chapter  5
14 Pages

Boundaries Crossed and Uncrossable: Physical Science, Social Science, Theology

This chapter suggests that contemporary discussion in philosophy and theology alike skews the true nature of religious experience, but ironically from quite different directions. In philosophy not only is such a distinct category of experience accepted, but also strong evidential claims made, usually on the basis of some more narrow range within it. By contrast many contemporary theologians are to be found either undervaluing or else dismissing altogether the relevance of such a distinct category either as evidence or as integral to the construction of religious belief. Contemporary approaches within theology are quite different. Despite the trend set by Schleiermacher and continued in theologians of the calibre of Rahner and Tillich, much more common these days is a general suspicion of appeals to experience. Lash and Turner are of course right that stress on religious experience is modern, but that does not make the whole thing a modern invention.