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I don't know about you but I'm sick of people being praised for their strong beliefs and I'm sick of people holding others hostage because of their stupid beliefs. I'm sick of coddling people so we don't offend their beliefs.

Everywhere you turn and no matter what the topic, people have strongly held beliefs. Whether it's religion, politics, the environment, medical issues or whatever, people are sticking up for what they believe.

People believe they will spend eternity with 70 virgins if they die as a martyr. People believe cutting taxes will raise revenues. People believe human activities cause global warming. People believe human activities don't cause global warming. And then we have all the crazies in the current congress. Their beliefs defy belief.

The truth is beliefs are little more than opinions or points of view. They may be strongly held beliefs that adherents will die for, but they are still beliefs. There may be some facts that affect beliefs but too often, beliefs are fact free and they can't be proven.

"But I believe …." is usually the boast of someone who has no facts to prove his points. Yet, some people die for beliefs they hold very strongly. Take the 900+ followers of Jim Jones who drank his Koolaid and died by mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana or the 9/11 terrorists who flew their hijacked planes into the World Trade Towers and Pentagon.

We must remember that people are gullible and that people have proven they will believe anything. Most of what people have believed is false. The earth is not flat, diseases are not caused by demons, bleeding is not a medical cure, and Ronald Reagan raised taxes.  History is full of other examples.

Beliefs are often mutually exclusive. If I believe heaven exists and you don't then, by necessity, one of us is wrong. Devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims can not all be right because their beliefs are mutually exclusive. Either one is right and two are wrong or all three are wrong. There is no other way.

My point is that our personal beliefs are very suspect and, in most cases, more likely to be wrong than right.

So let's stop cowering to the "beliefs trump card."  Let's require facts, peer reviewed studies, etc. Show us the money.

If all someone has to defend their position is their "beliefs," then let's accept their "beliefs" for what they're worth--little or nothing. Let's expose the crazies for what they really are, little emperors without clothes.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There's belief and "belief." (6+ / 0-)

    One of my pet peeves is a question heard entirely too often during campaign season: "Do you believe in evolution?"  

    Evolution is not a matter of belief.  It is a scientific theory developed through extensive testing of hypotheses resulting in a body of empirical evidence.  So, when asked, I say "No."  I don't believe in evolution.  I am convinced evolution is a scientific fact.  

    But back to your point.

    The non-empirically-based beliefs of others should be respected only as far as it affects them.  Once they try to impose their beliefs on others, a firm line should be drawn.

    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:34:31 PM PST

  •  Interesting beliefs you have there. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    by raincrow on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:46:27 PM PST

  •  When someone offers a political opinion (3+ / 0-)

    either in writing or verbally, most people feel that the statements made can be subjected to scrutiny, demand for proof, or the application of reason.  However, when someone offers an opinion based upon their religious beliefs, this is somehow supposed to be treated differently... with some sort of level of respect not afforded to other opinions (or beliefs if you will).

    This attitude is one of the main reasons the world is still rife with mythology based superstitions... in other words, all religions.  And the history of religion up to yesterday's news demonstrates that religion adds more misery to the world than any other
    philosophy/opinion/belief because it has been protected by this unspoken agreement of "respect".

    It is certainly time in the history of mankind to throw out this "respect" for religious opinions. If they are based in reality/evidence, then they will stand the scrutiny and application of reason. If not, they should go into the trashbin of history and stay there, or at the very least be recorded and filed under "mythologies", just like the beliefs of the ancient Greeks and Romans have been treated by modern western society.

    So if someone says "God says this.... or God wants that... or God thinks this..." it should be perfectly fine to question the basic premise of the existence of "God", no matter how much that inquiry insults the claimant's religious "sensitivity".

  •  Everyone is entitled to their own stupid opinion, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, Nance, CA wildwoman

    or belief, but no one is required to respect an opinion simply because another person holds it. There are opinions (beliefs) that merit respect and others that are hateful, ignorant, or condescending. That's my opinion.

  •  Just like asserting you're a "Person of faith"... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuvSet, CA wildwoman

    is often held to grant you a totally unwarranted 'pass' on all sorts of moral and ethical issues. This drives me crazy.

    News flash: claiming to be a 'person of faith' does not automatically mean you are a good person. Plenty of "people of faith" have been slaveholders, murderers, child molesters and otherwise vile people. Plenty of heathens have been wonderful folks doing great things, no 'faith' required.

    An atheist cannot be elected President of the United States, barring a tremendous sea-change in attitudes. But as George W. Bush proved, a draft-dodging drunk who failed at multiple business attempts sure can be, provided he makes the appropriate nods toward being a 'person of faith'.

    •  Newsflash: There are many good people of faith. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and, yes, there are folks who beat you over the head with their faith. There is a wide spectrum of religious thought and an equally-wide spectrum of practice. It is important to acknowledge that some folks do practice their faith in thoughtful and constructive ways. Actually, some of them are even Republicans.

      •  I contend that faith and goodness are independent (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        profewalt, CA wildwoman, Skipbidder


        Certainly there are many good people of faith. Plenty of weasels, too. Just like there are some very fine secular humanists & atheists, and others who are not admirable.

         I see no correlation whatsoever between religious faith and personally virtue. And my main contention is that an assertion of personal religious faith apparently provides one a completely unwarranted presumption of virtue in contemporary American society. This is inappropriate in a 'reality based community'. Call me skeptical.

        •  There is a correlation. It's just not a strong one (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I agree that some presume they are virtuous through their faith. It seems to be a sort of a supply-side Christianity - where their example trickles down to the faithless. I just think that contemporary American society sees through that more often than not.

          Like Paul Ryan, for example. I wonder whether he is doing dishes at a food kitchen tonight.

          •  faith/virtue correlation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            There is a weak correlation. You are right. Atheists are under-represented in prisons.

            My contention is that there are many fine moral people who are also religious. Almost all of them would be fine moral people if they were not religious.If they would not be moral people without their religion, are they REALLY moral? Perhaps it depends on the religious context involved, but if it stems from the sort of fear that the archetypal US Christian religion seems to instill, then this perhaps shouldn't be regarded as morality at all. The person who stopped acting morally once they stopped believing in their deity is one to be feared.  

            For some of the claimed religions, I would say that they are moral IN SPITE OF the messages found in their holy texts or preached by their leaders.

            For a fair number of virtuous people who are also religious, their religions often give them a convenient, socially reinforcing way to extend a little generosity to their neighbors. It certainly isn't the only way to do so, but it is one that is accessible and familiar to them. To the extent that religious communities provide and encourage these things in addition to what would be done in absence of their activities, I am happy to have them. This is purely an means-ends calculation however, and it doesn't come close to balancing the books in terms of overall influence in the world.

            The plural of anecdote is not data.

            by Skipbidder on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:21:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent summary of the issue (0+ / 0-)

    of religion and morality! Thanks!

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