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View Full Version : Why irrational beliefs should not be tolerated


Wallsy
February 15th, 2008, 04:29 AM
How are someone elses beliefs harmful to you? When they are intolerant to you, that is a different issue, but a peaceful, kind and caring Wicca/Christian/Muslim/whatever who is not out to "save" you or to punish you for your differences - what is wrong with showing them a little respect?

If someone keeps their beliefs entirely to themselves and doesn't speak about them in public or try to impose them on others, the only harm they do is to themselves. Even then, if they could have done some good but were prevented by their irrational beliefs that could effect me, but I'll admit that that's a stretch.

Where the problem occurs is when people don't even realise they're trying to force thoir beliefs on you. This happens subtley and constantly. Laws and rules are made (or kept) that could be improved (or would be better done away with entirely) because of irrational beliefs. And not just religious beliefs either.

Take drug laws, for example. They punish addicts (who really should be seen as victims in many cases), costing society huge amounts of money. But will they be changed? Not any time soon, because Drugs Are Bad. he belief that drugs are bad and people should be punished for taking them hurts us all and prevents positive changes from being made.

And any irrational belief has the potential to do this. Most are far more subtle in their effects, but making decisions based on faulty reasoning is not helpful and never will be, and that is why I will not tolerate irrational beliefs, no matter how harmless they may seem on the surface.


Wallsy.

bouchie
February 15th, 2008, 02:23 PM
If someone keeps their beliefs entirely to themselves and doesn't speak about them in public or try to impose them on others, the only harm they do is to themselves. Even then, if they could have done some good but were prevented by their irrational beliefs that could effect me, but I'll admit that that's a stretch.Do you think then that any and all beliefs are harmful? Or just the ones that everybody else has?

Laws and rules are made (or kept) that could be improved (or would be better done away with entirely) because of irrational beliefs. And not just religious beliefs either. I agree with you on this point. Some laws haven't been changed or eliminated because the legislative power of most countries is pretty slow at re-evaluating society's beliefs/mores/values. Then again, these things change very slowly over time, making it difficult to say which laws/rules still apply today and which don't.

Take drug laws, for example. They punish addicts (who really should be seen as victims in many cases), costing society huge amounts of money. But will they be changed? Not any time soon, because Drugs Are Bad. he belief that drugs are bad and people should be punished for taking them hurts us all and prevents positive changes from being made.Again, agreeing with you. But, the problem is that you cannot force change on drug addicts either. The only way they will overcome their addiction is if they really want to. The laws in place are intended, I think, to act as a deterrant for anybody who decides to use drugs. Granted, it's not a very strong deterrant. In any case, the addict has to believe that they can change and kick their habit before any change can happen. Subtley reinforcing the notion that drugs are bad might actually be helpful.


And any irrational belief has the potential to do this. Most are far more subtle in their effects, but making decisions based on faulty reasoning is not helpful and never will be, and that is why I will not tolerate irrational beliefs, no matter how harmless they may seem on the surface. What is the justification to label someone else's beliefs as irrational? And if you did say someone else's beliefs were rational, would you, Wallsy, want to hear them? Or would you still prefer that they keep it to themselves?

Fallen Hero
February 15th, 2008, 02:28 PM
If the whole world worked like that, we would be in the dark ages again. Respect given is respect earned. That is the way of the world. I can disagree with s.o. beliefs, but I need to tolerate them. Tolerance does not me changing myself to be more like them or changing them to be more like me; rather that I do not look down upon them for their beliefs and that I accept that that is what they believe and it is different from my own beliefs.

Wallsy
February 15th, 2008, 02:45 PM
Do you think then that any and all beliefs are harmful? Or just the ones that everybody else has?

Just irrational ones.


What is the justification to label someone else's beliefs as irrational?

Beliefs based on evidence are rational. It is rational to believe that the Earth orbits the sun because it has been demonstrated that this explanation best fits the facts.

Beliefs in spite of the evidence are irrational. It is irrational to believe that unicorns exist, even though no relable witness has ever seen one.


And if you did say someone else's beliefs were rational, would you, Wallsy, want to hear them? Or would you still prefer that they keep it to themselves?

