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Religious language is confessional: Rhetorical analysis on Christian faith

Updated on February 12, 2010

Is Christianity true?

Christians testify that Jesus is the Lord and that salvation of humanity is granted by God when humans accept Jesus as their savior. Is this true? I say, "Of course, it's true if you're a Christian."

The nature of religious language is confessional. It's never scientific/objective. When St. Paul says that Christ died for the sins of humanity, he was speaking a confessional language. Paul admitted (in the Letter to the Romans) that his efforts to fulfill God's will through obeying the Law failed. He humbly acknowledged that he was not able to save himself through his own efforts. Instead, he accepted God's grace that was demonstrated in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. His confessions are very moving to anyone who reads his letter to the Romans. 

As a non Christian, I TOTALLY respect Paul's confession. I even feel happy for him that he feels that he has been saved. I say, "Congratulations, Paul. I am happy for you that you found salvation in Jesus."

Religious language is essentially a confessional type. It is totally subjective and existential. It the truth for those who confess. Did Jesus die on the cross for the sins of the world? Absolutely, if you're a Christian. I have absolutely no problem with this claim made by Christians.

Islamic faith testifies that there is only One God and that Mohammad is the true and final prophet. Koran is the book that contains the most pure and final revelation of Allah (The God). Is this true? Absolutely, if you're a Muslim. I have absolutely no problem with this claim made by Muslims.

To me, the key to people of different religious faiths getting along well with each other lies in knowing the nature of our language. Let me give you another example.  On Valentine's Day, many guys will confess to their lovely wives or girlsfriends: Honey, you're the most beautiful woman in the whole world, and you are the one whom I will pledge my love to forever. If my buddy Tom says that to his lovely girlfriend, Jenny, will I be upset? Maybe I should be very upset because my wife, Mary, is better looking than Jenny???  Of course, I won't be upset. I say, "Tom, I'm happy that you're happy with Jenny."

Scientific, legal, and economic language is entirely different from that of religious/confessional language. Examples: The earth is within the solar system; The sale of an illegal drug is a federal crime; America's GDP is the largest in the world. Are these statements true? Absolutely, and we can demonstrate it. These statements can be verified, and they are true no matter who you talk to.

Conclusion: Religious truth is a subjective truth. It's a truth to live by. It's true for those who embrace it. So, Christians can talk about their beliefs in the comfort of their church as an iron clad, etched in the stone truth. But, if they go outside the comfort of their own church, they really should understand that other folks have their respective truth, too.  Trying to convert Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others will be quite offensive.

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    • dfager profile image

      dfager 

      8 years ago from Federal Way, Washington

      It would seem that a subjective faith would be much stronger and a more personal relationship with God.

    • Mikio profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikio 

      8 years ago

      Thank you, Susana S for your comment and insight. I, too, focus on the fundamental spiritual teachings of various religions. My favorite is the prayer of St. Francis.

      Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

      where there is injury,pardon;

      where there is doubt, faith;

      where there is despair, hope;

      where there is darkness, light;

      and where there is sadness, joy.

      O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

      to be consoled as to console;

      to be understood as to understand;

      to be loved as to love.

      For it is in giving that we receive;

      it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

      and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana Serer 

      8 years ago from UK

      Great hub and great comments! I agree totally with your observations on language usage to express faith based ideology.

      My own approach to religion has been to find the commonalities and the fundamental spiritual teachings and ignore the man-made padding. At the end of the day the spiritual messages are the same - Love, forgiveness, compassion. Focussing on, and developing these characteristics makes sense to me since our time on earth is limited.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 

      8 years ago from Italy

      Great comment tonymac. :) You're definitely right.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Well done - a very brilliant exposition. It is sure to raise the ire of the absolutists among us, though! It is very important to recognise that whenever we speak, even scientifically, we are using metaphors, and so we need to understand the metaphors that each of us use to express ourselves so that we can begin to understand each other. And that understanding is the basis of living together.

      Even Jesus recognised this, according to the Gospel. I love the quote where he says (Matthew 5: 46 - 47): "If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much?" Jesus seems to have understood the need to reach out to others, not to convert them, but to understand them, which means to understand their metaphors, their frame of reference. Why can't we all do that instead of pushing our frame of reference, our metaphors, onto others and expecting them to be like us?

      Thanks for a super Hub.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 

      8 years ago from Italy

      I think that every religion should just admit that they are all man made and that everyone is based on the point of view, or universal point of view of a man. Christians have Christ, Muslims have Mohammad, Buddhists have Buddha and so on. Usually there is always a single man beside every religion. Even Taoism, which is more a philosophy, has Lao Tzu. Accepting that every religion is based on men's teaching would create a better environment. And there is nothing wrong in having a man as an example to live a better life. Problems arises when people start saying I'm the preferred of God and you are not, or only I can understand what God is saying.... But this is just my opinion. :) Good hub Mikio. Rated up.

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