Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Schopenhauer on religious education
Philalethes. [...] But religions admittedly appeal, not to conviction as the result of argument, but to belief as demanded by revelation. And as the capacity for believing is strongest in childhood, special care is taken to make sure of this tender age. This has much more to do with the doctrines of belief taking root than threats and reports of miracles. If, in early childhood, certain fundamental views and doctrines are paraded with unusual solemnity, and an air of the greatest earnestness never before visible in anything else; if, at the same time, the possibility of a doubt about them be completely passed over, or touched upon only to indicate that doubt is the first step to eternal perdition, the resulting impression will be so deep that, as a rule, that is, in almost every case, doubt about them will be almost as impossible as doubt about one’s own existence. Hardly one in ten thousand will have the strength of mind to ask himself seriously and earnestly—is that true?
As the examiners say, "Discuss". Is this true today? Is it true in, say, Ibrahim Lawson's school? To what extent does it account for the religious experience that one "just knows" God exists, etc.?