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The Evidential Force of Religious Experience$
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Caroline Franks Davis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198250012

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250012.001.0001

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Towards A Cumulative Case for Theism

Towards A Cumulative Case for Theism

(p.239) IX Towards A Cumulative Case for Theism
The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

Caroline Franks Davis

Oxford University Press

The previous chapters have shown that the conflicting claims challenge does not overcome many important types of experiential claim, that reductionist explanations of religious experiences and traditions are largely inapplicable or defective, and that theism is not improbable. When combined, these conclusions showed that religious experiences can survive the cumulative challenge. This chapter considers additional types of evidence that supplement the evidence of religious experience in three ways. Firstly, evidence and arguments which generally support theism will make it more difficult for the sceptic to maintain the charge that theism is clearly improbable. Secondly, a cumulative argument provides many evidentially weak experiences with a role in the case for theism. Thirdly, by drawing on diverse sources of evidence, a good case can often be made for highly ramified religious beliefs which do not depend on the evidence of religious experiences alone.

Keywords:   religious experiences, cumulative challenge, theism, evidence, religious beliefs

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