No we shouldn’t respect other people’s beliefsâ€”even if they happen to be accurate. This needs some explaining.
I believe that we should respect people, and we should respect a person’s right to believe whatever he or she likes.
The idea that we should unconditionally respect other peoples beliefs might seem an appropriate stance for any person who considers themselves civilised and tolerant.
what does it mean to respect an idea that you disagree with?
What does it mean, for instance, to respect the belief that the earth is flat? Does respecting the flat earth belief just mean pretending that you don’t find it completely ridiculous?
Why should we pretend not to find certain claims ridiculous and to refrain from to openly saying so?
It seems that every call to 'respect’ a point of view is actually a call to limit criticism of that idea. Often it looks as though any criticism is already a breach of the 'respect’ that we are expected to pay to an idea that happens to enjoy the protection that political correctness confers.
It’s clear that religious beliefs enjoy this kind of protection to varying degrees.
No ideas should be sacred. 'Respecting belief'â€”i.e., isolating an idea from criticismâ€”is a serious barrier to human understanding and ultimately to human wellbeing.
Posted: June 9th 2007
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