Why is it difficult to talk about God?
The Epistemic Distance separates us and God because God is wholly different.
God is outside our frame of reference. For example, we are imminent whilst God is transcendent.
There is nothing to say about God.
God won't let us talk about him.
What is a key question to ask when studying the topic of Religious Language?
Is God really able to talk?
Can religious language ever be meaningful?
Can religious language help our lives>
Is God real?
Flew developed the Verification Principle.
In order for a statement to be meaningful, what criteria does it have to meet?
A statement must be analytic (true by definition) and thus contain their own verification.
A statement must be mathematical.
A statement must be subjective and thus can be interpreted by individuals.
A statement must be synthetic and thus it can be subjected to empirical testing.
A statement must be theoretical and untested.
What was Ayer's book (1936) called?
Language, Truth and Logic
Language, Logic and Truth
Truth, Language and Logic
Truth, Logic and Language
Logic, Truth and Language
Logic, Language and Truth
How does the Verification Principle and Ayer's views effect religious language?
Statements about God and religion are rendered meaningless because they cannot be analytically true or empirically tested.
Statements about God and religion are meaningful because they can be analytically true or empirically tested.
Statements about God and religion are rendered meaningless because they cannot be empirically tested but they can be analytically true.
Statements about God and religion are meaningful because they can be analytically true but not empirically tested.
Ayer believes that since the concept of God is nonsensical that any talk about God, whether as a theist, agnostic or atheist, is meaningless.
How does the verification principle and Ayer's views impact language in general?
Any opinion or emotions is invalid and meaningless. For example, an expression of love would be meaningless.
Any opinion or emotions is valid and meaningful. For example, an expression of love would be meaningful.
Science cannot be 100% true even if it can be empirically verified.
Historical statements and events cannot be verified by sense experience so become invalid.
Science dominates our world since it can be absolutely verified.
The weak form of the Verification Principle argues that if it is possible to know what would, in principle, verify a statement, then it is meaningful. This allows for historical and scientific statements to be accepted but not religious language or ethical language.
What does Flew and the Falsification Principle say about religious language?
Statements about God and religion are only meaningful if they can be falsified.
Statements about God and religion are only meaningful if they can be verified.
Statements about God and religion are only meaningful if they cannot be falsified.
Statements about God and religion are only meaningful if they cannot be verified.
Why does Flew uses Wisdom's Parable of the Gardener?
To demonstrate how religious believers are never going to allow any evidence to count against the existence of God. If they did doubt the evidence for God's existence, then they are allowing their definition of God to "die the death of a thousand qualifications". If religious language can be made to fit any challenge, then it is meaningless and has no real significance.
To demonstrate how religious believers are always going to allow any evidence to count against the existence of God. If they didn't doubt the evidence for God's existence, then they are allowing their definition of God to "die the death of a thousand qualifications". If religious language cannot be made to fit any challenge, then it is meaningless and has no real significance.
How did Hare challenge the Falsification Principle?
Hare said that religious statements are 'bliks'. This is the idea that although something may not have cognitive value (cannot be verified nor falsified), it still has non-cognitive value to the individual. Theists will not be dissuaded from their belief in God even if he cannot be falsified.
Hare said that religious statements are not 'bliks'. This is the idea that although something may not have cognitive value (cannot be verified nor falsified), it still has non-cognitive value to the individual.
Hare said that religious statements don't need to be falsified because they cannot be verified and that is enough to justify their meaninglessness.
Tick two scholars and their corresponding arguments that DISAGREE with Hare's theory about religious 'bliks'.
Hick believes that religious belief is based on reason and evidence, such as scripture and experience, therefore theists believe that they can justify God's existence. Also Hick argues that religious bliks are inconsistent because we cannot verify whether they are right or wrong.
Ayer argues that religious belief is meaningless because it cannot be analytically or empirically verified. Therefore, the idea of bliks doesn't make sense.
Mitchell uses the Parable of the Resistance Fighter to demonstrate how theists do acknowledge the doubts in God's existence, but still choose to believe in God, even if he can be falsified. Theists believe that the peculiar and problematic parts of their religious belief will be revealed in the after-life (Hick's eschatological verification idea). Thus bliks are unnecessary since the theist is fully aware of problems in their faith.
