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Isn’t it an enormous burden to carry, in claiming that every single “perception of God” is untrue?

Many people believe they have had a direct experience of God. In other words they claim to “perceive” God. 

William Alston explains:

Perceiving X simply consists in X’s appearing to a subject S, for example, or being presented to one, as so-and-so. That’s all there is to it, as far as what perception is, in contrast to its causes and effects. Where X is an external physical object like a book, to perceive the book is just for the book to appear to one in a certain way.

– William Alston (2005). Religious experience as perception of God.

We usually take people’s direct experiences (or perceptions) at face value unless there is a good reason to think they are mistaken. What reason do we have to deny people’s direct experiences of God?


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