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Religious Language
Analogy, Language Games Myths & Symbols
Verification, Falsification, Via Negativa…read more

Slide 2

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Verification Principle: A.J.Ayer
Stemmed from the logical positivist, also known as the Vienna Circle
They applied the knowledge of science and mathematics to language
Statements must be analytic, mathematical or synthetic to be meaningful
Concluded that religious statements are meaningless
They cannot be tested by empirical means
Weak Verification If the statement has been observed it is meaningful
Strong Verification Verified conclusively using empirical evidence
Practical Verifiability Statements that can be tested in reality
Verifiability in principle Statements that can be verified but lack the means e.g.
life on other planets…read more

Slide 3

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Evaluation of V.P
Does not allow for historical/scientific statements to be meaningful A02: Weak
Hick: Eschatological verification
The principle itself is not analytically true
Ethical and moral statements are meaningless e.g. `Do not murder'
Irrelevant and future claims are meaningful e.g. It will be snowing on this day in 1,000
Keith Ward: "If I was God, I could prove my own existence"…read more

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Language Games: Ludwig Wittgenstein
"Whereof one cannot speak, one must remain silent"
Believed that works enable us to paint a picture by facts
Misunderstandings arise when we don't worm out the right game
Communication is about swapping pictures with each other
D.Z.Phillips later applied this to religious language
Felicity McCulcheon: Draws on the parallels between games and language. Games are
about participation and following the rule, in order to participate you must know the
rules…read more

Slide 5

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Evaluation of L.G
Claims can't be tested A02: Must be within the game
Religious knowledge alienates those outside the game
Rules can't change to let other inside which can lead to hostility
Some words have different meanings A02: Must work out the game to understand the
meaning o a word
Highlights the non-cognitive nature of religious language
Distinguished it from other type of language
Can be applied to everyday life
Removes the link between claims made with language and empirical evidence…read more

Slide 6

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Analogy: Thomas Aquinas
Describes something which is unfamiliar to us by making a comparison
Analogy of attribution A term is applied to God and is a reflection of him e.g.
wisdom is a reflection of God's wisdom
Analogy of proportion Humans are in proportion to God, we have the human
insight of his power.
Ian Ramsey
Developed the idea of models and qualifiers
To understand God, we need to adapt the model
Model helps to express something about God e.g. God is good
Qualify Adapting a model to suit God e.g. God is infinitely good…read more

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