Mike the Infidel www

I am willing to accept that others have beliefs I might find absurd or wrong on their face. I am willing to respect their right to hold those beliefs. I’m much less tolerant of their attempts to use those beliefs to affect the lives of other people in any way.

If their beliefs are harmful, then they should be opposed, and I’ll gladly condemn them. If their beliefs are beneficial, I would challenge them to seek ways to benefit others without relying on their bizarre ideas.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and ideas, but we are not all entitled to them being rational, sensible, or correct. I’m not a fan of letting people delude themselves out of some sense of enforced fairness to all viewpoints. Some viewpoints are empirically better than others.

Posted: January 22nd 2010

See all questions answered by Mike the Infidel

flagellant www

Here are some of the reasons I cannot accept many others’ beliefs and ideas:

# Faith expects and receives reverence and too much ready acceptance despite its record of misogyny, cruelty, spouting nonsense as 'the truth’, and outright lying; it deserves even more criticism than political belief. # Religious organizations are given too many advantages in society, e.g. tax benefits; faith, i.e. belief without evidence, is treated as a virtue instead of unjustified wishful thinking, a delusion, or evidence of gullibility. The religiosi are far more abusive about atheism than we ever are about them. We only suggest that they are ignorant and misguided… # In the UK, more than twenty Anglican (Episcopalian) bishops sit by right in the upper chamber of the legislature. And in the US, for example, the vast majority of its legislature consists of people unafraid to claim 'god’ as their inspiration. # Religion is an activity for consenting adults in private. The religiosi seek to foist their beliefs on others. Personally, I object. # Comparative religious study enables us to study different religions objectively. It also shows that they can’t all be right; it is distinctly possible that they are all wrong. # Most religions promise a life after death. The more knowledge we acquire, the more idiotic this appears. # 'Holy’ books tell us little of use, nothing that is clearly divinely inspired, much that is wrong, and even more that is nasty.

Is it any wonder that secularists speak out?

Posted: November 24th 2009

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Reed Braden www

If everyone accepted everyone else’s beliefs, everyone would be exactly the same. I’m going to assume that you’re poorly parroting someone who asked the same question but used the word respect instead of accept. That makes more sense and allows for a fuller, broader answer.

I respect your right to believe whatever you want to believe, your right to discuss your beliefs with anyone and your right to practice your beliefs with a few common-sense restrictions. (Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”)

I respect those rights of yours, and I would ask that you respect my rights to believe, practice, discuss, all of the above or none of the above. If I was a lawyer, I would have no problem arguing a case for a church whose rights have been infringed. I don’t know about you, but I love having my guaranteed rights, and I believe that everyone should have as many rights as can possibly be allowed without a collapse into anarchy. (ex., I would prefer you didn’t have the right to shoot people in the face on a whim.)

I do not respect your imagined “right” to tell me what I can and can’t do in the bedroom. I do not respect your imagined “right” to tell me who I can and can’t marry. I do not respect your imagined “right” to debase and undermine the teaching of evidence-based science to schoolchildren. I do not respect your imagined “right” to deny me employment, partnership benefits, adoption privilege or anything else based on my anti-religious beliefs or my sexuality.

If you believe that who I am makes me lesser than you, I cannot respect that belief. All men (and women) were created equal. If your beliefs say otherwise, then I say, “Fuck your beliefs.”

However much I respect your right to believe, I will never respect a belief on the sole basis that you or anyone else believes it. You must be able to prove to me that your beliefs demand respect. And that is why I debate my theist friends. I respect them, so I debate their beliefs and, in so doing, give them the opportunity to either enrich, erode or persuade me of their beliefs. And many of my theistic friends have religious beliefs that I can respect. Not because they copied them straight from their holy books and into their heads, but because they can give rational, legitimate reasons why they believe those things. I don’t agree with them, but I respect some of their beliefs. And that respect spawned from friendly, constructive debate.

It would be downright disrespectful of me to refuse to discuss the areas where our beliefs differ. In showing you the intricacies of my beliefs while exploring the intricacies of yours, we can grow closer to each other and learn from each other, even if we never agree.

If I did what many Christians mean when they say, “Respect my beliefs,” and never debated, dissected or discussed them, neither of us could learn or grow from our mutual differences. Neither of us could learn more about what each other believes and why they believe it. A personal belief, especially one about politics, religion or philosophy, is a major part of one’s personality. To avoid that discussion is to never fully know the other person. That unwillingness to discover who someone is is, in my opinion, entirely and vulgarly disrespectful.

Posted: November 24th 2009

See all questions answered by Reed Braden

bitbutter www

It’s not clear to me exactly what it means, in the context of the question, to 'accept’ other people’s ideas. If it means refraining from challenging ideas that we disagree with, then I think that would be a great shame; We learn by having our ideas challenged, and we rob others (and ourselves) of the chance to learn when we keep our criticisms to ourselves.

Posted: November 23rd 2009

See all questions answered by bitbutter


You mean like sexism, racism, homophobia, and social Darwinism? No thanks.

However, if as an consenting adult who is not breaking any laws, it is none of my business what you believe. But, I do not have to accept them as being sensible beliefs or holding any relevance to me – they are yours, not mine. However, if you bring your ideas to the public – especially the tax-paying – discussion table, expect them to be challenged vigorously.

No idea or belief is exempt from criticism. Please do not equate analysis of an idea to mean that a person won’t be able or be allowed to believe in it. To be clearer, though I may accept your right to hold beliefs of your volition, I do not accept the demand of your expecting to be exempt from criticism. Our critical discussions are essential to our human global community.

You need to examine why you are so sensitive to the criticism of your beliefs. Is it because it may make you think and reevaluate your beliefs? If so, don’t shy away from thinking with its corollary of learning from your errors. It is one of the joys of being human, not to mention the basis of our progress.

Posted: November 23rd 2009

See all questions answered by logicel


Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum