1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; faith; trust: a child’s belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
No, I will not even entertain the notion of respecting your beliefs
When I first filled out my Twitter bio, I didn’t think too much about that statement. I just wanted something that summarised some of my thoughts toward religion. Since then, a number of theists have commented on it, using words to describe me, like ‘intolerant’ ‘bigot’ & ‘handsome’. What they have all failed to realise is that there is no reason a belief should be entitled to any modicum of respect. What is a belief after all? It’s nothing more than an idea held by someone. Should ideas not be judged on their own merit and not merely accepted and respected just because a large number of people happen to hold them? I might believe that the earth is flat, but should you have to respect that belief? Obviously not, and you would more than likely challenge and ridicule that belief. If I attempt to extend my belief beyond the sphere of my own life, this belief of mine has now become your issue.
Outside an Orwellian dystopia, people are free to believe whatever they choose. The freedom to hold a belief however, does not entitle that belief to any respect. While they are extreme examples, the Nazis and the KKK clearly illustrate my point: both had/have very strong beliefs (which may actually be rooted in religion, but that is a topic unto itself). While the small number of repugnant individuals who still share those beliefs might disagree, it’s safe to say that the vast majority of people today would accord those beliefs exactly zero respect. The holder of a belief should be respected if that respect is in fact earned/deserved, people’s right to hold a belief should also be respected, but the belief itself exists only in the mind of the person or people that hold it and thus is not entitled to any respect.
This is why I won’t even entertain the notion of respecting anyone’s beliefs.