Religious Language

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  • Religious Language
    • Verificationism
      • Vienna Circle
        • Influenced by Wittgenstein
          • Raised the question of the meaning of language.
        • During the 1920's and 1930's
          • People were then starting to criticize religion
        • Moritz Schlick
        • August Comte
        • God is the 'God of the gaps'
          • Science has answered questions we used to use God as an answer to
        • Known as logical positivists
      • If a statement is neither analytic nor empirically verifiable. It says nothing about reality and is therefor meaningless.
      • Ayer
        • Since the existence of God cannot be rationally demonstrated, it is not even probable.
        • Any statement that talks about God is meaningless
        • Talk of all types of religious language are meaningless
        • Meaningless is when a statement is not factually significant
        • Verifiability in Principle
          • Should be verifiable but we lack the ability e.g. 'there is life on other planets'
        • Strong and weak verification
          • Doesn't work
        • Directly verifiable
          • When you can observe something yourself
        • Indirectly verifiable
          • Someone else directly witnessed and passed it on
      • Swinburne
        • Whilst people generally accept ravens are black, there is no way we could ever confirm this statement
        • There can always be another black raven
      • Hick
        • Religious truth claims are verifiable because they are 'eschatologically verifiable'
        • We can know when we die
      • Statements regarding beauty cannot be verified as we all have different views on beuty
    • Falsificationism
      • Hare
        • Parable of the lunatic who believes all university dons want to kill him
          • All of the evidence is against him but he still believes.
        • Created the work 'blik
          • The lunatic has an insane blik
          • Everyone has a blik - some are sane some are insane
          • Bliks are not falsifiable
          • If religious beliefs are bliks they could be sane or insane
        • He is a lunatic because his views differ to everyone else.
      • Flew
        • Parable of two explorers in a jungle
        • The gardener is like God - no matter what evidence is put against him Christians hold their faith.
        • God died a 'death by a thousand qualifications'
        • Religious people alter their beliefs to avoid criticism
      • Mitchell
        • The partisan and the stranger
          • The partisan has faith in the stranger no matter what
          • The stranger knows best
        • When Christians say 'it is Gods will' they are not ignoring the bad things but they trust God
        • Religious statements are significant articles of faith
      • Popper
        • Came up with the falsification theory
        • Example of astronomy against astrology
          • Mystic astrologers are vague
          • Gravity can be falsified
    • The Language Games
      • Wittgenstein
        • "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain sitent"
          • We shouldn't talk about things we are unsure of
        • Wrote at the same time as the Vienna Circle
        • Language statements, including religious ones, are not intended to be true or false for everyone, but only for those who are within that form of life.
        • Came up with the language games
      • D.Z.Philips
        • Developed Wittgensteins approach
        • Religious statements cannot be understood in a literal way
      • Strengths
        • Enables different peoples beliefs to be meaningful
        • Truth is understood to be relative
      • Weaknesses
        • It alienates those outside of the game
        • Any statement can become meaningful
    • Via Negativa
      • Suggested that people can only talk about God in negative terms
      • God is above and beyond our understanding
      • Davies
        • Saying God is not a wombat doesn't help you to describe what God is
      • Pseudo - Dionysius
        • If we talk about God being good, we don't really know what it means
      • God cannot be described in the same way that you describe things
      • Maimonides
        • Supported via negitiva
        • We can know God exists but not know anything about God
      • You have to have a presupposed idea of God in mind
      • Saying 'God is not evil' is better than saying 'God is good'
    • Analogy
      • Aquinas
        • We should talk about God in terms of analogy
      • Univocal language - when a word has the same meaning wherever it is used.
        • Aquinas thought this was problematic as this limits God
      • Equivocal language - when a word is used in different ways depending on the context.
        • Aquinas thought this was meaningless
      • Analogy of attribution
        • Words may be applied to God and humans - e.g. 'just'
      • Analogy of proportionality
        • Words used of God are proportional to Gods extended rationality - e.g. good is better for God
    • Symbol
      • Paul Tillich
        • Religious language is symbolic, God cannot be known personally but symbols help.
      • Symbols can lose their meaning if societies change
      • They can be reinterpreted e.g the swastika was originally from Buddhism and Hinduism
    • Myth
      • A myth is not to be taken literally
      • Cosmogony - explanation of the origin of the universe
      • Aetiological myths - seek to explain the origins of the universe and its components
      • Sarah Tyler
        • Myth is a literary form
      • Bultman
        • Tried to demytholise the new testament to make it relevant
        • The resurrection of Jesus is a myth according to Bultman
  • The Language Games
    • Wittgenstein
      • "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain sitent"
        • We shouldn't talk about things we are unsure of
      • Wrote at the same time as the Vienna Circle
      • Language statements, including religious ones, are not intended to be true or false for everyone, but only for those who are within that form of life.
      • Came up with the language games
    • D.Z.Philips
      • Developed Wittgensteins approach
      • Religious statements cannot be understood in a literal way
    • Strengths
      • Enables different peoples beliefs to be meaningful
      • Truth is understood to be relative
    • Weaknesses
      • It alienates those outside of the game
      • Any statement can become meaningful

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