Signs and symbols

Religious language

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Becca
  • Created on: 19-04-10 10:52

Signs and symbols

Sign - something which points you in the right direction or indicates something.

Symbol - Something which not only points you in the direction of somewhere but also communicates a greater understanding of God.

Paul Tillich

Religious language is symbolic by which he meant that religious symbols communicate the most significant beliefs and values of human beings.

Symbols communicate something that is too diffucult to put in words. God is a ground being who is the basis of all that exists. For this reason the ground being must be the ultimate concern of people; material possesions and ideas cannot replace God.

The ground being cannot be comprehended or known is a personal way, but it is known through symbols.

1 of 2

Signs and symbols

Just as the meaning of a symbol orginates in a particular society, it can also lose meaning in a particular society.

He argued that you cannot destroy a symbol like dictators think.

Tilich noted that symbols do lose their meaning and can be misinterpreted.

Tillich suggested that symbols, unlike signs, particapate in the thing which they point to. The Cross is a symbolic of Jesus' death but it also partcipates in that event.

Tilich meant that the symbol somehow represents the event and gives it access to a deeper level of understanding.

2 of 2


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »