C.D Broad: The Argument from Religious Experience
•Analogy of music and religious experience.
1. Like having an ear for music.
2. Everyone has an ear for music, but some people are experts and others are tone-
A. Tone-deaf: people who have no experience.
B. Regular listeners: the everyday person who practices religion
C. Experts (musicians, ect): Highly religious (priests, nuns, ect)
3. You need some experience to judge credibly.
1. People judge the validity of religious experiences
2. Claims about reality
He tries to articulate a general theory of religion. Having an experience about religion that was
very meaningful doesn’t mean that that individual is able to communicate it well. Various factors
can prevent communication: maybe the individual isn’t a good writer or physical limitations
prevent communications. Vice versus: some individuals may be amazing communicators, but
have not had the experience to communicate.
1. Beliefs affect experience and experiences affect beliefs
2. Some experiences happen across traditions- Why?
A. People are in contact with something really real outside of themselves
B. They could be delusional.
Biologists/microscopes: maybe you’re just seeing fuzzy shapes, maybe
the shapes don’t have meaning. Perhaps we need training to understand
what is in the microscope, just like people might need training to
understand religious experiences. Maybe some religious people are able to
see things a non-religious person can’t because they have the
Drunk people seeing rats: Really drunk people can hallucinate things. We
have ways to test and verify whether the hallucination is true. There is a
lack of standards to verify whether a religious experience is true.
Blind people: a few individuals out of a group of blind people are now
able to see. Their eyes are open, but their experience is now vastly