Non-Cognitivism: Cognitive?

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Non-Cognitivism: Cognitive?

Here's another essay I wrote a few months ago just now got to typing up. Critique is much obliged!

Non-cognitivism appears to me to be an arrogant stance. The notion is that the word god is nonsensical, that it is not even a word. The issue with such a stance is that most theists give us a definition for god. If a word is said to you, and you are asked how this word influences your life, you would then ask what the word means. Assuming that the word is under defined, you would say that the sentence makes no sense, as the word is not cognitive. Transposed into a theological conversation, a theist might ask you how god makes you feel, and you would promptly ask what he means by god. With our situation, the theist would give poor definitions such as ‘God is God’ or ‘God is everything’. In these cases, the word doesn’t make sense, and no answer to the original question can be given.

Our theoretical conversation however rarely happens. Theists generally do have a definition for god, however loose it may be. Here is where a problem arises, as when we are supplied with a definition of a word, it now is cognitive, or has empirical value. Such is the reasoning for examining non-cognitivism.

To further explore the stance, we should look at some definitions of known things, physical objects and concepts. The definition of god is significantly different between religions, and even between people. Various personal definitions aside, god is largely accepted to be a ruler, a creator, a being of higher intelligence. This seems to be a worthy definition, so let’s take a look at some other known words. Let’s look at chair. What is a chair? Well, a chair is something we can sit down in, and is usually at a decent height off of the ground, and generally has four legs to stand on. Some chairs however rest on bent metal rods, while others, six or more legs. The loose definition of god can be compared with that of the chair. Zeus and Allah are types of gods such as a stool and an office chair are both types of chairs. Both gods differ in appearance and in their actions, however are fundamentally the same; they rule over humans and earth. One might say that this is not good enough and argue that god, although suggested to be a being, has never physically existed and thus is absurd. However god as a concept exists and flourishes. Love exemplifies the ability of a concept to exist. No one truly denies the existence of love, and we all define it in our personal ways.

The god concept however poses an issue. Love is cognitive as is chair; however love is accepted to be a concept of the complex emotions and feelings we experience in relation to friends, family, spouses, and even material items. Love begins and ends as a concept; it is never redefined as a material entity, nor assumed to be both at once. The god concept however is thrust upon us by our parents and peers as an empirical being. God is. Once god is and not as if is, then a concept is placed into the realm of existence, without true existence. Think for a moment; what if people began to pray to their love, or talk about their love as a physical being that only they can see and hear. One would say this is absurd, but yet when people talk the same about their concept of god, it is ok, and is allowed without any real opposition. God concept worshipers are given a free pass, allowed to absurdly transmute their concept into an entity. Non-cognitivism is simply the counter to this concept-object juxtaposition. This is where one must accept that non-cognitivism is not just arrogance, but a very valid stance, and one we should consider. Concepts are only valid and cognitive as concepts, not as objects. There is no entity of love, hate, or god. They are all concepts, and once you take the concept out of it’s context, it fails the cognitive test.