“There is no possibility of demonstrating the existence of God … there can be no way of proving that the existence of a god, such as the God of Christianity, is even probable … no sentence which purports to describe the nature of a transcendent god can possess any literal significance … all utterances about the nature of God are nonsensical … to say that there is something imperceptible inside a man, which is his soul or his real self, and that it goes on living after he is dead, is to make a metaphysical assertion which has no more factual content than the assertion that there is a transcendent god … unless (the theist) can formulate his ‘knowledge’ in propositions that are empirically verifiable, we may be sure that he is deceiving himself.” Such are some of the statements made by Professor A. J. Ayer in his celebrated book Language, Truth, and Logic (which was first published in 1936 (second, revised, edition, 1946). If the contemporary linguistic philosophy, also known as logical positivism, of which Professor Ayer is so dynamic an advocate, is right, then it is folly for Christians to talk about God.
A vigorous criticism of the position propounded by Professor Ayer and others has now appeared with the publication of Dr. E. L. Mascall’s latest book entitled Words and Images (Longmans, 12s.6d.). Dr. Mascall complains of Professor Ayer that, “having made the apparently innocent and plausible assertion that all meaningful assertions must have some reference to experience, he then goes on to limit the meaning of experience in the narrowest and most arbitrary way to the experience of the bodily senses.” It is contended by Dr. Mascall that “the fundamental criterion of meaningfulness is not “sense-verifiability but intelligibility” ...1
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