Respecting the beliefs of others  

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rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Respecting the beliefs of others is a hot topic these days. The Muslim world seems to think that we must all respect their prophet and be careful what we say about him. They are going so far as to propose new rules in the United Nations that would limit free speech rights when it comes to religion. Should blasphemy be a crime?

Is this right? Should we be required to respect the beliefs of others or should we only be required to respect their right to have those beliefs? In my opinion people should be able to believe anything that they wish, however a belief is nothing more than an opinion and an opinion is something that is subject to questioning.

As an example. If you were to talk to an aboriginal person about their beliefs and they told you that they believe that the earth is a flat disc balanced on the back of a giant turtle, am I required to respect this opinion? This view of the world was widely held among native peoples. If I show them a picture of the earth from space am I engaging in hate speech?

What if they insist that the "Giant Turtle Theory" be taught in our public schools? If over half of the people in the country believe in the giant turtle, and they did at one point, are we all required to learn and respect the giant turtle theory?

How is this different from the "Biblical Creation Theory", the theory that the universe was created 6500 years ago in 6 days? Are we required to respect this theory and allow it to be taught in our public schools? How about the ancient alien theory, you see this theory being described on TV every week?

What level of proof or evidence should be required before an idea is accepted as something that should be respected? Are we required to respect all mythologies? Do the number of believers of a particular mythology determine the validity of a belief or is evidence required?

How do you bring about a change of "belief". When the Roman Empire switched from paganism to Christianity it was ushered in by force. The emperor declared that Christianity was the only true state religion and if you didn't like it well then off with your head! Religious/mythological beliefs have traditionally been spread by force. Look at Latin America. All good Catholics. But not until they were conquered by Spain and Portugal. Look at the Muslim world. All of North Africa conquered by the Muslims and forcefully converted to Islam.

Today we change peoples beliefs not by force but by logic. And not being able to examine beliefs and discuss them is a way of slowing down progress.

Blasphemy is a victimless crime!

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They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ

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Posted : October 10, 2012 7:34 pm
gringojj
(@gringojj)
Advanced Member

Great topic rotorhead. I believe anyone should be able to say anything about anything. People should not be afraid of the truth. When it comes to religion I find that religous people have no problem going around trying to spread their beliefs to you, but when you challenge them on what they believe they become very defensive. I always think about the bible stories and such. If someone today was to say that a snake was talking to them, or they were seen talking to a burning bush, or if they claim they speak directly to god, people think that they are crazy. How come these type of things could only have happened in bible times? But if people want to talk down about your god, whoever it may be, is there any proof to back up what they are saying? Like I believe the god of the bible is a murderer. I can back up my claim because in the bible he murdered people. Christians cannot deny that, it is in their book. However if I tell a christian this, they will be upset with me. Am I wrong for believeing this? I could say that god was a drunk and wife beater, but most christians would just dismiss me as nutty, because they know there is no validity to it. I personally would not make a movie about the subject, but if someone else wants to more power to them.

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Posted : October 10, 2012 8:06 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

I agree. In the film "Innocence of Muslims", the prophet is called a pedophile. Are there any facts to back this up?

Muhammad married his wife Ayesha when she was 6 and started having sex with her when she was 9. The prophet was 54. Does this make him a pedophile? By modern standards, yes! Should Muhammad be considered a role model? Not so much so in this respect.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 10, 2012 8:33 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

You cannot change what people believe, but you can with careful hard work change how they think and the rest will take care of itself, or so I've found. I can't remember when I first grew nauseous over the parlor 'cleverness' and disingenuous trickery of what passes for modern theological thinking, but raising a child to seek, to question, to observe and to learn, in defiance of his or her more strident peers (and all-too-often their mentors) should be enough to make a humanist out of anyone.

To your point, rotor, I do not think any of the abrahamic religions can realistically, honestly, serve as moral touchstones to anyone in the 21st century. And I do not believe that any "belief" deserves any respect at all that it cannot earn on its own merits.

See, for example, This Article.

