Don’t Respect My Beliefs

He said it as concise as necessary. We’ve talked about this many times on The Rational Response Squad radio show. A quote of mine that floats the internet is… “If you don’t respect the beliefs of theists, and someone tells you to repect other peoples beliefs, remind them that they are not respecting yours.” – Sapient

Bitbutter » Don’t Respect my Beliefs

Don’t Respect my Beliefs Posted
by bitbutter on August 16, 2007

Don’t respect my beliefs.

Be courteous and patient towards me while you do your best to demolish them, and I’ll try to do the same.

Imagine that you’re carefully explaining to a member of the flat earth society why you’re convinced that the earth is roughly spherical. You wouldn’t be doing him any favours if you respected his belief; if you did, you wouldn’t be able to show him why he’s wrong.

Is it even meaningful to talk about respecting a belief that you are convinced is false? I don’t think it is. It seems to me that ‘respect for peoples beliefs’ is often nothing more than a virtuous sounding code phrase that really means “anything for a quiet life”.

Are there any beliefs deserving of respect? I don’t think so. Even beliefs which it’s widely agreed are true, or ones held by people who you trust, or ones you’re personally convinced about the truth of. If we expose all ideas to thorough analysis and criticism, the best ones will survive and we’ll be learning.

When we ‘respect’ each others beliefs we rob ourselves of the chance to learn, to test our reasoning and to get to know one another by talking frankly about the things that are most important to us. So don’t respect my beliefs, and I promise I won’t respect yours.