Religious influence and its protection

Lewin, David (2024) Religious influence and its protection. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 58 (1). pp. 128-135. ISSN 0309-8249 (

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John Tillson’s book Children, Religion and the Ethics of Influence addresses several themes: the ground and nature of ethical responsibility; the means and goals of ethical formative influence; the nature and ground of religious belief. In this article, I focus on the issue of justification for educational influence in general. Attention to this issue could avoid some intractable problems of specifically religious influence, most particularly the challenge of providing satisfactory criteria for what belongs to the category of religion. Whilst there may be important reasons for examining specifically religious influence, I argue that religious influence is not fundamentally different from other forms of influence, and that the logic of the ethics of influence in general would encompass the logic of religious influence. If the educator is to justify certain forms of influence, then they should employ a kind of restraint: the educator should influence whilst simultaneously protect the influencee from that very influence.