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Posted : October 10, 2012 10:45 pm
gringojj
(@gringojj)
Advanced Member

I did not want to send my kids to public school here, but could not afford the outrageous tuitions at the private schools. I ended up sending them to a catholic school here. As an ahteist I cringe at the thought of religion being forced upon them. I am all for christian values as I live my life by alot of them. My kids understand that I do not believe in god, so when they come asking me about things they learn in school I explain to them that this is what catholics believe but this is what I believe. That way they get both sides and when they get older they will have the info to decide for themselves. It seems to me if you apply logic and science to religion as you are learning it religion will lose.

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Posted : October 11, 2012 12:35 am
BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
Trusted Member

I love a great myth!

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Posted : October 11, 2012 1:04 am
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

You could always home school. At our home school we teach all religion as part of history. I'm Cherokee so I teach that as well. My son is adopted and his heritage is Celtic. Thor, faeries and leprechauns abound. So much fun. Right now we are studying mid evil times. Merlin and knights of the round table. Mystic stuff. If you really want them to make their own decision, learn with them and discuss it. Encourage them to investigate and research different religions and myths. Understanding and respect of all people is the key. Well rounded and tolerant adults is the result.

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Posted : October 11, 2012 1:40 am
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

I love a great myth!

Me too! I prefer Thor to Jesus though. Much better stories.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 11, 2012 1:41 am
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

Had a one single date with a not so gentleman, who worshiped Thor. He wore the hammer of Thor around his neck and I have it now. A big block of silver. He hated that I shaved much preferring women Au natural. Very interesting evening. Love my big hammer of silver. LOL.

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Posted : October 11, 2012 1:57 am
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

I enjoy mythology when taught as mythology. When someone tells me a story which is obviously mythology and represents it as reality they pay a price. I love this short video by Sam Harris. The "pay a price" part is near the end but the video is short.

This video is a debate between a Rabbi and Sam Harris and demonstrates the mental gymnastics that believers go through.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 11, 2012 2:16 am
usvichic
(@usvichic)
Advanced Member

I think that people are afraid of what they don't understand. I think that many radical Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, etc want to force their beliefs on others. If we start allowing one religious or nonreligious group to impose their beliefs on all of mankind vis a vis the Muslims and the UN, we are asking for a heap o trouble!

I do not think we need to respect the beliefs of others only that they have beliefs and that those beliefs may be different from ours. I do think that if schools are going to make concessions for one religion then they need to make concessions for ALL religions. I have sen school calendars that celebrate all religious holidays EXCEPT Christian ones. While I think that recognizing other religious days are fine, if we do that for one religion we need to do that for all religions. If we say no prayer in school, we need to not have any prayer for any group in school, if we say yes you can pray in school then we need to allow prayer for all groups in schools. Why should we even bring religion into schools? Why not just teach a history class and present the world's religions then?

HOWEVER, I do not think we need to go the ACLA(U?) way and take out the mention of God in our pledge of allegiance - that is a matter of history and how the nation was formed. I think that we need to keep that mention in there. It is a part of the history of the US and is important.

I think everyone needs to listen openly and respectfully to each other and maybe then we can actually accomplish good things in this world.

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Posted : October 11, 2012 12:04 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

If the commerce in religion were taxed even at the low levels corporations enjoy, religious adherents might pay a bit more attention to their "brand" and work to tidy up their public image, condemn and repair the damage they do, and genuinely contribute to society in the ways they only pretend to now.

HOWEVER, I do not think we need to go the ACLA(U?) way and take out the mention of God in our pledge of allegiance - that is a matter of history and how the nation was formed. I think that we need to keep that mention in there. It is a part of the history of the US and is important.

You are right that there is a great deal of history hanging on the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, but that history dates only to 1954 when McCarthyist paranoia and a lengthy campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a roman catholic men's organization, goaded congress into passing unconstitutional legislation to modify it. The pledge, as it now appears, has been ruled unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Posted : October 11, 2012 1:26 pm
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

If the commerce in religion were taxed even at the low levels corporations enjoy, religious adherents might pay a bit more attention to their "brand" and work to tidy up their public image, condemn and repair the damage they do, and genuinely contribute to society in the ways they only pretend to now.

