“Explain what it means to say religious language is: non cognitive and analogical” Essay examples

Words: 1103
Pages: 5

Religious Language refers to statements or claims made about God. It is stated that religious language is non-cognitive and analogical, just as Aquinas asserted that ‘all human language about God is analogical’. Non-cognitive language is language that cannot be empirically verified. For example, “obey God to be sure of heaven.” Firstly the statement requires verification that there is a God and also that there is another place after death. None of this can be totally verified until after death. Religious statements are really moral statements, they express an attitude and so have an emotive meaning, they are designed to shape people's feelings and behaviour and are meaningful in having such results. An analogy may be defined as a …show more content…
Peter Cole concluded that analogy is a ‘compromise’ between unvocal language and equivocal language.
There are two types of analogy which are proposed. First is analogy of proportion. This proposes that we can imply a relationship between God’s attributes and our understanding of the meaning of these attributes. Brian Davies offered an example of a mirror to further explain this idea. Davies noted that in the presence of light, a mirror reflects whatever it faces, and so the image in the mirror is its own but is caused by something else. Therefore, when applying this example to God, it suggests that human beings exist because God causes them to exist.
The second type of analogy is analogy of attribution. This idea seeks to apply God’s nature to certain human qualities, such as goodness, wisdom, and beauty. In other words, it suggests that human qualities derive from God’s nature. Aquinas used an example of a bull to clarify this concept. Aquinas observed that just as one can tell a bull is healthy by inspecting its urine, one can understand the true nature of God by inspecting human beings. This is because many human characteristics are derived from God, and so one reflects the other.
In addition, David Hume sated: “Wisdom, thought, design, knowledge – these we justify ascribe to Him because those words are honourable among men, and we have