Mysticism, science and the Understanding of religious doctrines
It is recognised that religion plays an important role in individual and societal life. On the one hand, the advent of science and rationalism heralded a sustained critique on the basis on which religious beliefs are ordinarily held. On the other, and as a means of countering this, attempts were made to seek a dialogue between religion and science. This was done in the hope that it would give credence and objectivity to religious doctrines. However, whilst religion and science can be related to one another as complementary, though different forms of human discourse, any close and direct association between them is misplaced and undesirable. Consequently, religion, as far as it is valid, ought to be able to provide its own reasons in support of this. However, in academic and intellectual circles, focus has been on the traditionaI conceptions of r religion, mostly, whilst ignoring its mystical dimensions. Consequently, this work has focused on mysticism, as an alternative conception to religion as faith. It has been argued that mysticism offers convincing logical, methodological, and experiential evidence to support its claims, particularly those that pertain to the ultimate reality or God. The inference from mystical experience to such a being rests on reasonable criteria, contrary to what has been argued about the usefulness of such experiences. The study notes that religious doctrines should not be exempt from validating criteria lest their adoption be reduced to mere sentimentalism. Science has a role to play in this lest their adoption be reduced to mere sentimentalism. Science has a role to play in this respect, but it should not illicitly be used as the criteria by which religion is to be validated. Philosophy and rationalism also have a unique role to play in this. Any genuine assertion, religious or otherwise, ought to be consistent with reason. Both science and philosophy should act as checks and balances, as complementaries not the bases upon which religious claims are to be solely grounded.