There are then certain factual beliefs which are fundamental to Christianity, in the sense that they underlie all Christian activity, and give it its specifically Christian character. The expression of
such beliefs I shall refer to as the making of theological statements.·
Tlte prohlem stated Our problem in this chapter, then, is: how are theological
statements possible? For it is a fairly common philosophical position to-day to say that there can be no meaningful theological statements. This view may be loosely put by saying that theological statements are unverifiable, and therefore meaningless; or it may be more carefully put by attending to the rules which Christians appear to lay down for the interpretation of theological statements, and contending that these rules conflict with each other in such a way that no meaningful statements could possibly be governed by such rules. For, it is said, the statements purport to be about a quasi-personal subject, and in that way to be parallel to statements about, say, Julius Caesar; and yet if we proceed to draw conclusions from them, to bring arguments against them, in general to test them as if they were parallel to statements about Julius Caesar, we are told that we have failed to grasp their function. They have, apparently, some kind of special exemption from empirical testing; and yet if one attempts, for this reason, to assimilate them to other kinds of utterances (moral judgments for example, or mathematical formulae) which enjoy similar exemption, one is at once forbiqden to do so. How paradoxical this is; and how much easier it makes it to believe that the making of theological statements rests on some kind of confusion than to accept them at their face-value!