Who created the Via Negativa? Does the Via Negativa believe we can speak meaningfully about God.
Pseudo-Dionysius created the Via Negativa.
Anselm created the Via Negativa.
Plato created the Via Negativa.
Aristotle created the Via Negativa.
The Via Negativa does believe we can speak meaningfully about God.
The Via Negativa does not believe we can speak meaningfully about God.
The Via Negativa's main argument is that God is beyond our understanding and knowledge. Therefore, the only way we can speak about God without limiting him to our human ability is to say what God is not. We should accept that God is a mystery and try to understand him by ruling out what God is not. For example, 'God is not love' doesn't limit God to our human understanding of love. We understand that God is greater than our human love.
Tick THREE strengths of the Via Negativa.
We don't limit God and accept his transcendence.
This may guard against religious fundamentalism.
We avoid taking scripture and God's actions literally
It satisfies the moral absolutist.
We can know God by the time we get to heaven.
Theists are able to prove atheists wrong finally.
Tick THREE criticisms of the Via Negativa.
The Via Negativa doesn't actually help us understand God and we get no closer to defining God.
Davies points out that we need to know what the possibilities are otherwise it is an endless guessing game.
By saying what God is not, this could be mistaken for being similar to the atheist's argument.
This doesn't satisfy the moral absolutist.
Hume argues that the Via Negativa ommits the is-ought gap.
Equivocal language is where words are used to mean the same thing in all the situations where they are used. For example, black board, black hat, black cat.
Why did Aquinas say we need to use analogy to understand and talk meaningfully about God?
Because univocal and equivocal language limit God to our understanding.
Because analogies are easier for understanding God because they exist in everyday life.
Because our language is too broad and amazing to use for God and we need something simpler, like analogies.
What is the analogy of attribution?
Aquinas assumes that God is the source of all things in the universe and that God is universally perfect. Everything in the universe reflects something of God's character because it was made by him. For example, when we interpret human wisdom, that gives us an insight into God's wisdom.
Aquinas assumes that God is not the source of all things in the universe and that God is not universally perfect. Everything in the universe doesn't reflect something of God's character because it wasn't made by him. For example, when we interpret human wisdom, we can see we have wisdom in ourselves.
We possess qualities of God because we were created in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), but because we are inferior to God, we possess those qualities in lesser proportion to God.
Since God is a mystery, we reflect this mystery and this is why humans can never understand each other.
The analogy of proper proportion was developed by Hick.
Tick THREE criticisms of Aquinas' Analogy.
If we don't accept Aquinas' assumptions that God created the universe then the foundations of Analogy fall apart.
Hume criticises Aquinas for committing the is-ought gap.
Moore states that Analogy commits the naturalistic fallacy.
If creation reflects God's attributes to a lesser extent, then evil in our world hints at God's cruel nature.
Analogy can tell us nothing new about God, as it is based upon things that are already in existence.
Tillich says that we can speak meaningfully about God because religious language is symbolic in nature. The symbolism of religious language allows humans to articulate ideas that are difficult to express in cognitive terms. Thus religious language is still meaningful in a non-cognitive way, as symbols connect and provide understand on a much deeper and richer level. Symbols point towards the ultimate reality of 'Being-Itself", the vision of God.
Tick TWO criticisms of Tillich's argument about Symbols.
There is a risk that symbols can be taken literally.
Symbols may become objects of worship, detracting from the value of the ideas and teachings of the religion.
Commits the naturalistic fallacy, according to Moore.
They are not accessible universally.
Myth is a symbolic approximate expression of truth, which express claims that are difficult to express in a cognitive way. Myths convey important ideas that are other-worldly and highlight moral truths.
Tick TWO criticisms of Myth.
Bultmann claims that in order to access the kerygma/abiding truth of God's word, we need to abandon myths (demythologise) in order to avoid taking them literally. Myths are confusing and lack clarity.
Myths are open to different interpretations.
Moore accuses Myth of committing the naturalistic fallacy.
Myths are old stories that don't make any sense.
What approach was Wittgenstein taking to language?
Wittgenstein's Language Games argues that there are different games in language and they have their own rules. So Wittgenstein says that we can speak meaningfully about God because it is within the religious language game and make sense within that field. Using scientific language to criticise religious language doesn't make sense.