chapter  27
14 Pages

Religious Language

ByKEITH E. YANDELL

Those things that are of greatest significance for various religions-God, heaven, nirvana, moksha, Brahman, to mention a few-are not open to visual inspection or tangible grasp. They are not among the things in the “middle-sized” world, somewhere between particles and galaxies. For many thinkers, this has rendered talking about them difficult if not impossible. Non-believers have argued that such talk is meaningless-neither true nor false. Believers have raised their own objections based on features ascribed to their religious ultimates. They sometimes seem in perpetual conflict as to who can make the stronger case that, say, God, cannot be described. Further, believers are sometimes viewed as idolaters by their supposedly more sophisticated co-believers if they do not accept the view that God cannot be described in positive terms. What follows is a look at, and a commentary on, a representative part of this discussion.