Paul Tillich

1030 words 5 pages
Critically assess the views of Paul Tillich on religious language.
(35 marks)
In this essay I am going to critically assess the views of Paul Tillich’s views on religious language. I will first start by critically assessing Paul Tillich’s theory of religious language being presented as symbols and his rejections of signs. I will then conclude and provide a short summary before moving on to views for and against his ideas, before stating my own thoughts.
Paul Tillich was a German- American theologian who believed that it is possible to speak meaningfully about metaphysical concepts and from this he came up with the theory that religious language, because it is symbolic in nature, has an overwhelming effect upon humans. Tillich argued
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In conclusion Tillich rejects the idea of sign pointing towards God, but supported the idea of symbols operating as a religious language, which in turn leads us to the ‘being-itself’ God. He argued that only through religious language as a symbol, that we could open our eyes up to true reality.
Some people argue that just as the meaning of symbols originates in a particular society, it can also lose meaning. When people talk about symbols losing their meaning; they use the example of the Nazi regime taking the Hindu swastika and making it the Nazi symbol. This means that some people believe that symbols can’t be used to explain religious language as it won’t have the same meaning to everyone and also people interpret different meanings of the symbol. Also people would argue that symbols cannot be used to interpret religious language, as symbols have different effects on different people. Some people may see a symbol and feel overwhelmed by it, whereas others may not feel overwhelmed and do not see the meaning of the symbol. Therefore, these people would claim that symbols can’t be used to explain religious language as it’s not universal for everyone in the world. The Vienna circle also rejected Tillich’s theory. The Vienna circle rejected religious language and suggested it was meaningless unless it could be verified and falsified. Therefore, the Vienna circle and


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