The religious language debate - "What can be said about God?" It's not concerned with whether or not God exists/ what He is like/ why there's evil in the world? Solely concerned with figuring out whether or not religious language means anything Religious believers- can speak & write about God, because God is a reality. Logical Positivists- statements about God have no meaning bcz they don't relate to anything real Religious language is meaningless. 2 types of language: 1. Cognitive- conveys facts i.e. things we can know 2. Non-cognitive- not factual; emotions, feelings, MP claims Cognitive Religious statements are factually significant; give special knowledge about God. John Hick- religious knowledge is based on faith. But faith is factual & cognitive. A believer's awareness of God is based on direct experience. Religious experience is the "whole experience of religious person". It is not apart from mundane life, but in it & through it that one experiences divine presence. Experience of God is reflected in one's life. Through this experience, one cannot show that God exists, but can experience real world whose existence & God's existence is a matter of faith. ification: At the end of time, all religious belief that require faith will be made clear by God. Though they cannot be verified now, will be verified in future. He uses weak verification principle in reverse. Aquinas | Theory of Analogy Paley's analogy of the watch- role of God as creator. We have no direct experience of God as creator, but it is analogical to a watchmaker who designs an intricate timepiece for a purpose. Aquinas' theories start from confirmed religious belief & work backwards in justifying it. He was religious & assumed both that God existed & that God had created the universe Holding religious belief was reasonable, i.e. one can use reason to assert God's existence. He rejected- Univocal language: Words mean the same in all situations Eg. black board, black hat black car.
In each case, word black refers to the colour black. Equivocal language: Words mean different things in different contexts Eg. "gay": jolly, homosexual, rubbish. Once a word is used to mean a different thing, it loses its original meaning Religious language describes the attributes/ qualities of God. This is difficult as God is generally not something we have direct experience of, while most of the things language refers to are things we can experience. When we say "God is good", we need to know how we're using the word "good". If we are speaking univocally, we claim that God is good in the same way as humans are. Aquinas rejected this as he believed God to be perfect. Hence, imperfect humans cannot be good in the same way as God is. But if we are speaking equivocally, we claim that God is good in totally different way from humans. Aquinas rejected this too since we cannot profess to know anything about him as the language we use to describe humans/ experienced world does not apply to God Aquinas believed that there was a "middle way", a way of talking meaningfully about God called analogy- 3 types: analogy of attribution/ proper proportion/ improper proportion.