Sacred beliefs?

  1. I don't know whether this belongs in general or relationships or what.

    I just have to post this because this is bugging the hell out of me. Whey do people think that there is some sort of belief sanctum? You know, the usual, religion, etc. Why are these beliefs above challenge/reproach. "Respect someone else's belief" is oft-repeated. Why should I? What's the difference between beliefs that I should respect and those that I shouldn't? Do you respect racists' beliefs?

    Now I know someone's going to approach me with some relativistic argument like oh, well, we can't question certain beliefs because everyone has different beliefs so there's no right and wrong. BS. It doesn't follow from the fact that people disagree that there's no objective right and wrong. There was a huge controversy over whether the earth was round or flat, with some on the flat earth side evoking religious belief (the Bible's quote, the "four corners of the earth") as a defense. Turns out, there was an objective answer, the earth is round.

    I'm not saying that every question has an objective answer, but it cannot be argued that simply because people disagree that there is no objective answer.

    I've mentioned religion, but there are some other areas (that fail my memory at the moment), in which people pull a relativistic argument for, and frankly, I'm sick of it. I'm tired of people using, well, "that's my opinion" as a defense. It's lame.

    You can probably tell that something happened to provoke this and I haven't thought this out much but had to spill. Thanks for listening. I can take criticism on this issue.

    <<<rant over>>>

    ps. I'm sure Shimma will have something interesting to say about this; don't hold out on me. ;)
  2. I cannot get into this topic without either violating forum rules or horribly offending others, I am sure. So suffice it to say that I absolutely agree with you. I do not agree that beliefs with no basis in fact have any inherent right to respect simply because people hold them near and dear. If people can attack things based in science with boatloads of evidence behind them (i.e global warming, evolution, etc.), then surely beliefs without the support of any such evidence are open to discussion as well!
  3. Based on the things that I was taught when I was growing up I have learned to be respectful of other people, regardless if I agree with their beliefs, religious, practices, etc or not. Maybe this falls into your "Respect someone else's belief" rant, or not...But that's just the way that I was raised.

    Why do you think "that's my opinion" is lame? It's the truth and everyone is entitled to have their own. If you don't like their opinion or belief, then it's your right not to follow it and not to agree with it.
  4. I guess I'll add a little bit to my previous post:

    I think it's important to be able to defend your opinion if asked to. Saying "just because" doesn't cut it in my book...That usually means that a) you don't have a clue and you're just trying to mess with me or b) it's really not your opinion.
  5. I'd like to clarify that I don't think that going around and offending people and challenging their beliefs is a great idea. I am all for live and let live. However, when MY beliefs are attacked, despite them having the vast majority of scientists behind them, it is a cop-out for those people to claim their own beliefs are beyond reproach.
  6. Respecting people is different than respecting their beliefs so no, that doesn't fall under my rant.

    The problem with this is that it is often not nearly as benign as you seem to think. It could be my opinion that women should be slaves, or that some race of people are genetically inferior to others. What I'm trying to get across is that "this is my belief" is not an adequate justification for the belief, it's an excuse. But people treat it like it is a justification in an argument.

    EDIT: reading your second post, I think we are clear on this point. :smile:
  7. The US of A was founded on the concept of individualism, and this is very ingrained (I believe) in us as a culture. That being said, we have a remarkable ability to tolerate, for the most part, other belief systems. Many people like to subscibe to a 'live and let live' policy. That, combined with the emphasis on our first amendment rights, gives people permission to have their own opinions and beliefs for the most part, no matter how absurd (or offensive) they may seem to others.
  8. ^^ Agreed. As long as no one tries to force their beliefs onto me or my children all is well. Sadly, that is often not the case with religion and schools or religion and politics, and that is where the issues usually arise for me.
  9. People are entitiled to their opinions and beliefs, whether you like it or not. I hate cats. "that's just my opinion" I'm damn well allowed to hate cats, even though most people won't share that sentiment. I'm atheist and I really don't care for religion, but even though I don't believe there is a single respectable bit of science or logic behind religion doesn't mean I'm going to argue that it's "dumb" because people are religious for different reasons, and I'm not going to condemn it. If you don't want to respect someone's belief, that's peachy keen, but there is a time and a place for it and people need to know the boundaries. If a person is racist because their house was robbed 10 times by 10 men of a different race than their own, who am I to argue with him? It sucks that's how he thinks, but he's allowed to be bitter if he wants to be bitter. You can condemn him for it, but I won't. It doesn't mean he's a bad person, it just means a lot of crap happened to twist him in an unfortunate way.

