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In recent work on the philosophy of religion there has been a great deal of concentration on what John Hick in his Philosophy of Religion calls the peculiarity of religious language Hick is referring to the fact that when language is used either to describe God or to make any kind of religious statement it is used in ways that quickly reveal difficulties of meaning These problems have to do with the fact that while religious statements seem to have all the authority of factual statements it is quite clearly not possible to regard them as actually being equivalently authoritative Examples 1 Jesus loves Kyle and Jim Kyle loves Jim 2 God has ordered me to do this 3 My father has ordered me to stay in tonight In the case of statement 1 it would be straightforward to discover evidence for or against the truth of the statement that Kyle loves Jim If one could listen to their private conversations in class for example it would not be difficult to interpret the affection of Kyle for Jim Let us suggest that if Kyle were ill or upset Jims conduct towards him would demonstrate his love We could go on with this list and lengthen it considerably It would surely be rather more difficult to provide similar validation of the statement that Jesus loves Kyle and Jim for in attempting to do so one would need to address such intractable questions as these Examples - How would we go about demonstrating either the truth or the falsity of this statement - If Kyle said that he did not believe it was true and Jim said that he did who would be speaking the truth - If the roof were blown off their house in a terrible storm would this indicate that Jesus did not love them - If this statement is neither true nor false would Jim and Kyle
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