Academic journal article International Journal of Islamic Thought

The Incompatibility of the Vision of God as a Basis of Factual Belief from Philosophical Perspective

Academic journal article International Journal of Islamic Thought

The Incompatibility of the Vision of God as a Basis of Factual Belief from Philosophical Perspective

Article excerpt

The first part of this writing span in general terms of what may be called the direct experience; vision of God. It takes into accounts the religious experiences that seem to indicate the feeling of the moment and then distinguishes between this direct perceiving of God and other kind of conscious experiences. The examples quoted in this part have been taken from various religions, mainly Christianity and Hinduism. Thereafter, in the second part of the writing, it tries to show how visions of God fail to provide evidence for religious claims. There will be four main reasons in arguing that this concept does not seem to be available to support any claim for the existence of God. The discussion will go on further to discuss the arguments that seem to give a cognitive status to the mystical experiences of God. However, the essay will finally conclude the discussion with the suggestion that the concept of vision of God lacks the consistency and predictability needed to form the basis of any factual belief at all.

The Concept of Vision of God

Religious experience is an umbrella term covering many different types of experience - charismatic phenomena, numinous feeling, possession, conversion experience, mystical involved in this discussion. The word vision means a mental picture of a possible situation now. It is also a mental picture which you have as a result of divine inspiration, madness, or taking drugs (Cobuild 1989: 1627). In line with the above meaning, vision is one of the five main sensations - sight, hear, smell, taste and touch. All these kind of physical sensations, along with the intellectual processing (reasoning), are the fundamental characteristics or elements of the cognitive aspects of our ordinary consciousness. Vision, however, in this context does not merely involve empirical objects which can be perceived by our sensory - kinds of objects are those divine being which could not be seen by our eyes as they are nonphysical. Because of the characteristic and they are seldom occur in our life, this kind of vision is totally different from that we normally experience.

Let us first consider the claims that the theologians have made. Some of their experiences are usually described as follows: "I have direct experience of God", "I saw a vision of Archangel Gabriel", "I seem to see the Blessed Virgin Mary", and 'I saw Christ at my side". These assertions are found among Christians and we will discuss later the visions of other religions. We should compare these assertions with the statement of seeing worldly objects, such as: "I saw a black horse", "I seem to see a red tomato", and "I see a car in front of the house". Firstly, we will start by examining the last three examples of the physical objects perceived by our ordinary visions. We can touch the black horse, taste the tomato and listen to the car engine. We can examine these objects with certainty by other physical sensations. On the whole, our sense experiences typically involve the conviction that the object on which the experience is focused and 'is really there', that it exists and that one 'experimentally' apprehends it. This conviction is not an interpretation which is placed upon the experience, but a part of the experience itself.

Obviously, as mentioned above, vision or perception requires a real object. Perception could be analyzed into a conscious experience (CE) of a perceiver (P), the object (O) perceived, and a relation (R) between the object and the perception. R is a causal relation. O causes CE or is an indispensable part of the cause (Matson 1965: 12-13). If the perceiver is prevented from perceiving any objects, for examples, the eyes are closed, or he is a blind man, no relations occur, and he perceives nothing, even if there happens to be an object in front of him. We can say that his claim of experiencing the objects is only an imagination or hallucination. The case is different when we look at the vision of God, of the Virgin Mary, and of the Archangel Gabriel. …

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