Volume 85, Issue 4, Fall 2011
“It Says What It Says”
The aim of this essay is to point to some of the problems that arise in trying to clarify the distinction frequently made between literal and non-literal ways of understanding certain religious beliefs, such as the belief in the resurrection of Christ. The disagreement is sometimes taken to concern whether the words used
in the expression of belief are to be understood in a literal or a non-literal sense. It may alternatively be taken to concern whether or not religious utterances are to be understood as factual assertions. It is argued that, in either case, the application of the relevant distinction to religious expressions is problematic. It is suggested that the disagreement should be understood as one of religious attitude rather than of the interpretation of utterances.