to what extent is religious language meaningful

Topics: Philosophy of language, Psychology, Cognition Pages: 2 (709 words) Published: April 24, 2014
To what extent is religious language meaningful?

There are two ways to approach whether religious language is meaningful. Some philosophers such as logical positivist have a cognitive approach based on facts and learning through experience. Anthony flew is one philosopher whom shares the belief that something can be seen as meaningful through assertion, statements that can be proved empirically through synthetic reasoning. The other approach to the statement is a non-cognitivist method, which means that religious language is meaningful on a personal subject level.

From this they then went on to conclude that any language consisting of emotion, or historical elements which cannot be tested in the here and now are meaningless (according to the strong verification principle) The weak verification principle states that any language which is verifiable in principle is meaningful. therefore, this (unintentionally) allows for claims such as "Christ was resurrected from the dead" to become meaningful as the conditions which you would undergo to find out the truth or falsity of the statement are known. (Going back and witnessing the event). From this Flew went on to saying that all religious statements are meaningless as religious believers do not allow for anything to count against their claims.( as shown through John Wisdom's Parable of the gardener.

Non cognitive approaches however, such as Braithwaite's rel lang as a moral discourse, Rudolf Bultman's demythologizing of the Bible and Tillich, it is meaningful on a personal subjective level.

Braithwaite argued that the purpose of religious language is not to make universal truth claims but to bring about morality and a way of life for mankind to follow. therefore to him religious language is meaningful as it affects the lives of religious believer around the globe. 

Rudolf Bultman also claimed that religious language is non cognitive. He claimed that to find the true meaning behind religious claims...
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