Of course I want to hear them. Sharing evidence and conclusions is how we learn.


If the whole world worked like that, we would be in the dark ages again. Respect given is respect earned. That is the way of the world. I can disagree with s.o. beliefs, but I need to tolerate them. Tolerance does not me changing myself to be more like them or changing them to be more like me; rather that I do not look down upon them for their beliefs and that I accept that that is what they believe and it is different from my own beliefs.

How exactly would subjecting everyone's beliefs to scrutiny and calling them on their bullshit take us back to the dark ages? Seems that it would reduce ignarance, not increase it.

You're right about respect needing to be earned though (if that's what you meant; I'm not exactly sure what the meaning of that bit was); if you can't back your beliefs up with evidence then they don't deserve respect because they haven't earned any.

And respecting a person is not the same as respecting their beliefs. I have friends who're Christian, and though I certainly don't respect the belief that JHWH created the universe (in fact I find the idea laughable) I still respect them and will continue to be friends with them.

No one's perfect. Everyone has flaws, and it's still possible to respect them because their good qualities outweigh them.


Wallsy.

Fallen Hero
February 15th, 2008, 02:53 PM
Then we are really arguing a similar point... but wording it differently.

The dark ages I mean in an extreme case of hardline beliefs, we could potentially go back to the dark ages in regards to persecution

liquid_fire
February 15th, 2008, 07:03 PM
the respect thing is definitely in my mind atm. i've always been pretty knowledgeable about christian beliefs, being raised a catholic and all, but now that i'm digging deeper into the history of such things, and seeing just how much bull shit is fed as truth to good, unquestioning believers, I'm starting to find myself getting pissed at said people for being willfully ignorant. (and by ignorant i do not mean in intelligence but in reason).

Now i'm trying to ride the line between being an informant of factual information and being disrespectful.

GeoffBoulton
February 15th, 2008, 07:43 PM
Now i'm trying to ride the line between being an informant of factual information and being disrespectful.

Who is being disrespectful? I would say that people who stick their fingers in their ears and shout "I can't hear you, LA LA LA" rather than listen to ANYTHING that doesn't agree with their beliefs are the disrespectful ones.

This whole I'm going to make you feel guilty for pointing out the blatantly obvious shortcomings in my beliefs by calling you disrespectful is exactly how they've managed to stay in power for so long. ;)

punkinside
February 15th, 2008, 09:40 PM
I see two points here. I wouldn't say that irrational beliefs should not be tolerated because, what is tolerating them anyway? Wallsy, you have said you have Christian friends, that means that, to some extent, you "tolerate" them having these beliefs.

What exactly do you mean by "tolerate"?

I won't respect irrational religious beliefs any more that I respect Bayern München fans, socialists and other misguided individuals. But I do "tolerate" them. I don't have any socialist friends, but I know a lot of Bayern München fans, and it isn't a problem for me to see them wearing their team's paraphernalia, or shouting in the street after they've won a game.

I don't know if I'm making sense, I'm a little bit off this week. (or couple of years...)

The other point is the official enforcement of irrational beliefs. i.e. not selling alcohol on sundays, criminalization of drug use, to name a few not very important ones. In this case I agree with Wallsy.

-۞-
February 15th, 2008, 09:51 PM
Anyone who lets the fog down can see that putting heroin addicts in prison is basically getting no where.
I think the argument that addicts will only give up 'if they really want to' tends to overlook that we can influence people.
I only pay taxes because 'I really want to' in the sense that the alternatives are ultimately worse.
Though it is pretty clear (as I said) that locking up the druggies isn't putting them in an enviroment that is going to give them an incentive to give up drugs.
Prison is certainly an expensive way of making bad people worse.
Though in the case of addicts I also agree the label 'bad' doesn't fit at all well.

RealityRipple
February 15th, 2008, 09:52 PM
The only way to deal with this problem permanently is to physically rewrite the human brain, removing Fear, Hatred, Anger, the will to Dominate, and Jealousy. After that, beliefs won't matter because nobody will have beliefs forced upon them, and if they're brought up, no one will feel the need to convert the other.

As this option is not yet feasible, just mind your own business, and things will unfold in a chaotic manner as it naturally should.

