Flashcards in Religious Language Deck (82):
Cited in Richardson and Bowmen, how does Burrell define analogies
"Proportional similarities which also acknowledge dissimilar features"
What does Aquinas say about univocal language
"No name belong to God in the same sense that it belongs to creatures"
What does Aquinas say about equivocal language
"Neither, on the other hand, are names applied to God and creatures in a purely equivocal sense...if that were so it follows that from creatures nothing could be known or demonstrated about God"
What does Hume say about univocal language
"We justly ascribe to him because those words are honourable among men and we have no other language by which we can express our adoration of him"
What phrase does Aquinas use to sow that what we say and know about God is limited
Analogy of attribution is
The idea that the qualities we ascribe to one another reflect the qualities of God. It draws a causal relation between the two things being described
Brian Davies example of analogy of attribution
Bakery. To say the bread is good is to say the baker is good as the bread is the product of the baker
What does Aquinas think "God is living" means
God is the cause of life
Analogy of proportion is
The idea that the attributes of a being are unique and dependant on the type of being that possesses said attributes
What is the example used by John Hick that was originally used Baron Von Hugel
Dogs faithfulness is limited to humans
Humans faithfulness is limited to Gods
Ian Ramsey's book
Ian Ramsey's model and qualifiers idea
Take a human attribute (model) and qualify it (with adjectives like perfectly) to make it clear that it is infinitely enhanced when applied to God
Weaknesses of analogy
William Blackstone: Thomson doctrine is unhelpful because we have to translate the analogies into univocal language before we can know anything - need to know how Gods love relates to humans love before we gain knowledge
St Paul: need to 'see' God before we can accurately express God
Still assumes similarities between humans and God but God transcends us
Duns Scotus: too vague and leaves us unable to understand God and his actions
By using analogy we lose the meaning and purpose behind what we are trying to communicate
Strengths of analogy
Evans: says nothing wrong with accepting the fact god is mysterious and that our knowledge of him is limited as long as we know enough to worship
Hick: analogy enables us to make some statements about God yet we still preserve the mystery present in Judeao-Christian theology
How does Burrows describe myth
"A symbolic approximate expression of the truth"
What is the purpose of myths
To convey concepts that go beyond the basic true-false descriptors to express that which is other worldly. They allow humans to gain and insight into cosmological and existential questions that are difficult to express in cognitive terms
Myth is bible
What does mythological language describe
Apocalyptic events and eschatological expectations in the Bible
Quote for the second coming of Jesus
"With the sound of the trumpet of God...men, both alive and dead, will rise to meet the Lord in air"
What does Braithwaite believe about religious stories
Are inspirational and give us the motivation to lead a moral life
What did Bultmann believe
Demythologising the bible made it meaningful. He believed we needed to access the kerygma which is done by demythologising the New Testament to reveal its truths
Bultmann quote about demythologising
"It is impossible...to avail ourselves of modern...surgical discoveries and, at the same time, to believe in the New Testament world of demons and spirits"
Once demythologised what does the story of Jesus walking on water tell mean
Helping them through difficult times
Is symbolic language non cognitive
How does Erika Dinker Von Schubert define symbol
"A pattern or object that points to an invisible metaphysical reality and participates in it"
How does Tillich define symbols
Something that "Participates in that to which it points"
Example of symbol used by Tillich
Conveys nationalism and patriotism
Shows symbols express what the believer feels about the symbol
What does Tillich believe signs do
What does Rowan Williams say about religious language
"Like all other serious human discourse, religious language requires a symbolic foundation"
What does Tillich believe symbols do
Open up dimensions of the soul
Open up levels of reality that are closed to us
Point to something beyond us
Randall agrees with Tillich because
He believes religious language is symbolic and non cognitive
Randall argues religious language
Inspires, clarified our experiences and allows us to express our emotions
Randall believes God is
A intellectual symbolic and "a ripple imagination"
Phillips view on myth
Shouldn't thing eternal life is literally living together but expressing a quality of life available in the present
Macquerries criticism of Tillich
Cannot separate symbol and sign
Cloud is sign and symbol of rain
Principles of Christian Theology
Alstons criticism of symbol
Meaningless as we don't know if it's true or not
Edwards criticism of symbol
Meaningless as cannot be verified or falsified
Hicks criticism of symbol
"Participating in it" meaning is unclear
Who developed the via negativa
Pseudo Dionysius book
What does the via negativa does
Begins be negating the least appropriate characterisations of God then negates the most honourable names for God
Peter coles explanation of via negativa
"By denying all the descriptions of God, you get an insight and experience of God rather than unbelief and scepticism"
The Guide for the Perplexed
What did Maimonides believe
The attributes of God could be expressed in a negative terms whereby people come to an understand of what is not and therefore move closer to appreciating what God is
Example used by Maimonides
By saying what a ship is not, get closer to understanding what I ship it
Quote by Maimonides
"There is no necessity at all for you to use positive attributes of God"
How is the via negativa used in Buddhism
Used to describe ineffible concepts like the nature of nirvana. Buddhists do not believe in God but use the via negativa to convey the essence of the ultimate reality
Quote in Saddaharmapundarika to prove use of via negativa in Buddhism
"For the Tathagatha has seen the word as it really is: it is not born; it dies not"
Strengths of via negativa
Universal (unlike symbols and analogies)
It doesn't limit God, James calls this the "mystical approach"
Weaknesses of the via negativa
Contradicts positive statements in the Bible
Flew - negatives amount to nothing
As God is only spoken negatively, it doesn't distinguish between atheism and theism
Who developed language games
The tractatus logico philosophicus
Why is language non congnitive
Primary purpose is not to make factual statements
Wittgenstein quote to reinforce the fact that Wittgenstein believes the way we see and describe the worlds is matter of perspective
"I think differently, in a different way. I say things differently to myself. I have a different picture"
Wittgenstein was only concerned with
The use of language not if it's meaningful as the context it's used in defines its function
What does Donovan point out
Philosophers doubt think religions are games but it's a useful way of understanding how religion has special meaning
"Religious language, like moves in a game, are context dependant"
D Z Phillips take on language games
Language shouldn't be taken literally
Problems arise when the word "soul" is taken literally and people look for non physical thing at core of being
Look at context of the term "soul" is used in (like language games says to) realsie it is the most important thing in life
Strengths of language games
Non believers can't criticise believers as they don't understand language rules
Weaknesses of language games
Do not allow for believers to make objective truths
Allienates those who aren't part of the game
Language, truth and logic
Analytic statement is
"Statement, like in mathematics, that is true by definition"
Synthetic statement is
"Verified by experience"
Ayer believed religious language has
"No literal significant"
Vienna circle was
Group of logical positivist that aimed to make religion scientific and all religious language verifiable
"A statement which cannot be conclusively verified cannot be verified at all. It is simply devoid on meaning"
Why is religious language meaningless according to Ayer
Neither synthetic nor analytic. No empirical evidence for religious experiences so language used by believers is "nonsensical"
Karl popper book
Philosophy of science
Who came up with the falsification principle
What is the falsification principle
Anything that can't be falsified is meaningless - religious language
Who came up with the parable of the garden
Flews quote on the falsification principle
"Dies the death of a thousand qualifications"
How does the parable of the garden link to falsification
Religious believers keep changing their stories so can never be falsified
RM Hare came up with
Non rational and cannot be falsified because they are groundless
Parable of the lunatic