According to a standard theory of religious language, it should be taken at face value. Opposition to this face-value approach has tended to offer radical alternatives, for instance, that indicative religious utterances are not assertions but express a different speech act, or that religious utterances do not communicate beliefs in what is said. This chapter brings together this debate with contemporary constitutive norm theories of assertion. The chapter defends a novel ‘moderate’ theory of religious affirmation that rejects both the face-value and opposition approaches. It argues that religious affirmations are normatively distinct from assertions, and it argues that a theory of religious affirmation should not undermine either the face-value representational content or belief-reporting role of indicative religious utterances. The moderate theory shows how it is possible to do justice to the distinctiveness of religious discourse while staying faithful to the evidence about how speakers use religious language.
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