A term that shows up often in discussions about religious experience is veridical. googling “define veridical” results in: “truthful” and “coinciding with reality”, which matches with my understanding of the word. For example, if Jesus truly was resurrected in reality then the experience of the disciples seeing him would be called veridical (and actually it would be considered veridical if he was bodily or spiritually resurrected as long as one of those things truly happened). Another example: if a Muslim claims that Allah spoke to them, and in reality Allah exists (either naturally or supernaturally) and did truly speak to them then it would be called a veridical experience.
This is my understanding of the word. If anyone knows better please let me know.
Relating this back to my previous 2 posts, I want to clarify that I was not making a statement about whether or not these heartfelt feelings are veridical. It is certainly possible that any and even all of these heartfelt experiences are veridcal. While I don’t believe contradictory conclusions from these experiences could all be correct (remember my foundational belief in deductive reasoning or logic), it could still be true that some of the conclusions spreading across all the different religious experiences could have a basis in real experiences with the hidden realm.
But of course if you have been reading my other posts you know that I do admit to leaning toward naturalistic conclusions but nowhere near the certainty of a lot of my other beliefs about reality. It’s hard to put a percent on it but maybe in the 50’s if it helps clarify my stance. So my hunch is that these experiences are not veridical. But again this is not the conclusion that I am stating with any high level of certainty and I just want to make it clear that that is not at all what I was trying to state in my previous posts.
The point I want to make very clear is that I do not believe the method of putting our heartfelt feelings above evidence is the proper way to find out what is objectively true. While one could certainly get lucky and get things right that way, given that there are so many people who express these kinds of heartfelt convictions that contradict each other it is clear that many (and possibly all) of these people are wrong about at least parts of their conclusions. The law of non-contradiction forces us to that conclusion. Now you could certainly try and believe that there aren’t really that many people of other religions who express this kind of feeling. Or maybe you believe that even if they do it isn’t quite the same as your feeling. But I’ve both talked to and seen enough people of several different persuasions talk about their experiences so that I can no longer be honest with myself and use those kinds of justifications.
In my next post I’ll give a few examples of the people I have spoken with in different religions.