Explain the problems of religious language. (30) Some words used within religious language may be viewed as contradictory to our inherent beliefs and logical view as human beings one example of this would be the story of the ‘virgin Mary’ as there is no logical explanation to how she gave birth. Many of the words used in religious language are also metaphysical and have no physical representation therefore it is very hard for us as humans to fully comprehend the ideas they are expressing.
An example of this is ‘God is timeless’ as we as humans live in a world where time is very much present so humans’ attempting to understand the phrase causes problems as it is outside of our past experiences. Many of the metaphysical questions within religious language can be problematic as it can not be answered through science or our logic for example ‘why were we created? ’ or ‘how did we get here? ’. Some scholars argue that our human language is not enough to describe religion thus we are doing God an injustice by attempting to explain it in human language, and that we should not expect that applying worldly language to religion to be adequate for our understanding of it.
Similarly some argue that we should not even attempt to understand language hence why synagogues have no pictures of God. It may be argued that by giving God human-esk characteristics we are athromorphising god. Another key factor to religious language causing problems is that it is very difficult to interpret whether something should be taken literally or non-literally one example of this is God turning water into wine some interpreters may view it in its literal form whilst others may state that he turned a simple resource into something much more complex.
Even if somebodies interpretation is completely correct there is still no real way of proving this. Something else which also causes confusion within religious language is the same words having different contexts for example ‘spirit’ one context is alcohol the other is God (the holy SPIRIT) these are to very different things and would cause great confusion if interpreted incorrectly.
Another inherent problem of religious language is the argument that Russell put forward when he stated we should not believe a statement which has no evidence to back itself up with and religious texts offer very little of this evidence. Ayer also stated that ‘if it is not analytical and cannot be tested, then best to call it cognitively meaningfulness’ this ideology would be problematic for religious believers as religion cannot be tested.