What does "terms" mean in the following sentence?

But I believe the theory of a creator of the universe can be explained in rational terms


"Terms" is being used here in the sense of "expressions" or "propositions". The writer is declaring that his theory can be expressed in such a way that it can be tested by rational argument as distinct from the usual emotional shouting-match. This does not necessarily mean that the writer's theory is true, though from context the writer clearly believes that it is and expects that a dispassionate rational analysis of his argument will support him.


This 'terms' is from the same origin as 'terminology' - i.e. the words and definitions used to describe a topic.


Rational terms is an idiomatic phrase, and breaking down idioms into their constituent parts is rarely a productive exercise. That said, "terms" is more or less a synonym of "words", and "rational" can mean "not confusing, logical", so in this case you can actually arrive at something resembling the actual meaning by looking at the parts: in rational terms = using logical words (as opposed to emotional or politically-charged words or legalese or any similar obfuscation).


This means that the theory of a creator of the universe can be defined in such a way that everyone can agree upon. So 'rational terms' in this case would be those definitions that everyone can agree upon.

Now, whether that's true or not is completely subjective.

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