Friday, January 02, 2009

A Critique of the Argument from Religious Experience

“You don’t believe in me”, observed the ghost.

“I don’t”, said Scrooge.

“Why do you doubt your senses?”“

Because”, said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheat. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato…”

From ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I have disorders of the stomach quite often. In the morning. That's when I doubt christianity the most. When my stomach is alright, I reflect on my argumentation and find my doubts superficial.
But right now, I have a slight disorder of the stomach. Should I doubt the existence of a blogger named Victor, someone I have never met?

Anonymous said...

You missed out the best line: "There's more of gravy than of grave about you!"

Ilíon said...

Oddly enough -- and while it is true that our senses can deceive us (or, to be more precise, we can misunderstand and/or misinterpret the deliverances of our senses) -- we never see those who argue against Christianity, or “religion” in general, in this Scroogian manner applying the same principle to, say, “science” in general.

Ah, it’s not so odd after all; for this particular line of argumentation was never offered as other than an “unprincipled exception” to the “rule” of empiricism.