Essay mark scheme – corporate religious experience

“Corporate religious experiences prove the existence of God.”  Discuss

Januaury 2012 Q2 OCR A2

Candidates may begin by defining what might be meant by a “corporate religious experience”, though others may begin with a more general account of what religious experience might be.

Whichever route the candidates choose they should focus their response towards the extent to which this one type of religious experience does or does not lead to a proof of God’s existence.
There is no need for candidates to list all the kinds of religious experience which may be considered to be “corporate”, nor should examiners limit credit to those mentioned in the old specification.
Everything from Evensong through the sacraments to the Toronto Blessing is available for discussion.
Some candidates may use the writings of William James or Richard Swinburne to explore the validity of these experiences and to explain what may or may allow an experience to be called “religious”.


In evaluating this issue, candidates may assess the strength of the arguments put forward by the classical writers mentioned above or others whom they have studied.

In contrast, those who wish to argue against corporate religious experience being a reality may make use of the writings of writers such as Marx, Freud or Dawkins; taking a sociological, psychological or reductionist scientific approach to their explorations of the issues.

While personal beliefs are likely to be expressed by some candidates, it is important that credit is given through the levels of response to the views which candidates are able to justify and not to arguments by assertion.

{35 marks}







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