The ethics of respecting belief

Having had Michelle storm out on me I headed to The Refectory with Jack to grab some food and our conversation left me with a few things to mull over.

As a general rule, I won’t respect irrational beliefs regardless of the discourse. The problem with this is that it generally doesn’t get people to engage in debate with you (with the exception of perhaps Muslims who tend to respond far more to conflict than friendship). if you start being honest about what you think of people’s beliefs they tend to close up and become defensive which means a) you’re not going to get through to them at all, b) they are going to find a way to disagree with you even if you are right and c) may not even engage with you at all.

The alternative approach is to grant irrational beliefs credibility and respect so that, hopefully, people are a little more open to ideas, which, you would hope would eventually bring them round to a rational viewpoint. This has the drawback of having to grant irrational beliefs undeserved respect, to give in to the religious privilege that theological ideas undeservedly enjoy.

So the question comes down to this: can i ethically justify granting unfair religious privilege to irrational beliefs in order to engage with people on a more open level?



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 at 6:01 pm and is filed under Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.