33 Do religious experiences prove God’s existence?
This session seeks to make students aware of some of the more unusual types of religious experience and to evaluate whether such experiences can be considered evidence of God.
Explain that the Toronto Blessing is a worldwide movement within the Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches that began in 1994 in Toronto Airport Church. The unusual activity that took place there is said to reflect the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s love. The following video shows different experiences that people have when in contact with the Holy Spirit. Show students the clip on the Toronto Blessing: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P5B5Brz_lc
Now that students may have learnt about some of the more unusual forms of religious experience, ask them to think of other ways in which they know people have claimed to have experienced God.
Ask students to:
Introduce students to philosopher David Hume’s definition of a miracle: ‘Miracles are violations of the laws of nature’.
Ask whether they agree or disagree with this definition.
Show students the clip below of the magician Dynamo walking on water. The clip also has parts of the film Bruce Almighty that link in some way to the content. Explain that one of Jesus’ miracles was walking on water: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WyoenjZAZw
After watching this clip explain that this is a form of magical trickery. Ask students to reflect on and respond to the following questions:
In small groups ask students to role play a scenario between people who agree and disagree that religious experiences prove God’s existence.
Ask students to think of the all the arguments they can to represent the following views:
A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here
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