Sunday’s Sermon

When contemporary atheists criticise religious beliefs, they usually criticise beliefs that only crude religious thinkers embrace. Or so some people claim. The beliefs of the sophisticated religious believer, it’s suggested, are immune to such assaults.

Those making this kind of response often appeal to the later work of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) – in particular, to remarks he made in Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief (1967) and Culture and Value (1970), both published posthumously. Wittgenstein made a number of interesting, if rather cryptic, comments about religious belief in these books, and did seem to suggest that such atheist criticisms miss their mark.

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