This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post in which I criticized atheists who show disrespect to Christians and Muslims. Some people may have misunderstood what I was trying to say.
It’s a widely held belief that we should treat other people’s beliefs with respect. I don’t subscribe to that. Here’s why.
Nazis and white supremacists believed that one kind of person is superior to another. Is that a belief that deserves respect?
My own ancestors, the Celts, believed that human sacrifice was a virtue. That is an obnoxious belief.
An alarming number of people believe that the Queen of England is an alien reptile from another planet. That is an absurd belief. It deserves ridicule, not respect.
I believe that people deserve respect, not beliefs.
If you stand up in a public place and declare that the Pope is a banana and no one says anything, are people respecting your belief or are they disrespecting you by treating you like an idiot?
Beliefs are abstract things. They are not us. They are not part of us.
We can believe in ideas if we want to, but we should keep them at a distance, question their validity and hold them to account. That’s how we refine and improve our beliefs and make them better. It’s the very foundation of all critical and progressive thinking.
Beliefs are tools. We are their masters. But false beliefs can enslave us. They are like a disease that spreads from one person to another. The cure is discussion and debate.
We must always respect others, and if we truly respect people we will have the courage to challenge them and question their beliefs.