'God Talk is Evidently Non-sense' Ayer Guide

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a) Clarify the argument and/or interpretation in the passage (30)
i. What is the context i.e. what is the article about overall? (1 paragraph)
ii. What is the content of the passage arguing? (3-4 paragraphs)
Discussing the problem of religious language when discussing God and His possible existence
Ayer says religious language is of no significance (nonsensical) because of the VP
Paragraph 1:
A being with the attributes of God cannot be proven to exist (non-animistic = external to the
world/universe; as in classical theism).
Not generally accepted that is not possible to prove that it is probable God exists because: If existence
were probable then `God exists' would be an empirical hypothesis; if it's an empirical hypothesis then if it
were combined with other empirical hypotheses we could deduce new things; but we can't do this, it is
therefore probable that we cannot prove God's existence.
Some argue that the regularity in nature constitutes sufficient evidence for God's existence.
But then to assert `God exists' is just to assert that there exists a regularity in nature and no religious
person would say that this is all they wish to assert when they said God exists; he is talking about a
transcendent being
But then God is a metaphysical term (concerned with abstract thought or subjects, as existence,
causality, or truth.)
But if it's metaphysical then it is not probable that God exists as if it's metaphysical then it cannot be true
or false.
And so, by the same criterion any sentence claiming to describe him cannot possess literal significance.
Paragraph 2:
Absurd to discuss God
The arguments of atheists and agnostics are also absurd because if it is nonsensical to talk of His
existence, it is also nonsensical to talk of His non-existence
Atheists ­ God doesn't exist
Agnostics ­ on the fence, existence is a possibility but there is no good reason to believe or not believe
Agnostics do not say whether the sentences `God exists' or `God does not exist' are true are false but
does say that we have no means to say which is true and which false.
But these sentences do not express propositions at all.
Paragraph 3:
In cases where deities are identified with natural objects e.g. Jehovah and thunder, assertions concerning
them may be significant.
In sophisticated religions the `person' who is supposed to control the natural processes of the world
exists outside of it.
He is superior to the natural empirical world.
He has super-empirical attributes.
The notion of a being that has non-empirical attributes is not an intelligible notion.
We may have a world which is used as if named this `person' but unless the sentences in which it occurs
express propositions which are empirically verifiable, it cannot be said to symbolise anything.
This is the case with a transcendent God.
Paragraph 4:
Only concerned with questions that arise out of our discussion of the possibility of religious knowledge
not those questions concerning continuance of religious belief or causes of religious feeling
Point we wish to establish is that there cannot be any transcendent truths of religion
The sentences the theist uses to express `truths' are not literally significant
Paragraph 5:
This conclusion accords with the view of theists that God is a mystery which transcends the human
If something transcends the human understanding it is unintelligible
What is unintelligible cannot be significantly described
God is not an object of reason but of faith
Nothing but an admission that the existence of God is based on trust, since it cannot be proved

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May also be an assertion that God is an object of purely mystical intuition and cannot therefore be
defined in terms which are intelligible to reason
If one allows that it is impossible to define God in intelligible terms then it is impossible for a sentence to
be both about God and significant
If a mystic agrees that the object of this vision is something that cannot be described then he must also
admit he is talking nonsense when he describes it
Paragraph 6:
Mystic…read more

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Agree that proving the existence of God is not probable as famous arguments (teleological, cosmological,
ontological and religious experience) fail in their goal to show God exists either necessarily or at least
that He probably exists
However disagree that the religious language should be counted as meaningless because of the VP
Therefore only agree with Ayer to an extent
Do not agree with VP because it is too strong ­ some historical and scientific propositions are accepted
even though according to the VP they are…read more


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