PERENNIAL QUESTIONS
  

Why do you disrespect people who hold beliefs different from yours?    

I don't; but too often, contending believers do.
      It is not DIFFERENCE in beliefs that matters.
      It is BLIND, UNEXAMINED, UNQUESTIONED, UNVERIFIABLE, UNTESTABLE beliefs which lend immoral support to those who resort to political, legal, or violent action to impose adherence to such beliefs that are troublesome.
      Such beliefs diminish the dignity of the human race.
      To accept unverifiable claims is to develop a gullible mindset that is susceptible to accepting more unverifiable claims such as those so often promulgated by dictators, politicians, popes, clergy, the press, and entertainment media, etc.
      It is an unenlightened mindset that is "tolerant" of other blindly accepted beliefs so long as one is "free" to believe as he wishes.
      People with such a mindset are either completely oblivious to or unconcerned with the possible dangerous ramifications of many of those blindly accepted beliefs, "So long as I am not affected by them."
      As the immediately previous PERENNIAL QUESTION indicates, each man's unverifiable and/or theological beliefs affect every man.
      Blind faith is carried on the ether of ignorance, which is the disease that no one can escape, for "No man is an island...."
      The dignity of the human race requires that our beliefs not be founded on ignorance.
      Obviously no one can know everything.
      Certainly, being "ignorant" of how to repair a machine is not a matter of blind faith.
      However, blind acceptance of unverifiable claims made to manipulate thoughts and behavior, as in the case of theological language that cannot be tested, IS blind faith and hence the kind of ignorance that has a global detrimental affect upon human, social, national, cultural, and spiritual relationships: religious wars, "fractures" in the principle of separation of church and state, the never ending battle between right to life and freedom of choice, cloning, the rights of women, religious restrictions, and too much more to cite here.
      Given the above, it is difficult to understand what one means when he insists that his beliefs are not being "respected."
      The term 'disrespect," in dictionary terms, means: discourtesy.
      I try never to be discourteous to believers who hold beliefs that are different from mine including beliefs about theistic concepts and claims that are unverifiable.
      I do, however, experience annoyance and consternation and feel disheartened in the presence of ignorance of the harmful effects of unverifiable beliefs--especially theological beliefs.
      Consequently, I argue objectively in an attempt to explain why one should (and more often ought) not hold such beliefs.
      Too often the term 'disrespect' is synonymized with "reject," "refusal to accept," "to disagree with," "to regard as ridiculous," etc.,
      It is possible to consider a belief to be wrong, foolish, nonsensical, whatever, without disrespecting (i.e., being discourteous to) the person espousing it.
      If these were the meanings of 'disrespect' then philosophers, scientists, teachers, parents, and even the "average person," have been disrespectful of each other for hundreds of centuries.

1997 by Pasqual S. Schievella