This is a Philosophy essay that I wrote last night for work after half term (I'm getting ahead of the game :tongue: ) - Anyway - I just wondered what you all thought. Debate is the essential point, but no ''my religion is better than yours'', or ''Christians / atheists are all wrong'' etc, please! Anyway, here it is - 'tis quite short, but see what you think: Is it ever possible to talk meaningfully about God or religious experiences? I believe it is not an easy question to answer – one cannot define God Himself, or religion, so how therefore can one talk about a religious experience, or know what one truly is, without having just experienced it themselves – a tad like falling in love: it’s fine to think you know what it is, but nine times out of ten, when you finally feel it, it’ll be nothing like you imagined it to be. However, to even attempt to answer this question, one must have a go! What, though, is God? Is it, as the media and to an extent, our imaginations, has conjured up – a giant with a big long beard? Is it what Christians think of Him – as the one true creator of Earth, and all that’s on it? One could say yes, but who is to say they, or indeed anyone is correct? While we struggle with this thought, can we actually talk about God, yet alone meaningfully? Many would say no, we can’t. Is it merely as atheists believe – it is nothing, and is non-existent? If one takes the Christian belief, then it is effectively what a single person makes of him, for – even if you put two devout Christians together, then it is practically guaranteed that their views of what God is, are not going to be the same. Why? Because all religion is open to a degree of interpretation, even when reading from exactly the same text / religious scripture, because we’re not all robots – we have free will and individual thought processes. Surely, without any actual understanding of what God is – merely interpretation and assumption from scriptures that, while they’re very important, are thousands of years old, when values and ideals were a far cry from today’s ‘high’ standards of society – we cannot talk in any meaningful way about God – merely what we think He is; ‘think’ being the key word there. What, therefore, about religious experiences? If we cannot define God, how could we define religious experiences? As it happens, that conundrum is solved nicely for us: no-one can define an experience, as an experience is what we, ourselves have been through, no-one else. That said, just because it is not initially possible to define it, doesn’t mean we cannot attempt to. The small difference between God and a religious experience, despite the obvious creator vs. a mere experience, is that one can have an experience, so who can say that it cannot be talked in a meaningful way? There have been many books, debates and indeed, even a group at a research centre has been attempting to see if religious experiences are real or not; but, until every one of us has experienced one, who can say if they happen or not? No-one can. That said, the accounts of people who have experienced them, have been that they’ve improved their lives, made them live being more conscious of others, and a generally ‘better’ person than they were beforehand. We simply have to take their accounts at face value and accept them, until God appears before all our eyes, or science proves us right, or wrong. We are not to judge until that day. In conclusion, I believe that God cannot be talked about meaningfully, whereas religious experiences can be, as it is, for want of a better phrase, all in the mind.