Life After Death and Religious Language

  • Wittgenstein propounded the ‘language game theory’ – this was the idea that different aspects of life have their own language and their own rules and unless you were familiar with them you could not play them properly.
  • For example you cannot hope to examine religious claims by using scientific method any more than you could referee a football match using netball rules.
  • Concept of life after death is a part of the religious language game
  • And some would argue that it can only be fully understood by those who play that game i.e. believers
  • Yet it is a subject of concern to most people.
  • In a debate between a non-religious person and a believer the latter will often retreat because his claims are based on non-empirical evidence and apparently illogical arguments.
  • Logical Positivists wondered whether the language of life after death was meaningful at all?
  • Since life after death is a subject without empirical proof and beyond experience it cannot
    be verified and it cannot be falsified.
  • Believers can be charged with not allowing anything to count against their belief and therefore this makes analysis of their claims pointless.
  • Believers would counter this claim as John Hick did by claiming that verification is
    indeed possible – eschatologically – i.e. at the end, at death!
  • Non-believers should not be demanding only proof in the here and now – doing so will only ensure that the concept of life after death will forever remain incomprehensible.


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