By Kai Nielsen (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333114663

ISBN-13: 9780333114667

ISBN-10: 1349169595

ISBN-13: 9781349169597

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Ziff thinks that if anyone were to maintain that such a traditional conception of God is unintelligible, he would argue that these problematic conditions are unintelligible. To say that these conditions are unintelligible is to say we cannot understand them. But in reflecting on this, we must not forget that understanding and hence intelligibility admit rif degrees. We have, Ziffargues, some understanding of these conditions, and hence, though 'God exists' may be mysterious, as it most certainly should be, it still need not be completely unintelligible.

How do we identify such beings? Perhaps such questions have answers, that is, perhaps they are genuine questions. Alternatively, it may be the case that they are wrongly put. But we need to show either that they have answers or that such questions are wrongly put in this context, or that it is a mistake to think they are conceptual confusions misleadingly put in the form of questions. We need very much to have some reasonable response here and not to be put off with the remark that these are old questions.

It, so the argument would run, is to treat them too much like hypotheses and to model God-talk too much on scientific discourse. A sensitive understanding of God-talk in its living contexts will show that it has a logic of its own which is in its own proper order. Dogmas and doctrines should not be regarded as opinions or hypotheses. They have an entirely different logic - a radically different role in human discourse. All a philosopher can properly do is to characterise it, to display perspicuously the actual function(s) of religious utterances so as to relieve our perplexities about it.

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


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