• 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. Logical Positivism and the Meaninglessness of Religious Language.

    Science, one could argue, has become almost a new 'religion' in the sense that it is in it that some people's faith and hope are being ultimately placed. Logical Positivism: Background One very influential line of thinking on the relation between science and religion is that of Logical Positivism.

  2. The Verification principle and the Falsification principle

    For example to say that all water boils at 100?c cannot be tested so therefore it is meaningless. Historical statements also suffered this consequence. To say that the battle of Hastings took place in 1066 cannot be verified as there is no one alive to prove it, therefore it is also meaningless.

  1. Individual religious experience means individual religious fantasy; corporate religious experience means corporate religious fantasy; ...

    Lady finally spoke to Bernadette and asked her to come to the grotto every day for two weeks. In return, if Bernadette did as she was asked, the Lady said that while she could not promise Bernadette happiness in this life, she could and would do so in the next.

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

    I do believe, however, that for a religious experience to occur and for a 'spiritual force' to come into play then one must be open to an idea of God and therefore I maintain my strong belief that a mystical experience must remain within the mind of the believer.

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

    Jesus says to his followers: 'You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God.' He says that other people will only hear the parable story, and not be able to understand the teaching. Later, in verse 34, Mark says: 'He would not speak to them without using parables,

  2. Explain the Ontological argument.

    Yet it has attracted new criticisms. Irenaeus view that everyone goes to heaven has attracted new criticism because it seems unjust, thus calling God justice into question. Christians and religious believers have called this theory into question because it contradicts religious texts, including the bible and the Qur'an, which promise punishment for the unrighteous.

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

    is meant to symbolise the kingdom of God and the tenants are the Jewish leaders, which attack the landlord and his son God and Jesus.

  2. For what reasons have some philosophers argued that religious language is meaningless?

    Such claims as "Jesus was crucified o forgive my sins" or "God is omnipotent" do not seem to support themselves by any empirical evidence. We would expect statements about reality, particularly those that claim to be speaking of events of great significance, to be making factual assertions.

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