Open Access

The Believed as Believed: The Noematic Dimensions of Faith and Doubt in Religious Experience

   | Mar 07, 2023


Countless scholars have wrestled with the ambiguities and complexities in determining the role of the noema in Husserl’s theory of intentionality since his transcendental turn, and consequently converted what was intended to be a structural solution to a problem into a contested problem itself.1 Shifting emphasis from the ‘whatness’, or ontological concerns of the correlate noesis—noema to the ‘howness’, or methodological force of phenomenology, allows me to discuss two things. The first is theological. Before and since Janicaud’s pronouncement of the ‘theological turn’ in phenomenology, the intentionality thesis has been rejected as a means to account for certain experiences given differently to object-phenomena (Janicaud, 2000). In accounting for religious experience as a complex movement between faith and doubt, my work reaches not for the ‘essence of phenomenality’ (Marion), or a givenness beyond intuition made invisible, nor does it seek to describe a transcendence beyond immanence, or proof in the existence of a god/gods, rather it concerns itself with the processes and underlying structures of belief. Arguably by focusing upon the noetic and noematic structure of intentional acts, intentional analysis is revitalised for delineating the belief modalities of faith and doubt in religious experiences.