I don’t know who made the above video, but I find it moving, and I like the take-away message from it. The philosophical questions of religion, because they dwell upon issues of infinity and moral reasoning, can assist in the training of the mind (as the anecdote from Einstein’s life illustrates). You don’t know how contingent ideas will work in the minds of children. Blake was certainly not harmed by his Swedenborgian religious upbringing (or, more accurately, his artistic gifts were not diminished by it, and they shape his work and assist its coherence). Likewise, the budding scientist may make of theology—and the questions of theology—a foil for the development of reflection. In any case, the Manichean separation of religion and mind, as posited by atheists, is a canard. Human beings are a metacognitive overgoing species, and religious reasoning is a form of metacognitive overgoing. When I hear that someone has taken their children out of public schools, and put them in a Catholic or Protestant school, I don’t, as an agnostic, recoil in horror. I think, instead, that it might well be better for children to dwell in places where the ontological mystery is taken seriously, and not in places where the mind is placed into decoherence and focused solely on functionalism and pragmatism (as is the case in public schools). Children’s minds, to flourish, need serious foils (even in the rejection of those foils). Religion is a serious foil.
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