RealityRipple
February 15th, 2008, 10:16 PM
Ya, except I wasn't too keen on the "erotic play" idea.

Wallsy
February 16th, 2008, 02:23 AM
I see two points here. I wouldn't say that irrational beliefs should not be tolerated because, what is tolerating them anyway? Wallsy, you have said you have Christian friends, that means that, to some extent, you "tolerate" them having these beliefs.

What exactly do you mean by "tolerate"?

I tolerate them to the extent that I don't spend every waking moment trying to convince them their wrong, but if it comes up in conversation (either through them specifically talking about it or through a conversation about a topic like abortion that's heavily influenced by religion) then I will point out the flaws in their reasoning ond try to convince them of the truth, as I see it.

In my view it would be irresponsible and unkind to do otherwise. Allawing people to continue to believe harmful lies does them no favours and can quite obviously lead to harm.


Wallsy.

punkinside
February 18th, 2008, 08:04 PM
I tolerate them to the extent that I don't spend every waking moment trying to convince them their wrong, but if it comes up in conversation (either through them specifically talking about it or through a conversation about a topic like abortion that's heavily influenced by religion) then I will point out the flaws in their reasoning ond try to convince them of the truth, as I see it.

In my view it would be irresponsible and unkind to do otherwise. Allawing people to continue to believe harmful lies does them no favours and can quite obviously lead to harm.


Wallsy.

I agree, this is what I do too. Saying you won't tolerate irrational beliefs is a little strong if this is all that it is. Maybe its just me.

bouchie
February 19th, 2008, 01:05 PM
A Brave New World?
Aren't we already there in the West? Massive amounts of advertisment; consumerism is mainstream; subliminal messages everywhere suggesting you are happy and/or how you should be happy; and a range of drugs to help to that effect (being happy) from illegal substances to the legal stuff (ritalin, valium...hell, even viagara). Everything to indicate that you can be happy and free if you follow the social order; or face social isolation/exhile.

All we're missing is the genetically altered/perfect babies. And we're not that far off, I don't think.

I say all this, because I've noticed this: if you share the mainstream beliefs (I'm thinking of the American mainstream ones: freedom, superiority of the individual, consumerism, etc.), even some slight deviations of them, you will be accepted and respected. If you don't share the mainstream beliefs, however, you might not even be tolerated; you're pretty much exhiled.

So really, in that sense, how far off are we from A Brave New World?

Fallen Hero
February 19th, 2008, 02:46 PM
I see two points here. I wouldn't say that irrational beliefs should not be tolerated because, what is tolerating them anyway? Wallsy, you have said you have Christian friends, that means that, to some extent, you "tolerate" them having these beliefs.

What exactly do you mean by "tolerate"?

I won't respect irrational religious beliefs any more that I respect Bayern München fans, socialists and other misguided individuals. But I do "tolerate" them. I don't have any socialist friends, but I know a lot of Bayern München fans, and it isn't a problem for me to see them wearing their team's paraphernalia, or shouting in the street after they've won a game.

I don't know if I'm making sense, I'm a little bit off this week. (or couple of years...)

The other point is the official enforcement of irrational beliefs. i.e. not selling alcohol on sundays, criminalization of drug use, to name a few not very important ones. In this case I agree with Wallsy.

I'm even more delisional... I cheer for Aachen.

I agree here, but the creation of laws based on beliefs is a different issue, because then the beliefs are being enforced on non-believers, rather than being simply personal beliefs. In which case there is a problem.

punkinside
February 19th, 2008, 08:31 PM
I'm even more delisional... I cheer for Aachen.


:icon_eek: they're like 9th in the 2. Bundesliga! That must suck for you...

I'm for VfB Stuttgart. Too bad they're getting their asses kicked this season...

Fallen Hero
February 22nd, 2008, 07:28 PM
:icon_eek: they're like 9th in the 2. Bundesliga! That must suck for you...

I'm for VfB Stuttgart. Too bad they're getting their asses kicked this season...
I know, I watched them last year when they were in the 1. Bundesliga, and saw them drop back into the 2nd. Ouch only 9th? They really are playing bad.