Monday, 4 April 2011

In this video I explore the strengths and weaknesses of the Via Negativa.






Strengths
Weaknesses
It does not result in anthropomorphic descriptions of God which is good because we are not left with an inadequate idea of God due to our language.
It results in a very limited understanding off God and is a very disengaging way to discuss God. 
More respectful - quote Mainmonides who suggests the Via Positiva is improper and disrespectful.
It is not a very true reflection of how religious people talk about god and how they think he should be talked about.
Supports the view of many mystics that God is mystic and transcendent and provides a way in which we can accept this as well as talking about God.
The via negativa suggests that no positive statements can be made but by asserting the negative it implies that a positive statement must exist. 
Today many Christians fail to see the importance of worship so the VN acknowledges that the realms of the divine is a mystery and reminds us of the importance of worship.
Mel Thompson, highlights that equivocal language is even more problematic than univocal because it fails to convey any information at all.
Supports the Judaeo-Christian idea that we are contingent beings and God is necessary hence why human language can only be used to communicate information about contingent things.
Tyler and Reid, suggest that one cannot distinguish between ‘atheism and theism’ because if only ever talk negatively about then God we are essentially rejecting him.
It comes closest to meeting the challenges presented by logical positivists.
Pseudo-Dionysius with his ideas of the VN introduces the VP and both theories can only work together complimentary not on their own.

Could be seen as dated and anachronistic - advances in Biblical theology have helped to make the VN outdates.
The sixth century understanding of the resurrection was different - manifestation of God but not God himself?
There are many occasions where God has directly displayed his character to humans e.g. Moses and the burning bush hence there is evidence to states that we can make positive statements. Hick argues that Dionysius cannot claim that God is ineffable is he revealed through the resurrection and incarnation.

Hick points out it is a contradiction to say that God is beyond human comprehension yet suggest he can be found in the Bible.

Brian Davis argues that by saying what something is not does not give an indication of what it is. How useful is the VN and is it valuable?

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