Inquiries1 about religious experience come in two kinds: a priori examinations about what can possibly be true about religious experiences, and phenomenological studies, which seek to describe and catalogue the experiences. This inquiry is of the latter type, which is already well represented by many excellent works.2 The purpose of this essay is not to attempt to add anything which those others have missed, but rather to take on a minor task which they never intended to undertake, but one that they should have undertaken; that is, to understand religious experience first of all as an epistemic event, and only then to draw metaphysical conclusions from it. For this purpose, the most important facet of religious experience is not the feelings aroused, the psychological state of the subject, or what they came to believe. The most important thing about religious experience is that its subjects do come to believe things, and moreover, that they believe it is a source of knowledge. Not only do people come to believe things because of their religious experiences, but they sometimes behave as if the beliefs acquired this way were more certain than any other opinions. The faithful often compare religious experience to sensory experience and attribute the same degree of certainty to it. That it has become the basis of an argument for the existence of God which has had avid defenders shows the great importance it has taken on. It is certainly in order to study religious experience as a psychological event, and a priori discussions are also legitimate pursuits, but that religious experience is thought by its subjects to be an avenue of knowledge demands that we should also examine it in that light. Whenever events or processes work to form people's opinions, whether the method or process is magic, science, or sense -perception, that method of forming opinions should be subject to epistemological analysis. We should be examining what happens to the belief system of a person who has a religious experience. Religious experiences fall neatly into two categories. The first is well represented by Arjuna and Saul of Tarsus: these experiences are those that come unannounced and unexpected. Let us call them 'type A'. The second type is that which is represented by Buddha's arrival at enlightenment: they come only to those who seek them, and as the result of some technique or discipline. Let us call them 'type B'.

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