Using analogy to understand God

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  • Created by: Abitracey
  • Created on: 17-02-13 11:15
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  • using analogy to understand God
    • Assessing analogy
      • The use of analogy assumes some similairty bewteen God and humans. However if God is ocmpletely different to humans then it is difficult to see how words can be used in a similar way.
      • Analogy seems to show that religious language is not absurd and can provide some understanding of God. It may avoid agnosticism and anthropomorphism.  Duns Scotus argued that analogy is too vague and leaves us unable to understand God and his actions.
      • Hick: analogy allows us to make statements about God yet stil preserve some sense of mystery. God's attituds and character are seen in the stories of Christ and this enables us to make statements about God.
    • What is analogy?
      • Analogies are something that we use frequently in everyday speech.
      • An analogy is describing something that is unfamiliar to us by making a comparison with something that we already know.
      • Why analogy?
        • Hence analogies are comparisons that atre helpful to a point. Religiously, analogies are the only option available given the difficulties of making univocal or equivocal statements about God.
    • Types of analogy
      • Aquinas used analogy in two different ways: 1- analogy of attribution 2-analogy of proportion
      • Thomas Aquinas argued that language cannot be used literally of God.
      • Analogy of attribution
        • The qualities that we ascribe to eachother are a reflection of the qualities of God.
        • Brian Davies uses the example of the baker and the bread.
        • Aquinas: if a bull's urine is healthy then they are healthy. Thier urine is a reflection of them.
        • Properties such as wisdom, love and goodness that we see in others are reflections of the properties of God.
        • Hence when we see these attributes in others, we are able to make analogies with the attributes of God.
      • Analogy of proportion
        • The type of properties that something has depends on the nature of the being that possesses the properties.
          • E.G. music ability- to say that your younger sister is a good guitarist means that she is good for her age.
        • When we use words to describe God, we are describing an infinite being.
          • When we use words of each other we are describing finite beings.
          • The meaning cannot be the same, it changes in proportion to the nature of the being that is described.
            • When we use words of each other we are describing finite beings.
        • John Hick: used the example of 'faithfulness'. We may describe a dog, human and God as faithful.


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