Respecting the Beliefs of Others

I do not respect anyone's religious or supernatural beliefs. Why? Well, it's a simple matter of definitions. "Respect" means "high regard" and "esteem". How can I honestly have high regard for something I believe is untrue? I can't. I can certainly respect people who have false beliefs, but I can't respect the beliefs themselves for the simple reason that I cannot respect falsehood.

In short:

Whether I respect a person or not depends on how nice they are.
Whether I respect beliefs or not depends on how true they are.

I'm always puzzled by people who claim to respect the beliefs of others. I always want to ask such people the following questions:

- What if someone believes that homosexuals should be put to death? Will you respect this belief? Homosexuality is currently punishable by death under Islam's Sharia law in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Those accused are usually hanged. Please do a Google image search for "Iran homosexuality" for evidence.

- What if someone believes that women who wear nail polish should get their fingers cut off? (Taliban interpretation of Sharia law)

- What if someone believes that if a woman is raped, the proper thing to do is kill her? ("Honor" killings, prevalent in many Islamic countries)

- What if someone believes that if a woman is stabbed by her husband, she obviously deserved it*. Therefore, the husband should not be punished in any way and no investigation into what happened is necessary. It's obviously her fault... she drove him to it.

- What if someone believes that it's okay to marry an 11-year-old girl against her will to a 48-year-old man*? The man can have sex with her whenever he wants, even if she's in tears, bleeding, and begging him to stop. In our culture, this is called pedophilia and forcible child rape. In other cultures, it's called "traditional arranged marriage". Will you respect such a marriage?

At what point will you say "Okay, that's going too far. I do NOT respect those beliefs because they are just too sick and wrong."

*Source: "Child Brides", June 2011 National Geographic.

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