By Humphrey Palmer (auth.)
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Additional resources for Analogy: A Study of Qualification and Argument in Theology
ANALOGY AND ARGUMENTS 21 haze of qualifications and re-definitions. The plain truth is that they are not Christians, and that their complex reformulated non-faith is not Christianity'. 14 Note first that this objection does not undercut the enquiry here proposed; it takes one side in the debate and tries to shout the others down. And it does this for a religious reason. The objector finds the discussion too disturbing to his own faith, and excuses himself from reflecting on it by denying the name of Christian to those who disagree with him.
Well, a celibate is someone determined simply to keep off: for a man, to keep off women; for a woman, men. Now - to make our example even more concrete and specific and positive - let us think of one particular man, called George, inhabiting a town of some 300,000 souls. Is he celibate? Then there are (in round figures) 100,000 women about for him to keep off. Is he married? That reduces the number to 99,999. But this reduction is statistically insignificant. For one thing, the population of women goes up whenever one turns up on a bus from somewhere else.
But anyone who takes x to be what the statement really means has failed to catch what the man who made it was really driving at. 3 One way for a statement to acquire a regular and proper second sense is for the terms composing 26 THE THEORY IN OUTLINE it to be altered in some way. They must be 'qualified'. We often think of qualification as something that happens to people; and it is commonly thought that religious teachers must be specially endowed, consecrated or inspired, and that religious learners those who genuinely 'hear' what the teachers say also require some special aptitude or gift or attitude.