By T. R. Miles (auth.)
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The basic mistake is to suppose that the value of St Paul's life and work or the life and work of any other person whose religious experiences are on record - is in any way tied up with questions of 'supernatural causation'. New facts about a person's life may sometimes lead us to revise our assessment of that person; for instance, if we discovered that a religious teacher regularly suffered from a mental illness such as depression, this might in some cases lead us to look at his life and work in a new way and perhaps value it less.
Asks Invictus. According to the view which I am attacking, precisely the same kind of question can be asked about religious experiences. In some cases, perhaps, they are subjective and illusory, and to be accounted for by saying that the person is mentally disturbed, 29 while in other cases they are genuine. The two situations, however, are not as similar as they appear to be. There is a perfectly good use for the 'subjective'-'objective' dichotomy (or for the 'illusory'-'verdical' dichotomy) in the case of the fable of the top flat, since criteria are available for distinguishing the two.
There is a further use of the expression 'experiencing God' which requires mention. People sometimes say that they can experience God in the slums as well as in the countryside, or in a nuclear explosion as well as in a place of outstanding beauty. In this context, however, 'to experience God' seems to be an elli ptical way of saying 'to experience the presence of God'. lS There is no reference here to the 'material'-'non-material' dichotomy and no suggestion that in a literal sense a 'non-material' person was present.
Religious Experience by T. R. Miles (auth.)