Mystical experiences attest to the presence of God

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Keywords: God, Mystical experiences[ edit ].


In particular:

  • Abrupt conversions
  • Unitive experiences
  • Visions of God


“Such was the unfortunate child who, on December 25, 1886, went to Notre-Dame de Paris to attend the Christmas services. I was just beginning to write at the time, and it seemed to me that in Catholic ceremonies, viewed with a superior dilettantism, I would find a suitable stimulant and the material for some decadent exercises. It was in this mood that, elbowed and jostled by the crowd, I attended high mass with only mediocre pleasure. Then, with nothing better to do, I returned to vespers. The children of the choir in their white robes and the students of the minor seminary of Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet who were assisting them, were singing what I later knew to be the Magnificat. I myself was standing in the crowd, near the second pillar at the entrance to the choir on the right-hand side of the sacristy. And it was then that the event that dominates my whole life took place. In an instant, my heart was touched and I believed. I believed, with such a force of adhesion, with such an upheaval of my whole being, with such a powerful conviction, with such a certainty leaving no room for any kind of doubt, that, since then, all the books, all the reasoning, all the hazards of a troubled life, have not been able to shake my faith, nor, to tell the truth, touch it. All of a sudden, I'd had the heartbreaking feeling of innocence, the eternal childhood of God, an ineffable revelation. Trying, as I often do, to reconstruct the minutes that followed this extraordinary moment, I find the following elements, which nevertheless formed a single flash, a single weapon, used by Divine Providence to reach and finally open the heart of a poor desperate child: "How happy are people who believe! But what if it were true? It is true! God exists, He's there. He's someone, a being as personal as I am! He loves me, He calls me." The tears and sobs had come, and the tender chanting of the Adeste added to my emotion.”

Paul Claudel, My conversion, 1913.



Arguments forJustifications

  • Argument forSudden conversions
  • Argument forUnitive experiments
  • Argument forGod's visions
  • Argument forVisions of the Virgin Mary or Christ
  • Argument forTrue mystical experiences are similar across cultures and social backgrounds.
  • Argument forMystical experiences touch an invisible reality; they are intersubjective and go beyond mere subjectivity.

Arguments againstObjections

  • Argument againstAlleged mystical experiences are made-up stories
  • Argument againstSo-called mystical experiences are subjective experiences that do not prove the existence of God.
  • Argument againstMystical experiences are due to psychic disorders.
  • Argument againstMystical experiences only happen to people with a religious culture
  • Argument againstMystical experiences attest to the existence of the unity of all things, not the God of religions.
  • Argument againstMystical experiences are misinterpretations of what we perceive.

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