August 31, 2007

Does Religion Deserve Respect?

As an atheist i often get told that i should be respectful of other peoples beliefs, While at the same time no respect is shown to mine. The religious ask me not criticize their belief, Not to question it and more often than not take offence that someone could possibly believe that their god doesn't exist. And all the while they continuously and consistently try to indoctrinate me in to whichever invisible-sky-super-friend cult they have been tricked in to following.

So should free-thinkers respect religion even though they don't believe it? The answer is No, They shouldn't. Religion would be easy to ignore if all it was was a belief in something that doesn't exist, As far as i know it's still perfectly legal to be a moron. But with religion comes more than just a "belief", There also comes actions. The belief causes people to take certain actions and these actions should be neither respected nor tolerated.

Let's use an analogy to look a bit closer at this. if i said that i believed there were invisible pixies at the bottom of my garden and they grant me wishes, Should that belief be "respected"? Of course it shouldn't, it's not true, But it's a fairly harmless belief and it would be easy to write me off as a nut and ignore me. But what if i said that there were invisible pixies at the bottom of my garden and they require me to mutilate my child's genitals, Treat my wife like an animal, Prevent me donating blood that may save someones life, Plant bombs, Cut peoples heads off and not work on a special day? Should my harmless "belief" be respected even though it is responsible for making me take some crazy, And sometimes horrific, Actions?

This is why Atheists and free-thinkers should oppose, Disrespect and try to eradicate religion. Not because it's incorrect and primitive, But because it makes people do things, Things which without religion would be barbaric and illegal.

"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil — but for good people to do evil — that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize winning physicist

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