Rudolf Otto, in the “The idea of the Holy”, describes religious experiences as numinous in nature with the presence of an awesome power but feeling detached from it. He continues on to say it’s a “mysterium tremendous et fasceninans” meaning, a terrible and compelling mystery. This spiritual aspect of religion is fundamental as Otto says, “there is no religion which it does not live as the innermost core”. Martin Buber disagrees as he forms a distinction between relationships, saying that some are “I - it” which are impersonal whilst others are “I - thou” which are personal. He states that a relationship with God is the “eternal thou”, meaning that he is contactable in a religious experience and this is linked with Swineburne’s idea of why a God would have a personal relationship with his creatures. Schleiemacher forms a middle ground by agreeing with the emotional point of Otto but seeing religious experience as a “feeling of absolute dependence” rather than numinous.
Hick defines a religious experience as being the “superimposed upon the natural significance of the situation” such as, if an army has good battle tactics then it is because God is on their side. God is seen as acting in history “heilsgeschichte” but obscurely, “Deus abseconditus” - as a hidden God as he reveals himself from an epistemic distance to not infringe on humans free will. He emphasises that the experience isn’t a series of spectacular events but rather it’s your perception that counts.
All in all, RE can be used to argue for the existence of God because Swineburne states that has been empirical evidence for God as someone who says they had a RE is telling the truth. This must mean that there is a God as he has shown his existence to at least 31% of Brits and 35% of Americans and many other people around the globe. This is followed up by James’ argument that RE can have long lasting impacts on people, suggesting that this could only be done with the power of God given the eternal thou relationship we have with God, that Buber says.