Symbolic language

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  • Symbolic Language Tillich
    • Tillich distinguished between a symbol and a sign, a sign signifies that to which it points by arbitrary convention, it is no more but factual for e.g. a red light signifies for a driver to come to a halt
      • a symbol however participates in that to which it points, it i non-cognitive and isn't arbitrary instituted for e.g. a flag participates in the dignity and power of  the nation and the cross of Christianity participates in Jesus' resurrection and salvation , sacrifice and hope
        • Schubert said that a symbol is 'a pattern or object that points to an invisible metaphysical reality in which it participates in'
    • symbolic language can include metaphors, myth,miracles,similes such as when Jesus says 'i am the light of the world'- it is a non-cognitive statement that points beyond itself
    • Tillich proposed 6 stages
      • the first being the difference between sign and symbol.
        • the second being that the symbol participates in that to which it points
          • thirdly the symbol opens up levels of reality that would be otherwise unknown to us e.g. understanding the use of water in a baptism, not literally washing the baby and sins coming off but being a symbolic ritual
            • he also suggests that symbols open up new dimensions of the soul
              • Symbols can either grow individually or in the collective unconscious
                • symbols also grow when the time is ripe and die when the situation changes such as the nail symbol.
    • etiological myths are symbolically true such as creation, noah ark, and virgin birth, extraordinary births became popular as a literary genre such as the birth of Buddha so some see the virgin birth of a way of making Jesus special and unique
    • tillich said  that symbol is the most adequate way to talk of faith as it isn't in isolation and are often found in myth
      • Keith ward said of symbols that they help human awareness in the dimensions of their experience, he said that God is that depth of mystery that is mediated in symbols and events in our lives


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