By Kai Nielsen (auth.)
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Hoffman responds by acknowledging that he is committed to some version of empiricism or the verifiability theory of meaningfulness while denying that he has begged any issue with Ziff. He thinks he has not done so because he does not simply assert some formulation of the verifiability principle but points out that it is not enough (pace ZitI) to exhibit the intelligibility of a condition simply to relate it intralinguistically to other expressions by displaying a pattern of definitive and analytic relationships between the putative statement being examined and another expression or cluster of expressions.
This consideration, which I admit is still ultimately fundamentally question-begging, gains in an indirect way added force when we recall that 'God's acts' and 'God's love' could have a use through an ancient concept of God in which God is thought to have a body. ) This use is still lurking, though officially rejected, in the background of our present use (a kind of cultural 38 THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION lag in language). When religious believers are not reflecting but simply using God-talk, it comes to be their active use.
Certainly we know what we mean when we say of a fellow human being that he has a loving disposition. But what does 'loving' mean when it is transferred to a Being who is defined, inter alia, as having no body, so that he cannot be thought of as performing any actions? 29 When used in secular discourses, 'loving' has a firm foundation but when used in certain key religious discourses, it is quite unclear what, if anything, is meant. Some native speakers do not understand, or at leastfeel they do not understand, its use in a religious context and many religious believers think that its use is somehow stretched or analogical or symbolic or linked with experiences that can be interpreted in conflicting ways.
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion by Kai Nielsen (auth.)