• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast two of the following and evaluate their significance for understanding religious language. (20 marks)

Extracts from this document...


Compare and contrast two of the following and evaluate their significance for understanding religious language. (20 marks) i. Analogy ii. Language games iii. Falsification debate iv. myth v. symbol vi. verification debate This essay will compare and contrast analogy and symbol and relate this to understanding religious language. Aquinas founded the argument for analogy with his starting point being that we only have our day-to-day language to talk about God. He explains that a word, when applied to God has a different meaning from when we use it in everyday life. He explains that a word such as 'perfect' when applied to a created being has a different meaning to when it is applied to God; it is not being used univocally. This is because we understand God to be perfect which is what Aquinas explains to be analogy. This is contrasted to Paul Tillich's starting point as he explains that it is through metaphors and symbols that we are helped towards an understanding of God. He begins by distinguishing between symbols and signs by expressing that symbols are more powerful than signs as they include emotions. ...read more.


Having said this, Ian Ramsey has developed the theory of analogy in the twentieth century. Ramsey explained that if we say 'God is good' the model is the word 'good' so we have an understanding of the word 'good' therefore when applied to God we have a model understanding of God's goodness. However he goes on to explain that we have to adapt the model to quantify it so we realise that it is not literally what God is like. The qualifier can be a word such as 'ultimately' as this leads us to realising that God's goodness is greater than our own. Ian Ramsey's main function of religious language is not so much to describe religious facts about God but to express existential significance of God for mankind. Meaning he is trying to explain the important thing is to create an understanding of God which helps us to begin to understand God. Ramsey's main aim is to show that language used in religious context is less descriptive and dynamic and that its main purpose is to increase religious and moral awareness. This I contrasted to Tillich's theory of symbol as symbols are intended to convey facts and they cannot be falsified or verified empirically. ...read more.


As Tillich does not apply symbols to an objective reality, this means that many interpretations of symbols are available leading to people have different interpretations causing all of them to be regarded as highly insignificant. From these points considered above it is clear that Aquinas's theory of Analogy when used in religious language is more significant that Tillich's theory of religious symbolism. This is mainly due to the fact that analogy is easier to accept. We can all accept that we have an understanding of the word 'power' and that although we use this word in describing God we understand that we do not know the true extent of God's power because it is something a finite human has never experienced. Symbol has the added problem that it can become outdated and also that it can lead to symbols themselves becoming the focus of worship and the object of adoration. Aquinas' theory of Analogy of Proportion is more significant in religious language especially when backed up by Ian Ramsey's modern development of it. Personally I do agree that Aquinas' theory of Analogy is more significant in the context of religious language as it is easier to relate to and does not attempt to explain a fact which is inconceivable to finite human beings. Words = 1,513 Hannah O'Shea-Herriot Religious Studies Philosophy - Religious Language 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Science Is The Language Of God

    Maybe 10% of the people, or maybe even less. But science, clear, concise, precise, understood by one and by all, interpreting the Creations of God, the theories behind the working of everything in Nature, and an explanation of how we, can attempt to recreate some of these things, is truly the language of God.

  2. Discuss Reasons Why Sociologists Find It Difficult To Agree On A Definition Of Religion ...

    The same goes for football, if a player scores a winning goal he is considered a God, if he misses a winning shot then he is immediately shot down. This in effect shows that people tailor their 'religion' to suit their needs, showing respect and admiration only where they see fit.

  1. "A religious experince is a sponatnious or induced,mental event over which the recepient has ...

    This is because mystical experiences, for example speaking or seeing God in a dream, does not mean he exists since we can have dreams about unicorns or Father Christmas and we know for a fact that neither exist. However according to these arguments it would mean they would.

  2. Identify 3 novels, short stories or poems that would have special significance to the ...

    The story first shows the immense heat of the sun, with temperatures jumping by four thousand degrees Fahrenheit every few seconds as the space ship approaches. It also shows how without the winter machine, they would all die in a split second.

  1. Outline the teaching about the Kingdom of God in the Parable's of Mark's Gospel.

    You just plant it and do not really understand how it grows but it does. In this parable, though, what's growing is somebody's faith in God and Jesus. You do not know how but your and other's people faith grows, and you become a more truthful Christian.

  2. Select two theodicies. Comment on their success or otherwise. (13)

    Irenaeus' answer to the question why evil is necessary and why God didn't simply create humans perfectly to begin with is that he believed that attaining the likeness of God requires the "willing cooperation of human individuals." Willing cooperation requires genuine freedom; we cannot willingly cooperate with something if we are being forced into it.

  1. Outline the teaching about the kingdom of god in the parables of Marks gospel.

    He tells us to respect other peoples beliefs the way we would like our believes to be respected. The mustard seed The parable of the mustard seed tells us of how the smallest seed in the world creates after a while the largest plant/tree known to man where all birds can come and shelter in the shade.

  2. Logical Positivism and the Meaninglessness of Religious Language.

    Its methods have even become the pre-eminent paradigm (model, example) of how we come to know things (epistemology), of rational enquiry and rational method. One example of the expression of awe at scientific advance was the thought of Ren´┐Ż Descartes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work