Wittgenstein, Dewey, and the possibility of religion

John Dewey points out in A Common Faith (1934) that what stands in the way of religious belief for many is the apparent commitment of Western religious traditions to supernatural phenomena and questionable historical claims. We are to accept claims that in any other context we would find laughable. Are we to believe that water can be turned into wine without the benefit of the fermentation process? Are we to swallow the claim that there is such a phenomenon as the spontaneous conception of a child without the intervention of the traditional technique? Were we to confront these claims in any but a religious context, we would dismiss them as the workings of an overactive imagination or simple cover for an overactive sex life. But for the devout believer, there is no doubt even with a paucity of evidence. At the same time, the rise of science has forcibly suggested the idea that the natural world is self-contained and, if explainable, that explanation will come from within. There seems to be no room for the traditional God and, much as one might wish otherwise, nothing for him to do. Perhaps...
Keywords Ludwig Wittgenstein  John Dewey  Philosophy of religion
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DOI 10.1353/jsp.2006.0010
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Andrew Fiala (2009). Militant Atheism, Pragmatism, and the God-Shaped Hole. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (3):139 - 151.

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