Religious

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion by Kai Nielsen (auth.)

By Kai Nielsen (auth.)

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I have tried to show how it states in capsule form and generalises a method that is repeatedly used in practice by reflective men when they try to decide whether a given use oflanguage makes a factual claim, that is, makes a claim about what there is. Indeed there are those who think this criterion is in one way or another too stringent. Some will argue that it fits some clear cases of unequivocally factual statements but not others of a quite mundane and paradigmatic sort; others will assert that these key religious utterances should not be construed as putative statements of fact; still others will argue that such a criterion is alien to religious discourse itself and thus cannot possibly be justified.

Some will argue that it fits some clear cases of unequivocally factual statements but not others of a quite mundane and paradigmatic sort; others will assert that these key religious utterances should not be construed as putative statements of fact; still others will argue that such a criterion is alien to religious discourse itself and thus cannot possibly be justified. It is to these questions that I must turn in later chapters, but by now it should be evident that ZifPs considerations, as interesting and important as they are, do not close the issue concerning the intelligibility of God-talk.

Are they genuine problems at all? Or are they muddles felt as problems? Why is it that there is no serious question concerning the intelligibility of these conceptions? We need here something more than oracular ex cathedra remarks from Ziff. We need something more than the striking of a posture. Ziff simple declaims, for our trusting acceptance, that difficulties concerning spirit and creation ex nihilo only show that the concept of God is a difficult one. They 28 THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION do not point toward its unintelligibility or incoherence.

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