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Religious Language

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Jon B

on 6 September 2013

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Transcript of Religious Language

Religious Language
Is it possible to talk meaningfully about God?
'God is a rock'
'Jesus is the Son of God'

'Jesus sits at the right hand of the father'
'In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.'
Is it possible to talk meaningfully about anything?
What is needed to establish the truth of a statement?
Analytic Statements (a priori)
2 + 2 += 4
All bachelors are unmarried men
Synthetic Statements (a posteriori)
Water boils at 100 degrees
The headmaster has size 10 feet
In what way are religious statements meaningful?
Can be tested through reason for their coherence
Can be tested through experience - empirically
Are they analytic, synthetic, or neither?
Is Religious Language like this:
The Vienna Circle
Influenced by the early ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein
Theological ways of talking about reality are outdated - empirical evidence is the key to understanding what is meaningful.
A J Ayer
Logical Positivism
Verification Principle:
If a statement is neither analytic nor empirically verificable, it says nothing about reality and is therefore meaningless
This rules out any talk about God
Strong Verification: Conclusively ascertainable – you must be able to know for sure by means of experience.
Where does this leave scientific statements? Historical? Religious?
Weak Verification: Verification is theoretically possible, but not always practical.
John Hick
Claimed that religious truth claims are in theory verifiable - Eschatalogical Verification
Different types of verification
Does the statement pass its own test?
Is it possible to verify the verification principle?
The Falsification Principle
Antony Flew
'Theology and Falsification'
John Wisdom's Parable of the Gardener
"If a statement is to have any meaning it has to be, in principle, falsifiable. Religious statements do not allow any fact to count against them - they die 'a death by a thousand qualifications.'"
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