Wittgenstein demonstrated, throughout his life, a distinct interest (and at times unusual absorption) in religious questions. He normally did not consider those questions suitable for philosophical exploration. In his early Tractatus, for instance, he placed God - alongside goodness and beauty - on the far side of the line he drew between what we can and cannot speak about. His scientifically-minded followers took this as a license to denigrate religious talk as "meaningless", but Wittgenstein made clear that he considered the unwritten half of his book to be more important than the written half.
Tonight we'll examine some of Wittgenstein's remarks from late in his career - after he had abandoned the earlier binary distinction between speakable and unspeakable domains, replacing it with a more subtle and pragmatic picture of numerous, ongoing "language-games". A language-game constitutes an entire form of life and activity, involving but not reducible to linguistic behavior. The philosopher's task, in Wittgenstein's view, centers on acquiring familiarity with the language-games we actually use and inhabit when asking questions. To better understand what God is, for instance, we must first and foremost understand how people speak about God and how they behave in relation to what they say.
As with his better-known investigations into concepts like language, mind, and knowledge, Wittgenstein insists that we ask, not whether religious claims are amenable to one or another kind of verification or falsification, but whether we even understand what is going on when people begin thinking and speaking them in the first place.
Here is the text of the relevant lectures: