Wittgenstein Atheism & Belief
Here is a quote from Ray Monk's book on the great philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. I think it is important and necessary for the present dialogical climate:
In his lectures on religious belief he concentrates only on the first part of this conviction-- the denial of the necessity to have reasons for religious beliefs. In their rejection of the relevance of the scientific mode of thought, these lectures are of a piece with those on aesthetics. They might be seen as an elaboration of his remark to Drury: 'Russell and the parsons between them have done infinite harm, infinite harm.' Why pair Russell and the parsons in the one condemnation? Because both have encouraged the idea that a philosophical justification for religious beliefs is necessary for those religious beliefs to be given any credence. Both the atheist, who scorns religion because he has found no evidence for its tenets, and the believer, who attempts to prove the existence of God, have fallen victim to the 'other'-- to the idol-worship of the scientific style of thinking. Religious beliefs are not analogous to scientific theories, and should not be accepted or rejected using the same evidential criteria.This is not to negate or affirm either position. It is only to say that the same criteria cannot be used by both to negate or affirm either position.