Religious Language

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    Clouser, Roy A.

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    Divine Accommodation: An Alternative Theory of Religious Language

    "For a very long time it has been recognized by both Jewish and Christian thinkers that there is an important problem to be solved concerning-the possibility of true predication about God. The problem centers on the apparent incompatibility of two biblical doctrines: (1) God created everything about the universe; (2) human language conveys truth about God. The problem is to explain how terms drawn from experience can be true of God when everything we experience is created, but God is not created."
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    Clouser, Roy A.

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    Religious Language: A New Look at an Old Problem

    "In what follows, I will be proposing a view of religious language which, so far as I know, has not been advocated in any of the recent discussions of that topic. The view I shall be defending is that talk about God as exemplified in Scripture, the traditional confessions, and even theology, should be regarded as quite ordinary language. It should not, in my view, be seen as requiring some sort of extended analogy, or special symbolism unique to itself, in order to understand the possibility of its truth. This should not be taken to mean that religious language is always to be taken literally so far as its meaning is concerned. Like all other ordinary language, it employs many styles and figures of speech, and occurs in many literary forms and types."
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    Geisler, Norman L.

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    Analogy: The Only Answer to the Problem of Religious Language

    "Most contemporary religious language theory vascilates between equivocation and analogy in a desperate struggle to provide a meaningful vehicle by which God can be expressed. The root of the problem is two-fold: Medieval Mysticism and Modern Empiricism...[F]rom Aquinas we learn that unless there is an analogy of being based in the created similarity of God and the world, then we cannot avoid either Monism or equivocation in talking about God's essence. In brief, equivocal predication leads to skepticism; univocal predication leads to Monism, but only analogical predication leads to God."
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    Graham, Matthew

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    The Doctrine of Analogy

    "Conflicts about the nature of God are often due to divergent views concerning the nature of religious language. Theologians and Philosophers have debated the issue of religious language for centuries, but many times the debate centers on peripheral issues rather than focusing on the underlying philosophical commitments about the nature of religious language. These commitments must be given attention if we desire to have meaningful and productive dialogue with those who have contrary views. It will be the project of this paper to evaluate which particular view of religious language has the most plausibility."
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    Holmes, Arthur F.

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    Three Levels of Meaning in God-Language

    "My assignment is to discuss the philosophical side of the problem of theological language. I am not distinguishing theological from religious language, but use the term to refer simply to our language about God. It is to be an introductory overview rather than a piece of creative work or a detailed examination of one issue and I have tried to keep in mind that, as theologians, you are interested, not in philosophical technicalities, but in what the philosophy of language may contribute to theological understanding. The overall problem concerns the meaning of theological language, that is to say, human language being what it is, how can we speak meaningfully of a unique and transcendent deity?"
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    Ross, James

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    Religious Language

    "Religious language is the portion of natural language people use in religious talk, whether stating their beliefs or unbelief, explaining a belief, telling religious stories, interpreting their life events religiously ('God answered my prayer'), disputing about the meaning of a sacred text, writing hymns or even popular religious songs...,praying, performing liturgy or religious rituals, asking divine forgiveness for sins or transgressions and so on...So, what is the problem? Let us consider talk about the existence and nature of God, first, putting the rest...aside for a while."
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    Weed, Jennifer Hart

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    Religious Language

    "The term "religious language" refers to statements or claims made about God or gods. Here is a typical philosophical problem of religious language. If God is infinite, then words used to describe finite creatures might not adequately describe God. For example, is God good in the same sense that Kofi Annan is good? This difficulty challenges us to articulate the degree that attributes used for finite beings can be used for God and what these attributes mean when they describe God. The ambiguity in meaning with respect to the terms predicated of God is the “problem of religious language” or the “problem of naming God.” These predications could include divine attributes, properties, or actions. Since the doctrines of the divine in Eastern religious traditions differ radically from the doctrines of the Abrahamic traditions, the problem of religious language has not been accorded much attention in Eastern philosophy."