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Philosophy of Religion Revision

Religious Language
What's the problem?
If we are to believe in God or some other aspect of religion, we must be able to talk about it
in a meaningful way. If talk of God is nonsense then the idea of God is nonsense
The divine is…

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· John Hick has criticised Ayer, suggesting that talk of God might be verifiable in principle.
Convincing evidence is not apparent now, but it could be in the future; the whole idea of final
judgement implies that God will be seen and known.
· Richard Swinburne argues that there are…

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The parable of the stranger might work if someone has had a dramatic, personal encounter
with God which forms the basis of your faith but most people have not.
It is a weak defence of the problem of evil. The parable talks of a stranger who is a man not…

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Argued that humans can know that God exists but not know anything about God, because he
is not like humans.
Suggested that this way of talking about God is found in Jewish scriptures where God states
`I am who I am'- beyond description
Strengths
Prevents anthropomorphic statements being made about…

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William Alston objected that symbolism means that there is no point trying to determine
whether a statement is true or false. Since symbols are not literally true they can have no
meaningful impact
People interpret symbols differently and symbols meanings change over time, they cannot
be used to communicate any…

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His demythology goes too far and strips essential meaning from scripture.
Modernity and scientific viewpoints are not fixed they are continually changing; this would
require us to continually reinterpret the Bible.
The very fact of reinterpretation suggests that there is an unchanging body of facts to be
understood.
Bultmann answered…

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Principle of testimony
`(In the absence of special considerations) the experiences of others are (probably) as they
report them.'
William James
James suggested that religious experiences were events which were `solitary' and in which
individuals experienced the divine or God.
The religious tradition to which the person belongs (if any)…

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The Toronto blessing is an example
Often includes ecstatic worship- falling, laughing, shaking and crying etc.
Mysticism
The knowledge of and experience of state of consciousness or levels of being or aspects of
reality beyond normal human perception, including experience of or communication with God
or a supreme being.
Conversion…

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Religion results. A reversion to childish patterns of thought in response to feelings of
helplessness and guilt. We feel in need of security and forgiveness- God
Problems with Freud
Based only on hypothesis
Just because God is a security blanket, it doesn't mean he doesn't exist
Durkheim
Stressed the importance…

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Hume
Hume rejects belief in miracles on the basis of our knowledge and experience
By definition, a miracle goes against human experience about how the world works.
Therefore, on the basis of experience, the probability that a miracle has occurred is less than
the probability that it hasn't. Because it…

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