The value of worldviews

In response to my last blog post ("Respect for disrespectful and faulty beliefs?"), I got a response on Facebook, to which I wrote a refutation I would like to include on this blog. The picture below shows the response I got, under which a refutation modified for this blog post has been posted.

In my last blog post, I never claimed that the nature of religion is always and only genocide and inequality; that is not the point I was making. However, I will say that the nature of many religions is conservatism (to some degree) and dogmatic acceptance of something as true (even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence), which can quite easily lead to inequality. More to the point, in the article, I wrote about respecting the Bible as much as I did the beliefs based on the Bible; this "holy" book does inarguably support genocide and inequality and does not deserve respect ("respect" as in "protection from criticism").

I am glad he brought up communism. While fascism may be considered wholly bad, communism is not inherently bad and does not necessarily have policies of "population extermination" (which may be found in certain holy books). Even so, communism in practice has led to inequality, genocide, and totalitarianism. It is not controversial to criticize communism for this, even though there are plenty of communists who hold communism dearly and even though communists arguably are an oppressed minority in, for example, the United States; in short, secular ideologies are not given the same social and political protection as religious ones. I never said religious ideologies are necessarily worse than secular ones, or that only religious ones can be bad, as my critic made it seem; rather, I was arguing that the value of worldviews should be based on their own merit, not whether they are secular or religious.

It also amazes me that people actually defend religions by bringing up communism, as if the evils of the latter excuses the evils of the former, as if bad consequences can only be considered bad if the "other side" has not done anything bad itself; however, this is not a war between secular ideologies and religious ones, and the point I am making is that neither secular nor religious ones should be respected simply for existing. That is the only broader point I made in the article, nothing about the nature of religion other than the fact that it is highly regarded (and that most likely all religions are incorrect, to be fair).

I disagree that religion has necessarily done anything good "in the name of social cohesion" or that it should be considered good that it gives purpose. Social cohesion does not require dogmatic belief in the unprovable and illogical, and that kind of dogmatic belief can often lead to the same problems with segregation and bigotry as nationality and race do. The good consequences of religion do not require religion; neither do the bad ones, of course, though they do often require some kind of indoctrination and dogma, such as that found in many religions, fascism, communist dictatorships, etc.

The purpose one gains from religion is also false, if one assumes religions are faulty; as I mention in the article, not all religions can be simultaneously true, which means many do, indeed, have a false sense of purpose. It may be a great feeling for them, but if it is based on lies, it is ultimately self-destructive for them and destructive for society as a whole, especially if they vote based on their faulty beliefs and end up getting offended all the time because someone does not agree with them that their beliefs are non-fiction. Which does bring me, once more, to the only major point of my last article: Blasphemy should not be considered bad just because it questions or even ridicules religious beliefs. Religious beliefs, or any belief, should not be respected and protected because they serve as soul weed to make us feel good; in every other area, humans strive for knowledge, but with religion, we settled for preserving ancient myths.

I wrote in my last article that it can be summarized by Richard Dawkins' statement: "If your belief has any value, you should be able to defend it with something better than 'Your argument against it hurts me.' Grow up." The right to believe must definitely be protected, so I do let theists have their faith, but the beliefs themselves must not be protected; I will not strive to make it easy for them to keep their faith. Having one’s dogmatic faith challenged is never a bad thing. The value of worldviews is only as great as their ability to withstand critical evaluation.

Update (later on June 11, 2015): After reading my response, my critic wrote that he was glad I elaborated and that he largely agrees on what I have to say.