Everyone’s Entitled to Their Opinion

Recently, my more religious sister criticized me for speaking out against theistic belief. Instead of discussing my criticisms of theistic belief, she simply stated that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have actually heard this claim made by a lot of people and not all of them were theists. A few silent atheists have also be critical of speaking out against ancient superstitions stating that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I problem here is that I don’t disagree that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and yet these people seem to be implying that I do. I never said people aren’t entitled to their own opinions. In fact, not only have I repeatedly talked about my support for the freedom of religion, I have actually gone to congress and personally lobbied in favor of free speech. The second some Congress-person, Senator, or even the President tries to push a law restricting people’s right to have their own opinion, I will be right there to fight for those rights. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

What they are not entitled to however, is for their opinions to be protected from criticism. The fact is that we all acknowledge this. We all not only criticize other people’s opinions on a daily basis, but no one in their right mind would claim that it was immoral to do so. No one has a problem criticizing what Hitler did to the Jews. Nor do people have an issue criticizing the KKK for their views. Tom Cruise is continually criticized for his religious beliefs and mainstream Christians and Jews are usually right there at my side criticizing the more fundamentalist believers in their own religions. But the moment anyone criticizes their beliefs, they attempt to over dramatize the criticism with claims of intolerance and/or hate. Insinuations are made that their free speech is being taken away. I don’t hate Christians. I have many Christian friends. I certainly don’t hate Jews. For starters, I am a Jew. Plus my family is Jewish and I love them very much… even my overly religious sister. But I do take issue with what these people believe and so while I will fight for their rights to have their own opinion on religious matter no matter how ridiculous and silly those opinions might be, I will also criticize those opinions if they are ridiculous, silly, and/or dangerous.

In my view, dangerous opinions lead to dangerous actions. And when they do, we need to stand up and strongly criticize those dangerous actions and be critical of the beliefs which lead to those actions. Now again, I am not talking about outlawing those dangerous opinions and beliefs, but I am talking about being critical of those opinions and beliefs. I supported the ACLU when they defended the KKK’s right to march peacefully. But if the KKK wanted to march peacefully in my town, I would be on the sidelines being very critical of their beliefs and arguing against those views.

I think it is pretty hypocritical of theists to claim some special protection from criticism for their beliefs when they seem so willing to criticize other people’s beliefs. Why is it that they think that criticizing political opinions is okay, but criticizing religious views should be forbidden? As I stated before it isn’t even all religious views that they seem to think should be protected; just their religious views and the religions which are closely related to their religious views. Judaism and Christianity should be protected and maybe Islam, but not necessarily. Other religions it seems like should definitely not be protected like Scientology, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satanists, Wiccans, etc.

In my view however, no opinions should be above criticism. I believe in the market place of ideas and in that market place all ideas and beliefs are welcome and should be equally open to criticism. Let the best ideas and beliefs win. But it seems that the believers in the Abrahamic religions know that their beliefs are ridiculous, silly, and have no valid evidence supporting them. So they don’t want to compete in the market place of ideas because they know their ideas will lose. So instead they try to protect their failed ideas from any and all criticism. How sad.

Check out my Daily Blog @ DangerousTalk.net and my atheist news blog @ Examiner.com

8 responses to “Everyone’s Entitled to Their Opinion

  1. I saw a perfect t-shirt:

    You are entitled to your own opinions.
    You are NOT entitled to your own facts.

  2. Science cannot be my god because it is so limited. Science cannot establish truth. Science is limited by the persons who practice it. Science cannot make universal statements. Science cannot make value judgements or moral judgements. Science cannot tell us what is right or wrong. Science must deal with observable physical phenomena. Because of these limits science cannot answer all questions. We will never know everything about the universe. Science is the realm of fact. Religion is the realm of morality and faith. But Biblical religion makes very specific claims about facts. It claims the universe had a beginning, God had a role in creation, that humans have a certain kind of nature and about historical events that were supposed to have happened. God has revealed Himself in time and space. This is why science and religion are at odds. Some people believe that science trumps all other forms of knowledge, that only science is rational and achieves truth. To say that science is the only begatter of truth is a contradiction because that statement cannot be tested by the scientific method.

  3. Science is not perfect either it’s not perfect.It does not satisfy all the needs and longings of mankind.Maybe it is silliness to believe in what we can’t see.But I cannot see darkmatter either.

  4. Actually we are entitled to our own facts.You want to control what others think?Buy the Media ,that’s what Rupert Murdoch, and the rev.Sun Moon did.What a person thinks is real, is real to them and relative to their existence.

  5. Hey Margaret,

    Great post. I read about your site in Richard Dawkin’s book “The God Delusion” (still reading–don’t tell me how it ends. LOL). Thought I’d check out your site. Really enjoyed this post–spot on.

    Too bad you don’t post more often–but then I suppose you have a life. I use the same excuse for not starting a blog of my own, but I suspect laziness is more of the culprit.

    Take care, and keep fighting the good fight!

  6. Hey Brian, for more posts like this one, check out DangerousTalk.net

  7. Debbie: you’re a moron. Science is about what is observable. If you can’t observe something– that is, detect it in any way– then there is no reason to believe or suggest it exists. To claim that religion somehow operates in this extra-sensory world that science can never penetrate is simply saying that this world has no bearing on the real world of existence. How could religion have any basis if not for effects in the world we are here observing? It doesn’t, and of course, has no basis. It’s so much fantasy, obviously.

    Patrick: Science doesn’t have “satisfy mankind’s needs” on its agenda. It’s a process for obtaining useful insights about the world. Religion is for poor and uneducated people to feel that their misery has direction, or that the caprices of their lives are controllable by them or some sky deity. The more a society modernizes, the more social programs are in place, and the higher the overall level of education, the fewer people resort to the mind-virus of religion. Duh. Religions are for retards. Religion is a brain in a wheelchair.

  8. Well said, Nick.

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