Explain the inherent problems of religious language

  • Created by: maria_xo
  • Created on: 12-04-18 20:01
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  • Explain the inherent problems of religious language
    • Abstract
      • Doesn't represent an object or item in the empirical world
        • Do not equate to any physical object or item
      • E.g. 'Love' 'Justice'
        • simply an idea of a type of thing rather than a thing in itself
        • no spacial existence - not concrete
    • Describing the metaphysical
      • Describes ideas beyond the natural, physical world
    • Uses religious specific terminology
      • e.g. 'apostolic' 'holiness' 'spirituality
        • ideas specific to religion and are not used in any other context
      • difficult for those outside religion to understand
        • Doesn't translate to anything outside of that religion
        • Religious believers may not be able to communicate anything about their religion to a non believer
      • Philosophicly impossible to analyse meaning of these words.
    • Not possible to test or experience assertions being made
      • Not open to universal experience
        • What does it mean to say that an immortal, incorporeal being exists?
        • Such language cannot equate to an objective experience
      • Not verifiable using empirical evidence or falsifiable
        • If it is impossible to prove or disprove then it's meaningless
    • Religious language has no meaning
      • language has evolved to meet our empirical needs
      • religious language is not an adequate tool for use in describing anything that is not concerned with the empirical world
        • We are part of the empirical world so it doesn't make sense to talk about anything else
    • Ambiguous function
      • appears as though it is trying to convey facts
        • religious language does not stand up to the tests or fit the criteria of being 'factual'
      • Religious believers tend to qualify their statements by the addition of other words to show that their claims are slightly different
        • E.g. God is loving 
          • However one could talk about the problem of evil and say that this fact isn’t evident in the physical world.
            • The believer might then qualify their statement and say that God’s love is so great that it transcends our understandig.     
              • At this point the statement ‘God is loving’ lacks meaning because it doesn’t seem to be making a factual statement
              • known as 'death by 1000 qualifications' - Flew
    • Meaning is very subjective
      • Whether or not the statement is true depends on your own emotions / experience in a period of time
      • The statement loses meaning
        • truth is no longer seen as objective or accurate but more of an attitude


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