1. The purpose of religious language is to describe God; however, there have
been religious languages in which difficulties have been raised. There are 4
theories of religious languages which will be explained below.
Firstly, Anthropomorphism is a language which is taken literally,
basically what we mean about God’s attributes is the same as what we mean about
our self. It is univocal (one voice) meaning the language has one meaning and it’s
the same when applied to God and human beings. However, this language fails
because it lacks in the perfection of God; hence one cannot have both perfection of
God and be in an anthropomorphic position. It also introduces the complimentary
class meaning when you include something in one category it automatically
excludes it from another. For example:-One cannot include God from the things
that are good and exclude God from the things that are not good. Moreover, there is
mental anthropomorphism which is an idea that God has a mind. Suppose if you
say; God has desires and if you say God is infinite, that’s a contradiction and the
only way to resolve the contradiction is to drop one of the claims. For example:- If
one is praying to God, does he feel God understands his prayer, and if he does then
that means God has a mind. If God doesn’t have a mind then prayers will be
pointless. Here there is a contradiction between God having a mind and God being
Secondly, Extreme mysticism offers a theory of descriptive
language. Extreme mystics base their criticism on Aristotle theory of descriptive
language. Whenever your describe something your performing an act of inclusion
and an act of exclusion. For example: when you’re saying a ball is red is you’re
including in the class of all things that are red but excluding all the other possible
colors in that class. One cannot introduce God to a complimentary class because
God is known to be infinite and if you include him in one class and exclude from
another that’s a misrepresentation of God. The problem with them however is that
there is no difference between extreme mysticism and atheist. For example, “God
has a plan or God is good”.
Moderate Mysticism uses metaphors and symbolic way of talking about God,
unlike anthropomorphism where everything is literally. We don’t take what
moderate mysticism says to be literally. The problem however with moderate
mystic people is that in order to explain themselves, they need to have a literal meaning with what they’re saying. However, if we did that it would be just like
anthropomorphism which is already a fail.
Lastly, Analogy is to describe God. In this type of language they are trying to
capture the similarities and differences between us and God. This is because
anthopomorphytes were very similar to God and extreme mystics were very
different from God. The reason why this language fails is because we cannot
observe God; therefore, we cannot observe how we are similar or different from
God. Anthony Flew said how you have to set up criteria to verify what we are
saying about GOD is true or not. When we try to verify what we are saying about
God, the language becomes meaningless. However, the verification has to be done
through an empirical fashion and the onus is on the believer to do that. They do
believe God has some resemblance to us but they want to see the similarities and
differences. Since one cannot see, touch or smell God for analogy to work, one has
to observe the effects and determine similarities and differences between the two.
As a result, this language also does not work. 2. In part 10 the discussion is whether God is both infinitely power and
benevolent... Cleanthes and Philo both believe that good and evil things happen
however Cleanthes believes that God is both infinite and benevolent which Philo
does not agree with. The first hypotheses about the designer of the world is created
by Cleanthes as mentioned before is that God is both benevolent and infinite. Philo
creates the following arguments against these hypotheses proving them wrong.
Firstly, Philo argues that whatever God wills comes about.
However the fact that nobody is happy therefor God does not will their happiness.
“ His power we allow infinite: Whatever he wills is executed: But neither man nor
any other animal are happy: Therefore he does not will their happiness” (Hume,
Secondly, argument that Philo makes is God is infinitely wise
however people are not happy. Philo says the course of nature is not designed to
keep us happy and God does not tend the nature to promote human or animal
felicity. In conclusion these arguments go against the claim divine benevolence of
God because happiness is not promoted by the designer of the world.
Thirdly, Philo argues by saying that, “Have not all pious divines
and preachers, who have indulged their rhetoric on so fertile s which may attend it?
This world…….intricacies of his providence”(Hume, 158).
Cleanthes counters Philo`s arguments and challenges the
empirical claims made through reconstructing Philo`s claim. Cleanthes replies
back by saying, “No! There arbitrary suppositions can never be admitted, contrary
to matter of fact,…..establish its reality”(Hume, 158). He keeps the hypotheses the
same however changes the fact and the answer. For argument one, the hypotheses
is whatever god wills comes about, Cleanthes believes humans and other animals
tend to be happy therefore God has willed happiness for humans and animals. Second reconstructed argument by Cleanthes was that God’s
wisdom is infinite, therefore God has willed to support human and animal felicity.
However these restricted arguments are