John Hick – The Parable of the Celestial City

PARABLE OF THE CELESTIAL CITY

John Hick

The parable points to the possibility of eschatological verification, whereby in the next life our belief will be proved true or false (verified). Many religious statements rest on the claim that there is an afterlife. This removes the grounds for rational doubt (the key criteria for falsification, according to Hick).

“Two men are travelling together along a road. One of them believes that it leads to the Celestial City, the other that it leads nowhere. But since this is the only road there is, both must travel it. Neither has been this way before, therefore neither is able to say what they will find around each corner. During their journey they meet with moments of refreshment and delight, and with moments of hardship and danger. All the time one of them thinks of his journey as a pilgrimage to the Celestial City … The other, however, believes none of this, and sees their journey as an unavoidable and aimless ramble … Yet, when they turn the last corner, it will be apparent that one of them has been right all the time and the other wrong…”

From Basil Mitchell’s The Philosophy of Religion

 

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