Scepticism pp 61-88 | Cite as

Some Theological Counters

  • Kai Nielsen
Part of the New Studies in the Philosophy of Religion book series (NSPR)


We have seen that neither talk of God as being itself and the like nor claims about God being an utterly other ineffable reality will help us to make sense of religion. Rather, they lead or at least should lead us to the belief, as Feuerbach phrased it, ‘that nonsense is the essence of theology.’ In sum, we should recognise that in these directions it is unlikely to be the case that we can make sense of non-anthropomorphic God-talk or understand how it could be that the putative truth-claims of religion could be genuine truth-claims. But to let the case for scepticism rest here is a mistake, for there are more sophisticated attempts to exhibit the relevance of experience to God-talk than those we have hitherto examined. I have in mind here the work of Donald Evans, Ninian Smart, Ian Crombie, Ian Ramsey and Gordon Kaufman.1 They have all, though in somewhat different ways, given us complicated and sophisticated analyses of the concept of God and of the experiential bases of God-talk — arguments which do not fall prey to my earlier arguments about the incoherence of talk of experiencing the presence of God. I cannot examine all their arguments in their variety and detail but I want to face some of the core considerations here.


Adequate Description Finite Limiter Ultimate Limit Religious People Musical Composition 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Donald Evans, Science and Religion; Donald Evans, The Logic of Self-Involvement, (New York, Herder & Herder, 1969);Ninian Smart, Reasons and Faiths (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958)Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Ian Crombie, ‘The Possibility of Theological Statements’, in Basil Mitchell (ed.), Faith and Logic (Allen & Unwin, London, 1957) pp. 31–83.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kai Nielsen 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kai Nielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of CalgaryCanada

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