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.
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?