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RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE
Religious language is the communication of ideas about God, faith, belief and practice. The
problem with the communication of these ideas is that behind the words used are concepts.
Individuals have different understandings of the concepts and this might result in differences
of interpretation and meaning.



The problem…

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The verification principle

This theory was developed by the logical positivists.

The principle is stating that we know the meaning of a statement if we know the conditions
under which the statement is true or false.

The logical positivists regarded religious language as meaningless because it is used to
consider…

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THE FALSIFICATION PRINCIPLE

This is another response to the verification principle developed by Antony Flew in the 1950s.

Flew applied the falsification principle to religious language, and concluded that religious
statements are meaningless.

He argued that this was because there is nothing which can count against religious
statements.
Religious statements…

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This resulted in philosophers who did not accept the verification principle seeking to prove
that religious language does have meaning even if it cannot be verified or falsified.



RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE AS MEANINGFUL

Many philosophers argued that religious statements are NOT COGNITIVE and it is wrong to
treat them as such.…

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HICKS CHALLENGE TO THE VERIFICATION PRINCIPLE

Hick said that there are some propositions that cannot be verified by everyone, or to be
verified it is sometimes necessary to take action.

For example to verify a belief in life after death one first has to die. If there is life after…

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RELGIOUS RESPONSES TO THE VERIFICATION PRINCIPLE

A major criticism of the verification principle is that it is developed by non-believers, who
have failed to grasp the meaning and purpose of religious language for the believer. Often
the believer is trying to convey revelations which are ineffable and therefore are aware…

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IAN RAMSEY'S MODEL AND QUALIFIERS

Ian Ramsey developed the theory of analogy in the 20th century.

A model is an analogy to help us express something about God

For example, if we speak of `God as good', the model is the word `good'.

Ramsey states that if we want to…

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ARGUMENTS SUPPORTED RELIGIOUS LANGUGAE AS SYMBOLIC

J.R. Randall sees religious language as a human activity which makes a special
contribution to human culture. It is able to stir strong emotion and to bind
communities together through a common response to their faith.
Carl Gustav Jung argues that several basic ARCHETYPES…

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VIEWS OF THE USE OF RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE AS MYTH

Many philosophers have rejected the use of myth as meaningful because of the outdated
concepts that are often contained within them.

Scholars such as Rudolph Bultman argued that the language and imagery of the Gospel
accounts were outdated and it is…

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Non-believers might be able to understand religious language better than believer.
This is because non-believers have an objective view of the use of religious language.



RELIGIOUS LANGUGAE AS MORAL DISCOURSE

R.B. Braithwaite pointed out that the error of the verification and falsification principles has
been to treat religious language as…

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