Religionists are quick to accuse us atheists of having no respect for their beliefs. But I see absolutely no respect from them for our beliefs:
For example: I hold that fetuses are not babies or conscious aware beings and have no rights whatsoever, and that I can abort them whenever and for whatever reason I choose.
Show me how many devout Roman Catholics and Fundamental Protestants there are who respect my beliefs on this and would not label me a murderer? None, nada! Yet they want me to respect their belief that fetuses have the same rights as babies.
For another: I hold that each person can determine his/her own identity religiouswise or culturewise:
Show me how many Muslims or Jews would respect my right to call myself not Muslim or not Jewish if I were born into one of their families. Precious few I suspect yet I’m supposed to respect Muslim and Jewish identities and customs.
For another: I oppose the tax-exempt status of religion and would like all of them to pay their fair shares of our taxes which amount to about about 1 trillion dollars per year.
Show me how I would not be accused of being a communist and would not receive scores of threatening hate mail from outraged religionists. Yet I’m supposed to respect their beliefs that my tax dollars are to do to their religious institutions/schools.
So I think it’s fairly obvious religionists have virtually no respect for our fundamental views but want us to force us unilaterally to respect their beliefs. Not gonna happen!
I can respect the right to have a belief but generally I have little respect for the believer.
If a mentally challenged individual in an asylum believes that the some department of the government has implanted a transceiver into their frontal lobe and are tracking him day and night, speaking to him in his dreams, etc. I guess I respect their right to believe so, I have empathy and sympathy for them, after all - it is a sickness.
Let us say I respect the right of this person to believe what he will, would I like this person to represent me in any, way form or matter, perhaps as a legislator or government representative? Of course not.
This mentally challenged person epitomizes to me the religious believer - deserving of empathy - yes; deserving of responsibility - no.
They only care about their beliefs. They could not care less about yours. That's been my experience,anyway.
Theists take the position that mankind is not permitted to take any personal position on certain issues, notably moral ones. One is simply not permitted to be pro-choice in their view. They tell themselves that they are only doing as "God" commands. There is no choice, and it is out of their hands, and out of yours as well - like it or not.
They cannot respect our views on early abortion. Their definition of life itself probably differs from ours. Again they will say that it is commanded by "God" that fertilisation commences a sacred life. No human has the right to go against "God's" will, even if the person does not believe in "God".
This is like secular law and the court system. You cannot legitimately choose to be exempt from the law; no one in the land can. You would not like it if some dude exempted himself from the illegality of theft of your property. The law on such matters is legislated by the state, and also commanded by "God", (if you believe in "God").
I think that Islam is even more strict on matters of belief, and commands from "Allah", than for example Christianity, wrt "God". I cannot see how to reconcile some fundamental theistic and atheistic beliefs/values.
If we atheists can get more people to become atheist, then we have hope of some headway. But even atheists can disagree amongst them selves on matters, and be irrational too!
My view is that what is or is not permitted in society should be guided by secular laws, and that laws of permission do not mean laws of compulsion. I mean that if by state laws, gay marriage is permitted, or early stage abortion is permitted, then the religious are still free to abstain from those practices. They should let us be evil sinners, and let their supposed god deal with us when we die. But I don't think you'll convince any of them of that.
Once again, we're dealing with a reasoned, rational opinion vs. an irrational one, based mostly either in a flawed holy book or a stance based on an interpretation of said book, said interpretation not necessarily being rational or reasoned, either. Should we be surprised that the rational side is willing to allow the irrational opinion, if only as a matter of courtesy, while the irrational side can tolerate no opinion other than its own.
If someone can truly engineer a two-way meeting of the minds between rationality and irrationality, I'd love to know how.
Sounds like we're all agreeing here, that's good. I'm still trying to get a grip on the ANexus thing. Blogs, groups, personal pages, personal blogs embedded in groups. Busy!
I looked up "respect' just now so I'm sure of the meaning. So no, I don't respect the belief in God that some people have. They haven't "shown me the money" in any way, shape, or form. Some of them sure know how to weave a tangled knot of logic though. I do respect the believer as a human being, even if they're logic is flawed. I see it the same as respecting a person even though he/she is mentally handicapped. When they try to impose their beliefs on me in any way, then I will oppose them any way I can. THAT'S when I draw the line.
I respect people's right to believe what they want, but I'm certainly under no obligation to respect the beliefs themselves, and I definately have no respect for those who try to force their beliefs on the rest of the population. The reason theists don't respect our right to not believe in the supernatural is because atheism inevitably leads to looking critically at supernatural beliefs, and most theists think that their beliefs are above criticism. The them, just the existence of atheists is a militant attack on their beliefs, nevermind trying to offer any critical analysis of religious doctrine.
There's a lot of variation in Christainity particularily. Some very liberal Christains are pro choice. Some are pro science and think the bible is not be interpreted literally. We may have some common ground with them. Some liberal christains may not be in love with abortion, but are strong supporters of family planning even if includes sex education in the public schools and free birth control.
Science may provide some help in the family planning/birth control/abortion arena. I understand (I hope this is not too risque for our younger members) they are developing a romance enhancing condom. The purpose of this is to get more men to use condoms for pregnancy prevention, but mainly for disease prevention.
As the Christians are wont to say about gays, respect the believer not the belief.