Religious language

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The problem of religious language

  • How meaningful is religious language?
  • Can we ever talk about God in a meaningful way?
  • Some philosophers argue that religious language is used in a different way to normal language despite the same vocabulary being used.
  • Some assert that it is cognitive and therefore something about God must be known.
  • Some see that we anthropomorphize God in a way to allow our human brains to comprehend something about God and his nature.

The logical positives

  • They were a group of philosophers in the 1920's
  • They did NOT seek to understand how we gain knowledge of the external world, rather how we use knowledge as a means to convey this knowledge.
  • ONLY THOES THINGS THAT CAN BE EMPIRICALLY VERIFIED CAN HAVE MEANINGFULLNESS.

They only accepted two types of verifiable language

1) A priori- knowledge is gained through reasoning

2) A posterior- Knowledge can be proved true or false through experience.

To support their claims the logical positivists created the VERIFICATION PRINCIPLE-

  • The meaning of a statement lies in the method of verification- any statement that can not be verified even if only in theory is meaningless.
  • This then saw the LP regarding religious language as meaningless because it is used to consider things beyond human experience and therefore can not be verified.

PROBLEMS THE VERIFICATION PRINCIPLE SEES IN RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE-

1) A discussion relating to God has no common ground

2)Religious language is NOT univocal( straightforward and clear to understand) and therefore meaning an assertion is unclear.

3) Religious language is equivocal (unclear and ambiguous) because it is talking about infinite existence.

4)It resaults in different results and different interpritations in the words used

DEVELOPMENTS BY AYRE-

Ayre belonged to the logical

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