Explain why it is difficult to talk meaningfully about God (30 marks)
Religious language is defined as the communication of ideas about God, faith, belief and practice. This definition makes it difficult to talk meaningfully about it as each of these words have concepts behind them and each and every individual interprets these differently, so religious language is different to everyday language, as it only denotes to an individual’s belief and faiths traditions.
There are also many problems with religious language as a whole as it anthropomorphises God, by using terminology such as ‘Him’ ‘King’ and ‘Shepherd’ this is limiting and subjects God to have human qualities, which is against what The Bible wants to portray God as. Also another problem is that some think that religious language is cognitive, thus something must be known about God to talk meaningfully about it. Yet this creates the problem that religious statements are not about objective facts that can be proved true or false but are answers to questions that are unable to be validated, as they are based on objective facts that are open to cognition.
These issues have led to religious believers to find ways in which they can talk about God in a meaningful way and the opposite as non-believers are searching for ways to render religious language meaningless. A group of philosophers called the logical positivists who as a group did not seek to understand how we gain knowledge of the external world, but how we use language to convey it. They believed that everything that can be verified is meaningful. Thus the verification principle was developed which stated that if it could be empirical tested by the five senses then it was meaningful, for example, a house is made of gingerbread, is meaningless as it can be proved false by taking stone samples from the house. Yet this causes a problem when talking about philosophical and religious aspects. The logical positivists...
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