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´╗┐Critically compare the use of symbol with the use of myth to express human understanding of God. (35 marks)
Symbols convey emotive meaning to human beings and represent an event or idea that allows us to gain an understanding on a deeper level about a concept. On the other hand, whilst myths also can have emotive meanings for humans, it is a story that conveys a truth but is not factually true. The philosopher John Hick believes that myths can be helpful for people understanding Jesus and his importance. I agree with this view as I believe that myths are better for the enhancement of human understanding of God as a story would definitely teach more and be more effective when compared to a symbol which solely represents an idea.
Paul Tillich (1886-1965) argued that positive statements can be made about God through the application of symbols. He stated that a symbol ''participates in that to which it points'', for instance, a flag symbolises the nation it represents and in some form it partakes in the power and glory of that very nation. So, Tillich is proposing that through symbols we are able to learn and understand something of God, but our words become symbolic rather than literal. Tillich also goes onto suggesting that religious symbols function almost like our appreciation of the arts. Symbols, like the arts, work on a deep and powerful level. He states that a symbol unlocks something within our soul and expresses something about the ultimate. . Tillich speaks about God as ''the ground of being'' and puts forward that this is the only non-symbolic statement that can be made about him. God is the basis and meaning of all that exists. However, Tillich can be critiqued in many different ways for his ideas. We need to consider the question, is all religious language symbolic? When we say ''God is good'' surely this does have a literal meaning to humans. The majority of Christians would argue that the creation stories, as an example, are true in some sense...

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