Respecting Your Right to Believe Doesn’t Mean Giving Your Beliefs a Free Pass

This raises an interesting perspective on a subject I’ve been thinking about the past couple weeks, concerning how to address the atheist/theist debate publically in a reasonable and respectful way.

The comments here also exemplify how people can talk disagreements agreeably.

Decency requires that we respect others; but it doesn’t require silence. Indeed, surely it is indecent to pretend that only one ideology has the right to speak in a democracy. Reasonable disagreement is required in a democratic society.

hessianwithteeth

new atheists

It seems as though a lot of people assume that respecting a person’s right to believe means letting them say whatever they want and never confronting them. This isn’t the case. I can respect your right to believe and still openly disagree with you. Refusing to hide my beliefs doesn’t mean I’m disrespecting your rights, it just means I’m practicing mine.

I was listening to an old episode of the podcast The Atheist Experience the other day. One of the callers they talked to called in simply to tell them that they shouldn’t be talking about Christianity, they should just talk about atheism. According to this caller, their discussion of Christianity was disrespectful. Why? Because they are atheists. The idea that merely talking about Christianity while being a non-Christian is disrespectful is silly. I often talk about men while being a non-man. Is that disrespectful too? But the very idea…

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