HOWEVER, I do not think we need to go the ACLA(U?) way and take out the mention of God in our pledge of allegiance - that is a matter of history and how the nation was formed. I think that we need to keep that mention in there. It is a part of the history of the US and is important.

You are right that there is a great deal of history hanging on the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, but that history dates only to 1954 when McCarthyist paranoia and a lengthy campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a roman catholic men's organization, goaded congress into passing unconstitutional legislation to modify it. The pledge, as it now appears, has been ruled unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

I remember when "under god" was added to the pledge. I was in junior high school and there was much discussion regarding it's legality and appropriateness. While being proud to be born a US citizen, I have always cringed at the jingoism/uber nationalism that has caused nearly as many wars as religion. I keep hoping that modern communication will educate the world and bring it closer together. Not happening...even within the US or the VI.

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Posted : October 11, 2012 3:21 pm
OldTart
(@OldTart)
Expert

At our home school we teach all religion as part of history.

I was raised in England where I went to an all-girls Grammar school. Typical of the time, we had a general assembly in the Great Hall every morning where we sang a couple of hymns and read a couple of chapters from the Old Testament. I think we also did the old, "Our Father Who Art In Heaven" routine but I don't remember in particular any big deal where praying was concerned. Anyway, one of the classroom subjects was, "Religious Knowledge" and my ever-active little sponge of a brain was filled with all sorts of information about al kinds of religions which, in my opinion, formed a wonderful base for the years to come which have always led me to be curious about religious belief systems.

I never did and never will understand the American preoccupation/obsession with ramming Christianity as the be-all and end-all. The basic tenets of the ten commandments always seemed pretty sane and logical to me but every religion/belief I've been exposed to is based on those basic premises. Ask me what my religion is and I haven't a darned clue as I can't find a label which fits and nor do I care to. Not fond of labels anyway. I've had some rib-tickling and befuddling conversations with many people of fervent faith but that's another book!

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Posted : October 11, 2012 4:09 pm
JahRustyFerrari
(@JahRustyFerrari)
Advanced Member

Interesting discussion. I don't think that we humans, sitting on this insignificant little speck in the universe (we don't even fully understand the little speck we're siting on, or how we or the speck came to be) should be so bold as to declare, with all finality and conviction, that there is no such thing as "God" and that we, with our pitiful understanding of the universe, have figured out all of the answers.

We have not even achieved the level of simply getting along with the other humans on the pitiful little speck.

We do not have answers to questions that go beyond our "science", such as the recently discovered perfect roundness of our Sun.
We do not know why the moon has a darkside, and what would happen if it didn't, or if this pitiful speck could even support life if the moon was otherwise configured.

We do know that the moon acts as a sort of flywheel to smooth out wobbles of the earth, as happened some years ago when we were a bit off-axis...why did the moon correct the wobble of the earth?

While we argue about trivialities, some unknown entity or force, somewhere, sometime ago, has seen to it that this little round ball can keep us safe and comfortable...all we have to do is take care of it, and each other...and we can't even do that, much less figure out who put the comfy little sphere here and put us on it to enjoy life.

Of course, a person could get flamed and called a tinfoil-hat wearer for bringing up these actual scientific facts that tend to support intelligent design...whatever.

We know that the scientists are busy trying to find a "God" particle.

We know that the universe is vast beyond our human comprehension.

We know that we can only see a certain portion of the light spectrum, and that dogs have better hearing than we do.

We have no idea what is in the light spectrum that we cannot see, and we will never find out because we think we already know everything.

We cannot even figure out the true relationship of our satellite moon to our planet...but we have figured out "God" and everything in the universe, and we can say with finality "There is no God but Walmart, and KMart is his Son"....amazing.

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Posted : October 11, 2012 7:14 pm
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