The right to believe

mountaineer
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The right to believe

I'm new here so I don't know what you guys might think about this, but as an atheist, do you believe in a person's right to be a Christian?  I personally believe that people should always have the right to believe in what they want to believe in. I'm coming at this as a Christian but I just wanted to know what you guys think.


pariahjane
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I believe that a person has

I believe that a person has a right to whatever religious beliefs they choose, as long as that belief does not harm or hinder another individual. I don't believe that a person has the right to walk into a cafe with bombs strapped to his chest and I don't believe that a person has the right to stop another couple from getting married just because their holy book says it is wrong.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


RationalSchema
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Definately. People are free

Definately. People are free to believe what they want. I may think their beliefs are similar to those of the Dark ages, but they can think what they want. I think most athiests would be against thought policing.

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


JCE
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Welcome! This is a

Welcome!

This is a difficult question to answer since by the laws of my country (US) I am forced to accept other beliefs.  While I would not want to force anyone to reject their beliefs, I also do not want those beliefs thrust upon me.  Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Leprechauns...they are all the same and if someone wants to hold onto their beliefs I generally take the attitude that it is fine until it affects me.   


BGH
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Their right to believe stops

Their right to believe stops when it infringes on my personal rights, my right not to believe or my right to not follow their doctrine.


Jacob Cordingley
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Absolutely. If someone wants

Absolutely. If someone wants to believe that the planet Jupiter is made of bubble bath then that's up to them. They might be a little bit insane but there's no point locking them away unless they're dangerously insane and cause a threat to others. I might disagree. I think there should also be a right to open debate between individuals of any belief.


Mike Seth
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Of course you have the

Of course you have the right to believe! What you don't have is a right to force others to believe in the same things or force them to behave in the same manner you would without having you believe.

Public schools should not teach theism. Theism should not be spoken about as if it is the foundation of society. It is merely a set of beliefs, immaterial whether rational or not, that is carried by a vocal and hostile minority which is only possible because of the ignorance and apathy of the undecided majority. No such minority should be allowed to take exclusive power using which it can further its spread and influence.

Theists may protest and argue to their hearts' contents. What they shouldn't be doing is sneak-passing laws that encourage religion, subdue competing religions, persecute people that do not comply with religion, and creating an artificial athmosphere in which religion seems natural to man, whereas it is, in fact, not.

 


The Patrician
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pariahjane wrote: I believe

pariahjane wrote:
I believe that a person has a right to whatever religious beliefs they choose, as long as that belief does not harm or hinder another individual. I don't believe that a person has the right to walk into a cafe with bombs strapped to his chest and I don't believe that a person has the right to stop another couple from getting married just because their holy book says it is wrong.

 

Bingo. 

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.


gregfl
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You can believe in anything

You can believe in anything you want.  When you start passing laws that force others to believe, start interfering with the teaching of science because it goes against an ancient holy book, start trying to insist that the country belongs to "christians", and otherwise trying to relegate atheists to second class citizens, you will here protest from non believers.


This,in fact, is what is going on right now in this country and on this website.


Jacob Cordingley
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Mike Seth wrote: Of course

Mike Seth wrote:

Of course you have the right to believe! What you don't have is a right to force others to believe in the same things or force them to behave in the same manner you would without having you believe.

Public schools should not teach theism. Theism should not be spoken about as if it is the foundation of society. It is merely a set of beliefs, immaterial whether rational or not, that is carried by a vocal and hostile minority which is only possible because of the ignorance and apathy of the undecided majority. No such minority should be allowed to take exclusive power using which it can further its spread and influence.

Theists may protest and argue to their hearts' contents. What they shouldn't be doing is sneak-passing laws that encourage religion, subdue competing religions, persecute people that do not comply with religion, and creating an artificial athmosphere in which religion seems natural to man, whereas it is, in fact, not.

 

 Spot on except the natural to man bit, perhaps replace that with 'the only way to be a good moral person'. Evidently religion is natural to most men, or at least most people are naturally prone to it. Most people are also naturally prone to catching cold too.


Mike Seth
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Jacob Cordingley wrote:

Jacob Cordingley wrote:

Spot on except the natural to man bit, perhaps replace that with 'the only way to be a good moral person'. Evidently religion is natural to most men, or at least most people are naturally prone to it. Most people are also naturally prone to catching cold too.

No no no no no! Don't make the mistake! Religion is nothing like flu; if you want to compare it to actual disease, take AIDS. Just like AIDS, religion is mostly passed from a person to a person directly, and just like AIDS, it is passed from parents to children. Just like AIDS, religion mutates and resits attempts to probe it.

There is nothing natural to religion. It is an artifical construct that is possible because of a bug in human mind's software.

Why would a healthy, confident atheist or agnostic spontaneously convert to religion? Of course some do, and looking for answers to eternal questions is fine, but religion is really the last place you should be looking in the same sense that when looking for your own credit card number the last place you should be looking at is Google; if you do that, you are already screwed.

On being a good moral person, I dont think it is benefitial for the atheist cause to try and mix the question of naturality of religion with the one of being a good moral person. This is purely because the question of morality (e.g. whether it's possible to arrive to morality without resorting to authority of religious command) is a very important one and it deserves to be examined on its own. Answering that question exposes a vital principle on which I would like to elaborate some more later.