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The phenomenon of religious experience is widespread. People of many different faiths have what they believe to be encounters with the divine. About the pervasiveness of religious experience, there can be no doubt. What is controversial is the epistemic significance of these purported encounters. Sceptics claim that there is no reason to think such experience is veridical, and so it can offer no justification for the religious beliefs that are grounded in it. However, there are others who note important parallels between the experience we have through our five senses and the experience some religious believers report having of God. This chapter will discuss the work of philosopher William P. Alston on the epistemology of theology. Alston argues that there can be literal perception of God and that such perception adds to the rational credibility of faith in God.

Keywords: religious experience, perception, epistemic justification, Alston, pluralism, doxastic practice

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