    My Grandmother doesn't believe Global Warming exists. She thinks Gore made it up. She's 93, far be it from me to argue with Granny about the enviroment. It may mean that she isn't as enlightened on certain levels as other people, but she's allowed to think whatever she wants. I'm not going to condemn her for it.

    I feel a sense if de-ja-vue, have we done this before? :p
  10. Respecting someone's beliefs doesn't mean you have to accept them or agree with them. It just means you're not constantly questioning them for believing in the things they do.

    If you REALLY disagree in the things someone believes in, you can choose not to associate with that person.

    I live by disagree with me, but please don't try to convert me.

    I do agree with the feeling that people should be able to back up what they believe in instead of resorting to: "That's just what I believe" when the issue is brought up in conversation.

    I don't think we should go around questioning why everyone believes in what they do.
  11. I think that respecting other people's beliefs are very important. It's important not for anything else, but for peace. Simple as that. If it's not going to affect you in any way - if nobody comes up to you and says "I believe this. You better accept that I am right" it's better to live and let live. I speak from personal experience.

    I come from a country where beliefs and cultures mingle a lot. My friends were Evangelical Christian, Episcopal, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Zoroastrian. And we come from a society where religion is celebrated, it's not a personal thing. Everyone had their own beliefs. The reason we lived together is that nobody tried to say their beliefs are right and the others are wrong.

    Many people living in our area are Roman Catholic, and some are Buddhist and Hindu. Every year we have a feast of St. Francis, where a statue of St. Francis is taken to each house in the neighborhood and the house is 'blessed'. And when I say each house, I do mean each house, no matter what the faith of the resident. And the resident accepts the statue of St Francis. That acceptance says many things: that the saint was a holy person, and whatever religion, their holy people must be respected. And it also says that people are strong enough in their personal faith (if they aren't Catholic) not to worry that the arrival of St Francis will disrupt their faith in their own religion.

    So it is really unnecessary to get all het up about somebody else's unbelief or different belief, whether valid or not. If people are wise and open minded, they should be open enough to changes in the world that come with scientific thinking and development. Some find it difficult to reconcile what they believed to be true and what is later found to be true. A whole generation of scientists thought that Quantum Mechanics was all wrong despite evidence to the contrary.
  12. this is sort of tangentially related to this topic, but people that say things like "well, that's just my opinion" when faced with facts that contradict their opinions or beliefs get on my last nerve. to me, it shows the willingness to cling to a false conviction rather than consider that you may have been incorrect, which is highly immature and counterproductive.

    i completely agree that it's important to respect people, but opinions and beliefs are fair game if there's substantial evidence to the contrary. opinions aren't inherently worthy of respect - if someone' opinion is that the sky is purple, which is obviously contradicted by fact, should i have to keep my mouth shut because of the inherent status of 'opinion' or 'belief?' to me, that philosophy is one of a weak person that's not sure that he or she can defend what he or she believes.
  13. Thanks all, for your honest opinions, I really appreciate it. I'm feeling less hot-headed now and can think straight about this, I believe. :smile:
  14. Roo, I think you are completely right about our culture of individualism and "tolerance". I view it as both a good thing and a bad thing.

    People should be tolerated, but, IMO, when it comes to beliefs, tolerance and intolerance are equally valuable virtues. In fact, I can casually think of many beliefs that deserve intolerance.

    I can think nothing good about a society actively discouraging the free discourse of ideas by placing some of them in 'safe zone'. Consider all the evolution (against racism, sexism)that wouldn't have taken place if some beliefs were allowed to ever be unchallenged for the sake of peace.
  15. I'm not putting people on blast in the street. I'm simply saying that if you are going to express your views, you better be damn well able to defend them, and don't use the "belief sanctum" as a copout.