Hick: the basic idea religious differs from non- religious experience, not as the awareness of a different world, but as a different way of experiencing the same world. Events which can be experienced as having a purely natural significance are experienced by the religious mind as… mediating the presence and activity of God
Seeing-as Perception is not directly registering what exists Necker cube Seeing cloud as fish All seeing is seeing-as –You see a book as a book? –Perception involves recognition, bringing under a concept
Religious experience The religious person experiences human life and history as an encounter with God, as well as an encounter with the physical world and other people. It is an additional layer of experiencing-as. But does the analogy with seeing-as hold? Or is religious experience a projection of subjective values, not perception at all?
Hicks defence All perceptual involves interpretation, making sense, which often involves values, e.g. the practical value of a fork. We recognise situations, e.g. seeing someone needing help, as calling for response. Religious experience is recognising religious significance in objects and situations, e.g. natural beauty, that calls for response.
Objection Not all recognition is perceptual, e.g. we recognise the fork using vision. Is there a religious sense modality? We all perceive the world and in the same way, while religious experience is more selective and varied. If it was literally perception, it would be universal and common. So it is interpretation. Talk of seeingas (or experiencing-as) when this is not empirical perception is metaphorical.
Discussion Some literal perception is selective and varied, e.g. experts recognise birds or wine. We must first learn to recognise - so it is with recognising God in the world. What of different religious experts seeing different religious significance? Either some will be mistaken, or there are many ways to experience God.
Discussion Hick is not arguing for the existence of God; he is arguing that experiencing God in the world is not irrational. What someone who doesnt believe in God needs is not arguments, but a different perspective.