Why Care what Others Believe?

It seems to be a little known fact that Christian and Islamic faith while open to faith comforting you are not about that. Faith is really loyalty. In fact Jesus was clear that faith can make horrendous demands of you and is not a placebo or to be treated as one.  For that reason, it matters what you believe and you must be open to letting others care about what you believe.  That means instead of having a placebo and calling it faith you are open to real faith and that only comes after a challenge and if you keep yourself informed.

In ancient Greece, a philosopher was a person who wanted to heal the souls and minds of others by giving them the right approach to reality so that they might have the beliefs and truths they need to be healthy and as reasonably happy as possible. We need more people like that today and they are too few.  Superstition in the form of religion and other abberations reigns and gets in the way of true progress.  The religions all disagree with each other and imply that the teachings of the others is defective and could be harmful.


The believers in God say that God is truth itself and so error is antithetical to him just because he is non-error. By their belief then, they give up any right not to hear the other side. They give up any right not to be exposed to the truth or to turn away those who contradict their faith. If they really love God they will hear what the truth says even if it means being open to the possibility of finding out that there is no God. If they do not love God then they do not love others for the love of God and people are alleged to go together. They give up any right to complain if they are offended by what others present as evidence for they are asking for it.

Truth never harmed anyone though many harm and upset themselves because of it. That is not truth's fault. Truth by its nature has to beget hostility from those who despise it. It is people’s reaction to the truth not the truth that does harm and that is their own concern. It is a fault in them and they have no business of accusing anybody who contradicts their religious beliefs of upsetting them. What another person says will upset you only if you are biased and don’t want to see it or don’t want to change your mind. To be biased is to be bigoted and in the grip of an irrational fear. By being like that you are the one who is being offensive and that is awful for fear is the root of all evil and hatred. For example, a Spiritualist will not want to hear there is no life after death. The truth is the Spiritualist should want to know if there is none for it is a mark of maturity and goodness and benevolence to risk your belief and be ready to find a way to cope if it is wrong. You must not be biased because that means you are claiming that your belief is probably right and you are doing so because you want to believe it and not because of the evidence. This makes you a liar and a kind of persecutor to the person who sees you are wrong or who wants you to know you are wrong. There is no need to be biased so be fair to the person who disagrees with you. Don’t be offended for that is the sure sign that you are biased. Don’t set yourself up against the human rights of the person by being biased.

Those who ask you to respect their beliefs or who accuse you of not respecting their beliefs just because you point out some flaw in the beliefs are just trying to silence you and silence the truth. It is not disrespecting to examine a belief. Beliefs happen to people. If you see a man stealing a bike you didn't choose to see this and belief he stole the bike. You cannot believe what you want for belief is caused by evidence. Those who want to silence you and claim it is because they want their beliefs respected are really saying truth shouldn't be respected or that beliefs matter more than truth!
To respect people and to respect beliefs is not the same thing. People don't make their beliefs, the beliefs just happen to them. So though you can't hate the sin and love the sinner you can love the mistaken believer and hate his mistaken belief.
When you refuse to let a murderer go out to slay prostitutes you are not respecting his belief. People need respect but beliefs do not. Wrong beliefs give up any right to be respected and that is simply by virtue of their being wrong.
The well-balanced person never fears truth of any kind and knows that if they are accused of being in the wrong that the other person means well and may be right and so should be listened to for that reason. If we don’t promote truth people will never learn and grow up. But they have to be carried along the right road gently and we must remember that some truths are more important than others and the important ones come first. We must labour for the sake of the important truths for to be against important truth is to insult the whole human race for if important truth is bad so is the important truth that we exist. The sensible person likes to hear an objection to what they think or believe for it gives them a chance to grow in wisdom. If the objection is unfair they will see that and their belief will get stronger. If the objection is fair they should be glad to have been told. The confident atheist sees an objection as a challenge and as a gift. Even when it is given in a bad spirit it should be appreciated because it is still something that is meant to try and improve the world. Never insult anybody by taking offence.

If you don’t want to offend anybody by your words then don’t speak at all. Then you will be offending people even more for they hate being ignored! Everything you say can offend if not now then later. So don’t be afraid to be outspoken. Don’t feel bad about it for being outspoken is a way of meaning well. People will admire you for doing that and will wish they could be like that.

Too many people these days moralise about tolerance and have no idea what it really is. There are three alternative understandings of tolerance.
One is to make all beliefs, however outrageous, equally valuable and forbidding drawing others to your own belief. One is really indifferentism not tolerance. It doesn't care what people believe or think. Indifference is often today confused with tolerance. Yet indifferentism itself is intolerant of anybody that disagrees with it. 
Two is to say that all beliefs are valuable as long as they are sincere and as long as the believers are open to changing their minds and that harmful beliefs should not be tolerated. This view refuses to tolerate people who know they have the truth. It urges them to have their own opinions and not to worry at all about being right. It isn't real tolerance.
Three is to say that all wrong beliefs are bad but we must put up with them up to a point. Three understands tolerance correctly. So tolerance implies putting up with bad things. Tolerance does encourage harmless and healthy differences but only in the search for truth. It is respecting what ought to be respected.

When somebody insults Atheists or Atheism we should not allow ourselves to be offended. What we should do is with a friendly smile correct their errors if they want to listen. If we are offended we are deterring people from telling us what they really think and openness is of absolute importance. We hope we can get the same courtesy from them that we give to them. They must have the humility to realise that they force their beliefs on children which is very offensive or should be so when they find our very existence offensive they should look at themselves. It is an insult to the offender to take offence. It is giving him the power and temptation to offend you.

It is not hypocrisy for us to advise others as to what they should do though we don’t practice what we preach for we are not giving orders but only stating facts as long as we admit that we are not perfect and stress that we are only asking that they do themselves justice more than we have. In advising others to do right though we do wrong we are only asking them to become better than us so let nobody be offended. We can’t tell others it is right or pretend anything is right just because we do it and when it is really wrong.

You can’t believe that whatever a person believes is true. What if that person changes belief? Many these days tell us to believe that trying to convert others is wrong. But they try to convert others to their belief that spreading the good news is bad! If you can’t tell a person their belief is wrong then you can you tell them anything they ought to do? The same don’t tolerate doctors who believe that medicine is no use and that only holy water works.


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