Alston Perceptual Model Of Religious Experience Summary

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1.6 Brief Descriptions of the Chapters
Chapter one is titled, “Alston’s Perceptual Model of Religious Experience: A Critical Analysis.” In this chapter Alston’s perceptual model of religious experience will be presented, analyzed and critiqued. Historically, studies on religious experiences consist in two main approaches. The first and most prominent is the rational approach to the study of religion and religious experience. This approach tries to establish the objectivity of religious beliefs from religious experiences. The second is to study religion and religious experiences from more subjective point of view. An historical survey would witness to both of these approaches. Alston attempts the possibility of a rational and objective justification of religious beliefs against the background of growing trends of materialism and superiority of scientific methodology. The central thesis of the book Perceiving God is expressed in the introduction where he writes,
The central thesis of this book is that experiential awareness of God, or as I shall be saying, the perception of God, makes an important contribution to the grounds of religious belief. More specifically, a person can become justified in holding certain kinds of beliefs about God by virtue
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Even though sense perception is plagued by ‘epistemic circularity,’ we do not doubt its reliability because it works as far as its practical advantages are concerned. The key point is the notion of socially established doxastic practice with two constitutive units. The basic unit is the one which helps us to access to some realm of reality and another unit of evaluation. Alston concludes that Christian Mystical Experience is a socially established doxastic practice which has its own basic and evaluative

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