A lot of theists have told me "You have to respect religion!" When I point out logical holes in it, or how ridiculous it sounds to believe in a 2,000 year old man who is his own father is. They expect me and other non-theists to show respect for their beliefs, yet many theists have no problem professing their religious beliefs to non-theists, but point out the flaws of their beliefs is simply "disrespectful"
What are your thoughts on this?

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Agreed. I respect beliefs that are well-considered and thoroughly researched, not arbitrarily chosen based on feelings.
I think people should be respected; beliefs should be, at best, questioned.
Respect? No.

I will respect the right of others to speak and believe what they want to freely, given that what they say does not seriously harm others. But that doesn't mean I have to respect everyone's views, nor does it mean every moronic view deserves attention, or even merits a counter-argument.

It seems that society has gotten to the point where any idiot with an opinion feels that it MUST deserve credibility. I believe this attitude is linked to the idea that because everyone has equal voting power (in theory, anyway), then all of our opinions deserve some level of (if not equal) credibility. After all, we're all equally educated, intelligent, and have had the same experiences, right? Wrong. The idea of social equality has gone a bit too far in this case, I think.

Creationists are not the only ones at fault, and the problem extends to politicians, journalists, radio hosts, republicans, democrats, socialists etc. In any case, it needs to stop by forcing people to follow the scientific method when they open their mouths, and to hold people accountable when no evidence exists to support their ideas. That's the only way free speech can thrive.
They deserve as much respect as someones taste in food or music. As much respect as their sexual orientation. As much respect as their choice in clothes, or car.
Most of the time you wouldn't (or shouldn't) criticize people for these things, nor would you constantly brag about them and try and pressure other people into being the same as you.

I won't criticize peoples beliefs unless they bring it up first. Except on my blog, then it's fair game.
I had a very emotional personal experience with this tonight. I made a special dinner and invited my parents over. If I don't take the initiative, I don't see them, as I've abandoned their religion. Things were going well. I ask my father to pray when he comes over, it's harmless to me and it makes him feel good. It's not dishonest, because he knows that my son and I don't believe in the one he's speaking to. Some may take offense at this, but I go to great lengths to show tolerance for the cherished beliefs of others, so long as they respect that their views are not held by all.

A little later a couple nephews came by-from the other side of the family. In no time, my father started proselytizing to the oldest of the two. I was in earshot. Not eavesdropping on purpose, just listening while I watched some TV. When he attempted to make definite arrangements to visit to study the Bible with him, I had to intervene. I joined them at the table and requested that if he was going to proselytize in my home, that he make full disclosure of his beliefs, not sugarcoating them as is the practice when recruiting for members. I guess I was quite emotional. He told my mother that they had to leave. She was upset that we'd gotten into religion. I explained that I had steered clear of the minefield, but when he started preaching to a young impressionable person in my home he would have to attempt to defend his beliefs against logic. There was some more heated conversation as they left. I explained that it's brought me no joy over the last few years to see them so disappointed by my rejection of their beliefs, but I thought it more respectful to them to be honest than to pretend to believe.

I thought I'd never speak to my father again. It was that bad.

He called after a couple of hours to apologize for his poor judgment. We had a nice long chat. I explained that I defend his right to share his faith with whomever he wishes, in my home, anywhere. But I also made it clear that it would be impossible for me to hear him present as fact things that are simply not true without challenging it. If he has the truth, then he has nothing to fear from scrutiny. He couldn't refute this, even though it clearly contradicts his earlier actions. Things ended on a positive note and he acknowledged that nonbelievers are capable of living loving, generous and fulfilling lives. I'm relieved that I didn't lose my dad tonight. Reason prevailed, this time.
Wow. I am so impressed. I'm 36, and if I ever said anything like this to my mother, I don't know what the heck would happen. I suppose it's good I live in New Zealand and she lives in Ohio. The last time we got into it (which was several years ago), I just backed down and wished I was way across the ocean. My parents never take me seriously. For example, the last thing my mom said was, "When you're old and dying, you'll PRAY." So, I'm pretty sure that reason will never prevail with them. I applaud you for refusing to allow the preaching to the kids. That is exemplary. I don't have kids, but I think I'd have to step in as well with young family members (although I'd be the only one, being in a family full of Catholics and other random god-fearing people). I'd like to hope that I would absolutely drop the cowardice with my parents when it comes to impressionable young minds.
I don't think you're cowardly. You love your parents and you're afraid of what might happen if you stand up to them. That's completely understandable. I'm 36 too. It's not easy knowing that you've broken your parents' hearts just by choosing to be authentic.
With many (probably most) followers of Christianity, my disbelief means that I will suffer eternally (not just suffer, but suffer as much as it is possible for me to suffer) and they are okay with that because they AGREE that I deserve it for my disbelief. For many of the others, my disbelief means that they look down on me, thinking me "lost", or "spiritually blind", or any number of other condescending notions.

There's no respect in these relationships, but that's not my fault.
I strive to give as much respect as I get.

KJ brings up a good point: If someone wants to listen to country music - which is nails on a chalkboard to me - that's their choice. But as soon as they insist on playing it around me, tell me I'm a lesser person for not listening to it, then any and all criticism becomes fair game.

I respect someone's right to wear a head scarf or religious jewelry. But don't dare tell me the pentagram I'm wearing today is somehow "shoving it down your throat."

I respect someone's right to wear a "Jesus is Lord" or inspiring bible verse t-shirt. But then don't bitch at me when I wear a "Jesus is Santa Claus for Adults" or evil bible verse t-shirt.

I respect (albeit loathe) someone's right to tell their kid the world was dreamed into existence by whatever imaginary friend. But don't try and tell me that is science and needs to be in a public science class.
When I first gravitated towards atheism years ago, I thought a lot about this issue. I guess I just didn't want to offend anybody and often went out of my way to qualify my "I'm an atheist" disclosure with, "But, I respect whatever it is you choose to believe in". Now, I don't give a s@#$. No, we should absolutely not have to respect religion just because it exists. Much of it is nonsense and doesn't deserve respect. Theists could care less about respecting us anyways. I see no reason to give them a break, just because they insist on genuflecting to some invisible man in the sky (whether there is proof or not that he's there). I give respect on whether one is a good person or not, irrespective of their religiosity or lack thereof. I think it's quite possible to respect a person and not respect their religiousness. It makes being friends with people from all walks of life easier - and being my friend if you're religious means you'd better bloody well keep your god out of my face, and in kind, I won't bombard you with my godlessness. Of course, with my family, since I get hounded all the time about my atheism, I respect them less and less as people every day (especially since I take pains to refrain from attacking their idiotic beliefs).
We have to respect their right to believe what they wish. We do not have to respect their beliefs. In fact, it would be the height of dishonesty to say that you respect what you actually feel is quite silly and wrong.

They'll just have to live with it, as it is no longer socailly acceptable for them to kill everyone who does not agree with them.
I recently wrote an article on a related topic:
http://news.guelphmercury.com/Life/article/542475

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