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Durham e-Theses
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Theology and falsification

Thomas, J. C. (1973) Theology and falsification. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The falsification principle has been used to challenge the meaning of religious statements on the ground that if they are meaningful then they must exclude some possible state of affairs, and therefore be falsifiable. Much contemporary Christian dogmatics has attempted to answer this challenge by insisting that religious statements have no logical relations with factual claims and thus the meaning of such theological claims have no connection with the possibility of these claims being falsified. Insofar as this side-stepping of the falsification challenge is an attempt to insist that God is transcendent, it is in part justified. For if statements about God could be reduced, without loss of meaning to statements about the world, then the word “God" would be identical with some series of natural events, and God could not in any sense transcend the world. But the complete detachment of factual claims from religious claims, which is made by much recent christocentric dogmatics, can be maintained only at the price of making religious belief totally mind dependent. Any religion however, that claims that God has revealed himself at a particular time, in a particular place, cannot avoid making claims referring to God which are logically related to statements of fact this is particularly true of Christianity if it seriously claims to be a historical religion. For to claim that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world entails the statement that Jesus died on a cross. Thus, if it is not true as a matter of historical fact that Jesus died on the cross, it logically cannot be true that he died on the cross for the sins of the world.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:33

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