Religious Language: An Empirical Placing of Theological Phrases

Religious Language: An Empirical Placing of Theological Phrases

Religious Language: An Empirical Placing of Theological Phrases

Religious Language: An Empirical Placing of Theological Phrases

Excerpt

In the previous chapter I said that our intention was to see something of the implications for theology, of the concern of contemporary philosophy with language and empirical fact. Taking Butler as a classical example, I tried to show that religious language talks of the discernment with which is associated, by way of response, a total commitment. We then noticed that parallels to this discernment , which yields more than 'what's seen', could be found in situations which 'come alive', where 'the penny drops', or 'the ice breaks', where we discover a person's name, and so on. I suggested that parallels to the commitment which characterizes religion, might be found in the devoted action of a 'free will'; in action from a 'sense of duty', and also in the loyalty we give to persons, institutions and nations. Altogether the total commitment of religion might be said roughly to take such deep personal loyalty as we have exemplified and to give it the breadth of such commitment as that by which the mathematician embraces his axioms.

Our broad conclusion was that if this discernment- commitment is the kind of situation characteristic of religion, we must expect religious language to be appropriately odd, and to have a distinctive logical behaviour. Otherwise it would not be currency for the strange kind of situation about which it claims to speak. In this second chapter we shall discuss some special examples of this distinctive logical . . .

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