“Critically Assess the Claim That Religious Language Is Meaningless”

1992 Words Jan 12th, 2013 8 Pages
“Critically assess the claim that religious language is meaningless” Religious language has been argued about by many philosophers to whether or not the ways in which we speak about religion are relevant or meaningful. This issue of religious language looks at the way we talk about God, debate ideas and communicate our theist or atheist ideologies. For some, religious language is meaningful and full of purpose while others see it to being incomprehensible and pointless. The Vienna Circle was made up of many great philosophers who were against metaphysics due to it leading to illogical thoughts like there being another world to ours. This view transcended onto the philosophical issue of religious language – David Hume for instance – …show more content…
Furthermore, Ayer rejected his previous definition of ‘weak verification’ claiming it was “far too liberal… (and) allows meaning to any statement whatsoever”. An example of the issue is the religious statement “God is real and lives within us” – according to verification this does have meaning due to it being a synthetic statement; however, this did not suit Ayer’s opinion that all religious statements have no meaning.
In order to improve his ideas, Ayer added direct and indirect verifiability. Direct verification records “an actual or possible observation”. For example if you asked “do all trees have leaves in autumn?” you would be able to verify the answer through observation through the senses. Whereas, indirect verification is knowledge that could be proved however we have other knowledge that proves it. An example of this could be a scientific experiment trying to prove that a barometer would rise due to pressure according to your position on a mountain, but Galileo indirectly proved this through discovering that two objects of differing weights would reach the ground at the same time even if they are dropped from the same height. Applying this to religious language, it makes it even harder to verify statements such as “it is bad to murder because God is good and forbids it” because you cannot directly or indirectly

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