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It is an answer that Dawkins gave in the book to a question about priestly abuse of children: I was raised a Quaker, a member of the Religious Society of Friends, and lost my faith around the age of I am as much a non-believer as Dawkins is, yet I look back on my religious training positively.
We young Quakers were encouraged to think for ourselves and this was the foundation of my lifetime commitment to philosophy. The moral and social concerns of Quakers have been guides to my life as a teacher. So I cannot see religious training as abuse.
Nor is this simply because Quakers are a special case. There are Catholic beliefs, such as transubstantiation, that I could never accept, nor do I approve of every aspect of a Catholic education.
But, intellectually, I am pretty small beer compared to thinkers such as John Henry Newman, the 19th-century theologian. Socially and morally, I could never measure up to people such as Vincent de Paul or Dorothy Day, whose actions were inspired by their religious beliefs.
Atheism, or its opposite, is not just about epistemology, that is, a question of whether or not it is true that there is no god or Christian God.
It is also a matter of morality, of ethics: And if I believe in a god, am I abusing my children if I bring them up to believe in this same god? Plantinga, a Calvinist, thinks that God has given us a direct way of insight to Him.
As John Calvin wrote in These questions of whether one has a moral obligation to believe — or not — in God seem a bit strange. Even if He speaks to you — as apparently He did to Joan of Arc — He does not necessarily speak to me.
You might be making it up or be delusional. While we can have a consensus about whether or not the Eiffel Tower exists, you can see that there is a dimension of freedom around the God business that does demand judgment and commitment.
Here the moral dimension comes flooding in, in two distinct but related ways. First, are you morally obligated to believe in God, or to not believe in God?
Second, what are the consequences of God-belief? Ought you to promote a God-view for society, and teach your children about God? Morally speaking, ought you to believe in God or not? If you are hard up and spend your last pennies on a lottery ticket, it might give you comfort to think that you will win, but you have no right to believe that.
Clifford would say that you should not kid yourself in the first place. It would be wrong — morally wrong — to deceive yourself. Now what about the God question? Others, such as the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, think that He does.
People differ, but you can still come down hard on one side or the other.Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to prevent plagiarism, engage students in the writing process, and provide personalized feedback.
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