Consider one person for whom our ignorance of what happens after death is such a fundamental fact that it acts as a pre-linguist axiom, shaping our understanding of the nature of language and the way we interpret it. The words "When we die, we go to Heaven." are a way of consoling grief and ignorance by reciting words that claim that something good will happen. The words "Death is the end." are quite similar. We like to say them because they imply that nothing bad is going to happen.
Some-one else may lack the resources of symbolism or cynicism to go beyond the simple analogy of the graveyard as airport and coffin as aeroplane. You die. You go somewhere. Nobody returns. Planes need a longer runway for take-off than for landing. Clearly the destination has a runway of intermediate length, long enough to land, too short to take off. The absence of returnees does not cast doubt on the literal and concrete nature of the destination.
People have a considerable aversion to digging beneath the surface and trying to figure out what they actually believe. I foresee Jo encountering two problems. First comes the obvious disagreement. "I don't believe in God". "Oh no! You'll burn in Hell." Second comes the attempt to have a conversation while adhering to the social convention that forbids tough questioning to find out what reality the words used are intended to point to.
In ordinary life we are happy with the distinction between the map and the territory. In religion is the Bible map or territory? If it is the territory does this make religion a word game? If some-one says "Religion is not a word game." is that a denial of a factual proposition or a move in the game? Does the speaker know? Does the speaker distinguish? How do you respond when you are not allowed to ask?
I've become intrigued by category theory. A category, A, has objects, X,Y,Z,... and morphisms f:X->Y, g:Y->Z. The theory ignores the possibility of having a function mapping the objects of one category to the objects of another. The theory concentrates instead on the concept of a functor which maps both the objects and the morphisms. The key idea is that the mapping must respect the composition of morphisms. The functor F takes f to Ff and g to Fg. What happens to the composition of f and g? If we use o for composition of morphisms in one category and * for composition of morphisms in the other, f o g : X->Z, and we must have F(f o g)= Ff * Fg.
Abandoning mathematical rigour, I like to see Meaning as a Functor from Language to Reality. Nouns refer to things. Verbs refer to actions. When we draw up a plan, writing words on paper, our notion of meaning must respect the morphisms. The composition of planed actions as we write them one below another on our sheet of paper must be faithful to the composition of actions as we carry them out, one after another.
What though is a crisis of faith? There seem to be to kinds, one superficial, one deep. The superficial kind of crisis ends up in a change of religion as when a Christian lapse for a while before becoming a Muslim. Jo's crisis seems to be of the deeper kind. Having lost faith in the words in one holy book she seems unlikely to pick up another and find that they are more convincing. She is losing faith in the functoriality of the meaning of language. She is losing faith in the idea that people can say things and are necessarily talking about things.
She is going to find that the functorial subset of language has shrunk. Words and phrases that "meant" a lot to her in the past will elicit a shrug of indifference. Can I offer her any advice in her coming difficulties with family and friends. Probably not, I've not been there myself. Nevertheless I would counsel against putting energy into "the talk" or "the big row". Religion is a word game. It is not "believe" or "disbelieve", it is "play" or "don't play". People who are still in the game will want to continue playing, but Jo needs to forget about finding a winning move, leave the game, and find something else to do with her life.
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