Evaluation of Alston's View regarding Experience of God through Vision Based on Islamic Thought
Alston, the contemporary American philosopher of religion and epistemologist, has presented a theory of religious experience; in this theory he has validated a specific kind of experiential knowledge of God, called the mystical experience and experience of God in his words, which provides an epistemological base for justification and rationality of faith and believing in God. The experiential knowledge, in his words, means the knowledge created in the mind of the one who experiences knowledge of God without any sensuous intermediate; in other words the knowledge immediately received by feeling God’s presence. Presenting a brief report of his theory in this article, I have investigate the possibility, occurrence and limits of such a knowledge of God based on the discussions posed about the heartfelt vision of God in Islamic studies. Thus a comparative study between the Christian and Islamic theology will be presented. The main question of this article is the relation between experience of God (in Alston’s view) and vision of God (in the Islamic view). One of the results of this comparison is that experience of God, as posed by Alston, is a kind of achieved knowledge while the heartfelt vision of God is, at least in some cases, a direct knowledge of God.
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