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Flashcards in Religious Language Deck (23):

What types of language did Aquinas reject?

- univocal language ( employing a term in 2 different scenarios to mean the same thing)
- equivocal language ( term meaning different things in different situations)


What is Aquinas’ principle of remotion and excellence?

Removing human concepts from a definition of a word and project what is left to God. God is the limitless version of our experience of them


What is aquinas’ analogy from attribution to performance?

-All good human qualities belong proportionately to God, presented lesser in humans, but help us understand God.
- God is the cause of all good things in humans- human faithfulness projected upwards to reflect God’s faithfulness


What is Ian Ramsey’s analogy of models and qualifiers?

Take a human concept and make sure that when it is applied to God it is infinitely advanced


What are positives of analogy?

- allows us to compare humans to God
- allows us to understand God, without forgetting the transcendence of God


What are the negatives of analogy?

- anthropomorphising God, having to use human terms to talk of him
- it can never allow us to fully understand God


How do myths communicate about God?

It makes use of symbol, metaphor and imagery in a narrative context to convey concepts beyond basic true/ false descriptors to express that which is other worldly


What are positives of myth?

- one can gain insight into existential questions that are difficult to access


What are negatives of myth?

- DF Strauss- myths are just stories
- Rudolph Bultmann- myths contradictory to science, bible should be de-mythological


What does symbol include?

Metaphors, similes, signs myths. Can be pictorial, abstract, verbal or active


How does Tillich illustrate the effects of symbol as a means of talking about God?

He compares it to a national flag- which conveys what a believer feels


What are positives of symbol?

- non- cognitive, anti realist way of speaking about God
- avoids anthropomorphism


What are negatives of symbol?

Symbols become the focus of worship itself and can lose the original meaning


What is Wittgenstein’s language games?

Wittgenstein explains that you can only fully understand the language if you are part of the language game ( if you are a believer ). One cannot criticise a player of another game and you have to learn the rules to be able to play. Wittgenstein says that the meaning of religious language grows out of the context in which it is used.


What are positives of language games?

- distinguished religious language from other uses and contexts of language
- unites believers and provides boundaries for use
- understands need for belief in finding meaning


What are negatives of language games?

- alienates outsiders
- who makes the rules?
- defends meaning of anything- one just ‘does not know the game’


What does the verification principle state?

Only these statements are meaningful:
- analytic statements ( true by definition )
- mathematical statements
- synthetic statements- verifiable by experience- if the means by which to verify them is known


What are positives of verification?

- appeals to experience which is the usual method


What are negatives of verification?

- historical, ethical and emotional statements that we accept to be meaningful are unverifiable
- we cannot definitely verify any scientific statements
- verification principle itself cannot be verified


What is John Hicks’ verification principle?

He claims that God’s existence cannot be proved by the senses and compares our knowledge of GOd to the parable of the celestial City, in which one is only aware of its existence when they get to the end of the road. This he presents eschatological verification, that one can verify something once they die.


What are problems with John Hicks’ eschatological verification?

It relies on the fact that one still has identity and consciousness which in itself would rely on eschatological verification


What is falsification?

A principle by Anthony Flee which states that a statement is only meaningful if the means by which to falsify it is known


What are criticisms of falsification?

- Swinburne- analogy that one cannot prove or falsify that the toys do not leave the cupboard when unsupervised, but the movement would still have meaning
- Hare- religious statements cannot be verified or falsified- not based on reason- based on an individuals interpretation- ‘bliks’