Religious Language

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  • Religious Language
    • Types
      • Cognitive
        • Cognitive language makes factual assertions that can be proved true/ false, or are treated as if they can be proved true or false — e.g., God exists, God loves us.
      • Non-cognitive
        • Non-cognitive language makes claims/observations that are to be interpreted in some other way e.g. as symbols
    • Challenges
      • Verification
        • 1920's Vienna Circle
        • Only accept analytic and synthetic language
          • RL propositions cannot be verified through senses/scientific experiment= meaningless
        • Doens't have to be true to have meaning
        • Ayer- strong and weak verification
      • Falsification
        • Anthony Flew- 1950s
          • Karl Popper
        • Meaningfulness of a statement lies in its method of falsification
        • RL meaningless bc cannot be falsified
        • The Parable of the Gardener
    • Responses to challenges
      • Hick's eschatological verification
        • Christian POV
        • RL is cognitive (meaningful)
        • Parable of Celestial City
      • Hare's Bliks
        • response to FP
        • RL is non-cog but still meaningful
        • RL is not falsifiable bc we all have bliks
        • Parable of the Lunatic
      • Wittgenstein's language games
        • RL is non-cog but it's still meaningful
        • cricket game- 'bowling a maiden over'
    • Views of RL
      • Analogical- Aquinas
        • Analogy of proportionality - the view that all good qualities belong infinitely to God and, in proportion, to humans too.
        • Analogy of attribution - the view that God is the cause of all good things in humans is God.
        • Everyday language to talk about G is inadequate
        • Aquinas rejects the use of univocal and eqivocal language to talk about God
        • Analogy can be used to describe God because he is revealed through Creation meaning there is some point of comparison between God and the world.
      • Via Negativa
        • St John + St Augustine
          • Instead of saying what G is we should say what G is not
          • Language used to describe G is inadequate bc he is ineffable and indescribable
      • Symbolic- Tillich
        • a symbol "opens up levels of reality which are otherwise hidden and cannot be grasped any other way"
        • Meaningful bc through metaphors+symbols we're helped to understand G
        • Through RL we can communicate religious ideas
          • Can only talk about G through symbolism
        • RL is more like poetry

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