How do you determine if a religious experience is real?

If you are experiencing something, you can't be objective.

If you are experiencing deity (Christian, Wiccan, whatever), how can you know that what you are experiencing is truly spiritual, and not psychological?

If one says simply "I know", then the same mind that had the experience is that doing the judgement. There can be no legitimate confirmation. Expecting a feeling often causes that feeling to occur.

Can one simply accept that religious experiences are purely subjective? Is it right to say that one has "proof" when subjective analysis is the only means of quantification?

What level of proof is required to make something real?

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Tricky one isn't it? It doesn't have to be a deity...

    What seems like "in love" to the afflicted can look like an obsessive and irrational illness to the external observer.

    Have you read C S Lewis: "Meditation in a toolshed"?

    It's available as an Adobe PDF at the URL below.

    A high degree of relevance to your question.

    My greatest subjective certainty turned out to be objectively mistaken. I'm not good at trusting by experience, sensation, since then. Boy was I sure.

    But the opposite holds almost as well: why discount something just because one is experiencing it?

    It's a real *something*. It may be a real bit of quirky brain chemistry, but is that a given or just a possibility?

  • 1 decade ago

    The religious experience can be created in a lab with certain machines that stimulate the brain. I saw that on TV, so it must be true. G-force tests conducted by the USAF seem to support a physical cause in the brain for near death experiences. The laboratory test and anecdotal reports from experienced and prospective pilots imply a number of similarities in the diversity of the RE and NDE.

    Obviously, then, they are real.

    Some questions: What are they for? Why do some people have them while, under similar situations, some people do not have them? What do the similarities mean? Why are they different for each person?

  • Magus
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    How do you know if any experience is real? Just think about it. Everything happening around you could be in your head. Or it could even be in someone else's head.

    All of life is subjective because our senses are not perfect. Ever see something that looks like a person. I am sure you have on TV, but in our reality its just a bunch of pixels or colors arranged in a way that our mind interprets as a person/place or thing. Our senses make us subjective by nature. In essence our senses are the barrier that makes us not know for sure if things are real, and the only things we have.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Let me put it this way when you are born again you don't force yourself to want to do those things which please God. You just want to. You are the new creature from within. You want to go to church to praise God, hear His word, and fellowship with other believers. You meditate and study the Bible. You tithe and give to spread the gospel because you love God. Of course it doesn't all come at once and at times you still sin. But you do not practice sinning. Anyone who just keeps on sinning and doesn't care probably isn't a Christian. A religious experience doesn't just stop with being an experience. That's where I think many people are fooled. They think they have been saved but without any changes in the heart there has been no salvation. A real conversion is a new creature in Christ Jesus.



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  • 1 decade ago

    Because the only religious Truth is a subjective one. (I can't believe how many times I've said that today!)

    I don't think there is any difference between a spiritual or psychological experience of diety. It's all the same.

    When it come's to spiritual matters, the subjective analysis is the only means of verification.

  • 1 decade ago

    Very good question. This is one of the major reasons why I think agnosticism is the only honest point of view when it comes to religious/spiritual beliefs. Every other belief system (yes, even atheism) makes huge subjective assumptions about many things.

  • Sunman
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    If you are experiencing something, you can still be objective, but you cannot 'surrender' completely to the experience and remain objective. Why would you want to? If you are experiencing deity, it will be perceptual, physical, eventful, inspirational, psychological, spiritual, and emotional, to name a few. The experience IS the proof.-----if you are trying to determine if someones else's experience is real, listen to their description. If you have been where few have gone, no one who claims to have been there can lie to you about it.

  • 1 decade ago

    You mean like Emily Rose? lol

    I don't know, I guess check to see if your psyychotic first??

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because the experience is "beyond" the mind.

  • 1 decade ago

    open your eyes and stop taking the medication... lol

    good question

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