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Comment on the claim religious language can never be meaningful Answer this question with reference to the Verification principle and the Falsification principle, you may wish to include A.J.Ayer or Ludwig Wittgenstein, also consider the

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Comment on the claim 'religious language can never be meaningful' Answer this question with reference to the 'Verification principle' and the 'Falsification principle', you may wish to include A.J.Ayer or Ludwig Wittgenstein, also consider the relevance of Antony Flew and R.M.Hare whilst addressing some of the criticisms aimed towards the theories. Religious language is arguably non-cognitive; this means it cannot be checked true or false. According to the verifications principle the only language which is verifiable (checkable) is meaningful. Verifiable language includes analytical statements (things which are always true for example mathematics) and synthetic statements (statements which you can prove true or false). The logical positivists (Vienna circle) believe that any statements which cannot be proved within this world are completely meaningless. A.J Ayer who was part of this group said that the statement 'God exists' is meaningless because God is a transient being, who is supposedly infinite whilst we are finite. ...read more.


John Hick responds to the verification principle saying that perhaps in the after-life God can be verified - this is known as eschatological verification. It seems that this is a weak argument though, as it is not itself verifiable. In regards to the falsification principle, religious language again fails. The falsification principle says that a statement is only meaningful if we accept that evidence may count against it. Antony Flew says that religious language can never be meaningful as believers will never let any evidence count against their belief. He uses John Wisdom's parable of the gardener as follows: "Two people return to their long neglected garden and find, among the weeds, that a few of the old plants are surprisingly vigorous. One says to the other, 'It must be that a gardener has been coming and doing something about these weeds.' The other disagrees and an argument ensues. They pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. ...read more.


This belief affects his whole life, much like, Hare claims, religion affects the believers' life. Basil Mitchell is one of the main critics against the falsification principle; he believes that the believer should have faith even when evidence points against their belief -this will appeal to Christians who find that they don't want to have to justify their belief and will say that faith is enough - perhaps intuitive faith. Overall the verification principle and the falsification principle do not actively agree that religious language can ever be meaningful, they provide strong arguments for this and despite criticisms appear to be sound arguments. The verification principle asks statements to be ones that can be proven true or false whilst the falsification wants the statement to be able to have evidence against it. I would probably say that the verification principle provided the stronger case as the criticisms are not very strong and it makes sense to say that we should not talk about anything un-provable because this will likely be meaningless. 1 SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Invisible_Gardener ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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