Many philosophers as well as many non-philosophers assume that there is no
problem about just what religious belief is. They assume that it is something
its adherents would like treated along the lines of (if not wholly in the same
way as) any other form of belief. But because religious belief does not relate
to any empirical entity or person then the belief element in it is conceived of
as directed to some trans-empirical or metaphysical realm.
Both Tolstoy and Wittgenstein conceived of religious belief in a very
different way from this. They conceded, I believe, that some forms of
religious belief do seem to be directed at some apparently trans-empirical
Being. However, for them, the genuine religious spirit involves something else.
We can best appreciate their shared conception in terms of what I shall call
an ‘authentic orientation to the world’.
My purpose in this paper is to elucidate just what this ‘authentic
orientation’ consists of and to show how it can be said to be
something that both
Tolstoy and Wittgenstein had essentially the same view of.