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Ethical implications of religious tolerance?

Brights

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1azureyes
Mar 21, 2007, 12:36am Top

I asked about this at the end of a post in the Dawkins thread, but thought it might be more productive to give it its own.

Might one have a responsibility NOT to be blithely tolerant of superstitious beliefs, given their inherent potential dangers?

If you're divided on the question, have come to some accomodation around it, or know of some good books or articles that address this difficulty head-on, please let me know.

2reading_fox
Mar 21, 2007, 6:25am Top

I accomodate the potential danger in others beliefs because one ought to be tolerant for a number of reasons.

- you don't have the experiances of the other person

- you are never going to convince someone else to give up there faith

- a little bit of tolerance makes the world a lot smoother to live in

- If they are wrong there is little harm they can do?

The last is perhaps more questionable, depending on the exact beliefs and the degree of tolerance one recieves in return.

3LolaWalser
Edited: Mar 21, 2007, 11:53am Top

Might one have a responsibility NOT to be blithely tolerant of superstitious beliefs, given their inherent potential dangers?


Interesting question. I don't know how to answer it personally (or maybe I can't "pick one"), but I'm reminded of the cases when it WAS assumed that the answer is "yes", i.e. the official suppression of religious belief under some Communist regimes. Of course, this still left a lot of space for (other kinds of) superstition (and even the most rigid systems did not achieve--nor aim for--absolute societal atheism).

I can say this much, though: I find it hard to believe we could ever create a homogeneously "rational" society. Don't know if it's because some part of religiosity seems to be biologically predisposed, or because humans are spiteful little beasts :), forever contrary.

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