Religious beliefs are not based on an historical basis andbeliefs aren’t to be treated as historical, empirical properties and so this iswhat distinguishes belief from superstition. Although, it would appear that alot of religious views are based on some form of evidential considerations, bethat a miracle or a something else, could it not be suggested that allreligious beliefs are based on superstition and would this make religiousbeliefs based on evidence inferior? Wittgenstein believes that superstition isa false science, making religion and science the same.
If this true thenreligious beliefs would have to satisfy the same requirements as science and ifit can’t then it isn’t plausible. But if religion and science are the same thenit is making religious belief superstition, so what distinguishes superstitionfrom bad belief? There is a supernatural aspect to it, treating supernaturallike the natural but having no good reason to, and so cannot be empirically proven.And so if Wittgenstein believes that religious belief becomes superstitiousthen it relies on causal nexus and creates the problem of believing in evidenceof something that isn’t there. Wittgenstein believes that religious beliefs and languageare a particular language game. So we need to understand what is distinctiveabout them, just as every game has rules which govern them and the meaning ofthe words are learned from these governing rules of words and sentences. One exampleis a game of chess, we understand how to play the game by first understandinghow each piece can be used. Wittgenstein argues that religious language canappear empirical, just as science does, as if it were discussing things andevents.
This is misleading according to Wittgenstein for when we say that ‘Godexists’, this is not a statement of fact. ‘God’ is not an object that exits aspart of the world, for it is not an entity at all, and so it is not an empiricalstatement but should be questioned in how the statement ‘God exists’ is usedand how it expresses what people believe in. This is the commitment thatWittgenstein believes guides our lives, another example to illustrate thispoint is prayer; if someone thought that prayer is a way of obtaining somethingthen they have misunderstood the nature of religious belief and so it hasbecome a superstition. According to Wittgenstein religious beliefs are unlike ourother beliefs for they are a person’s commitment that guides and shapes theirlife, they are not based on evidence or argument. Wittgenstein proposes that religiousbeliefs are neither rational nor irrational but arational.
This is because theyare not governed by any logical reasoning and are incommensurable withnon-religious beliefs.