Respecting other’s beliefs makes perfect sense in matters of taste – I prefer red cars, you prefer silver ones. I like blueberries, you like strawberries.

It makes no sense at all in matters of import.

You can believe whatever you want on any topic, but you should have no expectation for others to respect your beliefs unless those beliefs are well-reasoned.

I believe that we should critically examine both our own beliefs and those that others are professing to identify those that are “correct”.

Posted: April 28th 2008

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

Russell Blackford www

We do have good reasons to allow people to believe, and even express, what they want, and to make exceptions only in very clear or extreme cases. Overall, freedom of belief and expression is a good principle to adopt. But that doesn’t mean we have to venerate whatever others’ think or say, however foolish, bizarre, or even cruel. We might tolerate ideas that, for perfectly good reasons, we don’t actually like at all, and may feel no respect for. Just because we allow these ideas to be expressed, we need not give them any weight or refrain from criticism.

Religious beliefs merit toleration, except in extreme circumstances (such as if they call for violence). But that doesn’t mean we have to give them any kind of veneration, or any kind of immunity from criticism or opposition.

It could be summed up with the suggestion: “Tolerate, don’t venerate.”

Posted: June 10th 2007

See all questions answered by Russell Blackford

bitbutter www

No we shouldn’t respect other people’s beliefs—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'—i.e., isolating an idea from criticism—is a serious barrier to human understanding and ultimately to human wellbeing.

Posted: June 9th 2007

See all questions answered by bitbutter


Yes, one can respect people’s right to have a belief, but one doesn’t need to agree with it.

The main issue is one of public versus private spheres. Social policies, foreign policy, medical research funding, education of children, etc. should be not be based on “faith,” revelation, or ancient scriptures.

All political, economic, and social ideas which influence society as a whole need to be evaluated for rationality, evidence, verification, equality, etc. – embracing everything we know about our place within the world at any particularly time.

In private, people can believe what they like.

Posted: June 8th 2007

See all questions answered by RTambree


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