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Why should I respect religious beliefs if believers cannot respect themselves?

If I was to consider the most challenging moral factor for my blog it would be the question- ‘Is it right to challenge the beliefs of others?’

I firmly believe that people should be free to believe what they want, with a couple of exceptions:

  • The beliefs do not have a damaging effect on others
  • Those in a position of power or with a large following do not use their influence to spread an ideology lacking in evidence

I consider politicians, sports/music/movie stars a risk. Any job that gains a huge audience and isn’t primarialy focused on unlocking life’s biggest mysteries carries the risk of evidence deprived claims. If Katy Perry thanked God on her Twitter feed, tens of millions more earthlings are going to be exposed to this claim than a humble yet valuable scientific discovery in New Scientist magazine.

It isn’t immoral to question beliefs with this in mind. I actually find it immoral to ignore them! Another aspect of belief that I strongly dislike is the absence of any self respect and care in return for acceptance from a deity. A recent example of this is a 15 year old boy in Pakistan that decided to chop off his own hand for being blasphemous. According to the BBC YouTube channel a preacher asked the group to raise a hand if they did not believe the teachings of the Holy Prophet, the boy misheard and raised the doomed hand.

 

BBC

 
He didn’t regret a thing. Should I sit back and let people like him do what they want, or enlighten him that he doesn’t have to resort to such barbaric acts? The same goes for groups in the Phillipines that volunteer for live crucifixions. I am not a bad person for wanting such a horrific act a thing of the past- am I?!

You can’t please everyone. I will always encounter opposition to this. Even if someone wants to chop of a body part, what has it got to do with me? Well, this depends if it is done out of fear. If someone fears eternal repercussion at the hands of an intolerant God, don’t we have a duty of care? What do the boys parents think? Family could be traumatised and if the kid grows up to become an atheist how much is he going to regret his earlier decisions. 

On a smaller scale, wearing veils, prayers for forgiveness, children being kicked out of the family home for abandoning faith… There are so many examples that I can think of when I have been told to respect a belief, when in reality the believers have lost respect for themselves. Even more concerning, they may have never had it in the first place.

What do you think about ‘respecting’ the decisions of believers?

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3 replies »

  1. It depends on how you define respect, seems like you over generalised it in this post. I agree with the two bullet points in the beginning. However, it should be included that people in power are allowed to express their thoughts and beliefs (without enforcing it). People who are exposed to it have a brain of their own, and can decide whether it makes sense or not.

    Respect for me means that I would not make fun or ridicule their beliefs, I will not call them dumb or stupid. However, it does not mean that I can’t point out the conflicts. Some people just do not want to be “enlightened” and that is their choice. If it makes them happy, then let them be. After all they are the ones living with consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apologies, it seems like I do a lot of over generalising 🙂
      I understand that everyone has a brain and can choose whether or not to listen to those in a position of power, but looking at any society in the world, beliefs are formed from external influence. Why else would most Americans believe in God and huge numbers in the Middle East follow Islam? It doesn’t seem to me that brain work drives belief, it’s all about society and culture. This is why I dislike celebrities endorsing religion, people are easily led.
      I do partially agree with your closing comment regarding respect. I too will never label someone dumb or stupid, but it isn’t always the individual that lives with the consequence. Many people believe and force others to live by their chosen ideologies. I see it in my personal life, devout Christians or Muslims looking down at certain decisions I make, decisions that are only questioned because it is deemed immoral in their holy book. This could be something as simple as drinking a beer.
      Thanks for your insight!

      Liked by 1 person

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