Visions Are Not Caused by God but Can Be Explained Through Science. Discuss. (35 Marks)

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“Visions and voices are not caused by God but can be explained through science” Discuss. (35) A vision can be termed as an experience of seeing something or someone in a trance like state or as a supernatural apparition. When complimented by voices from religious figures it can be said to evoke an even deeper religious experience for believers. However, there exists much debate on what the catalyst is for these experiences; some would argue for God attempting to communicate through his creation, whereas others believe the answer lies in science. A vision and auditory related religious experience can occur in a person consciously or unconsciously. In the case of St Teresa of Avila she claimed to have experienced intellectual visions of Christ which are seen with the mind as opposed to the eyes. She described how she could not discern the ‘form’ of the vision but she was aware Jesus was there. According to Richard Swinburne, St. Theresa had a private religious experience of which she was able to explain using normal language to communicate Christ’s presence due to the ineffable nature of the experience. Swinburne would argue that St. Theresa’s character would not lie about a supposed religious experience due to her deep faith in God and morals suggesting that her visions must have been from an external agent. On the other hand, it could be heavily argued that scientific advances could prove otherwise and expose the visions of Christ as an act of the mind ‘playing tricks’. Science has shown that the temporal lobe when stimulated through seizures can produce an altered perception such as religious experiences of this variety. St. Theresa had these visions in the 1500’s when science was in its earliest stages and religion was an answer for everything; these factors appear to support Richard Swinburne’s defence of certain types of characters not lying in support of
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