Explain How the Falsification Principle Has Challenged the Meaningfulness of Religious Language and Summarise How Religion Has Responded to That Challenge

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Anthony Flew developed the falsification principle. The falsification principle states that “A statement is meaningful if the speaker is able to state (at least in theory) what would count against it”. For example the statement “all swans are pink” is only meaningful if the speaker is willing to accept the statement to be false if non pink swans are sighted. The falsification principle challenges the meaningfulness of religious language. Flew argued that religious believers don’t allow any evidence to account against their beliefs therefore Flew comes to the conclusion that religious language is meaningless. Flew uses John Wisdom’s parable of the gardener, in which there are two explorers they come across a clearing. One believes that a gardener is responsible for the clearing and the other one doesn't. There is no evidence for the believers claim however he still believes that a gardener is responsible by changing his hypothesis, the gardener is invisible. Just like a religious believer who states “god loves us” but can’t explain the contradiction of evil in the world, believers qualify their statements by explaining god’s love is not like humans love he calls this “death by a thousand qualifications”. Therefore religious language is meaningless. However religion has responded to the falsification principle. R.B Braithwaite argued that the falsification principle explains religious language as cognitive when it if in fact non cognitive and therefore cannot be falsified, religious language is therefore still meaningful. Hare also responds to the falsification principle, showing that religious statements are meaningful even though they cannot be falsified because they have a significant impact for the people using the statement. Religious believers adopt bliks for example “god is a loving father” cannot be falsified but it is still meaningful because of the
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