Monday, June 22, 2009
As a result of my post on Friday regarding gay exorcism, I have come under personal attacks for being disrespectful to believers and for being intolerant of diversity.
I wish to put, in simple terms, why it is that I “do not respect” beliefs, and what exactly that means.
It is a BOLD claim. It is much harder to say than “I am gay,” or “I am an atheist.” I do not respect beliefs. Please allow me to clarify.
(1) I am referring specifically to supernatural beliefs held as truth. Please see my post about the word “believe.” I am not referring to values, but actual beliefs, truths without evidence, faith.
(2) This does not mean that I do not respect believers. This is an important distinction. My lack of respect is only for those ideas called beliefs, not the people who hold them.
(3) This also does not mean I do not respect the right to believe. Indeed, freedom of thought is at the core of my argument. People are not only welcome, but entitled and encouraged to have any ideas they want. The question I pose is whether all of those ideas deserve the same respect.
(4) My intent is an intellectual challenge. My argument is that a belief is an idea just like any other idea. It should be held to the same intellectual scrutiny. It must be able to demonstrate the same evidence and support as any other idea one might consider and is entitled to no extra protection or respect. Being shared by a majority of the population does not add to the merit of the claim.
(5) My resistance is a system of privilege that protects beliefs. This system entitles an individual to say, “These are my beliefs and you must respect them,” and to feel personally attacked if that demand is not heeded. This privilege is quite strong and largely unchallenged in our society, which is why I take such a risk in saying what I say....(Remainder.)