The fundamental question of the truth
Scott Aikin and Robert Talisse have doubts about Mary Warnock’s way of defending the social value of religious belief.
According to religious believers, their beliefs are not merely useful social instruments or efficient means for instilling good moral habits. They are rather commitments to very particular metaphysical, ontological, and epistemological views. These views provide the basis for the moral and communal practices among religious believers that Warnock finds socially valuable. But the social value of the practices provides no defense for the underlying views, all of which are, we contend, false. No discussion of the merits of religious practices and institutions should be permitted to evade the fundamental question of the truth of distinctively religious claims.
That is what I too think also likewise. I think that is one of the things that separate me and other gnus from the “be nice to religion” crowd. They are very concerned with political, instrumental matters like unity, cohesion, community, universal affection, sensitivity, solidarity, outreach, mutual understanding, and avoiding the remotest possibility of offending anyone by disputing an idea. We are more concerned with trying to think clearly and honestly about particular metaphysical, ontological, and epistemological views. Their concerns are more social or political, ours are more epistemological. This makes a difference.