As a Christian, you may have been challenged by the claim that your proposition that God exists is meaningless. This is a different argument to the one that says that the proposition is false. Atheists are more likely to say that the proposition is false, but there are still some who think it is meaningless, which is to say that it is neither true nor false. Where does the idea that ‘God exists’ is meaningless come from and what ought to be the Christian response?
The philosopher A J Ayer (1910-1989) is perhaps most well-known for the verification principle that he thought means that ‘God exists’ is a meaningless thing to propose. According to his verification principle:
A statement is only meaningful if, and only if, it can be verified.
A statement can be verified if there are grounds for thinking it is true or false.
For example, if I say that the River Thames flows through London, I can verify this by going to London and seeing for myself. I can verify it also by asking trustworthy people and consulting guide books and maps. I do not need evidence that puts the statement beyond reasonable doubt; I just need some evidence that it is true or false for the statement to be verifiable and therefore meaningful.