Respect for religious beliefs stems primarily from politics, not compassion or respect; The case of Scientology

Religious moderates and appeasing nontheists frequently admonish those critical of religious belief to respect the beliefs of others. They often frame the treatment of religious beliefs in terms of respect, civility and compassion. I have argued that these considerations are merely the tip of the iceberg, with main operative factor being political power. If considerations such as compassion, respect and civility really were the core considerations, most of us would treat Mormonism, Scientology, and other cults as just as well as we treat the big cults (e.g., Christianity, Islam, orthodox Judaism, etc.). And we would remove all responsibility of the cult and its general membership for negative acts done in the cult’s name, and ascribe fault exclusively to the cult’s fundamentalist members. What we would not see is  people honking because they hate Scientology as they pass the local Orlando, Florida Scientology office. Would we have seen such enthusiastic honkers, an apparent lack of opposition, and complete police indifference if people had been encouraging drivers to honk if they hate Christianity?

To those who would criticize others for criticizing or opposing the major religions but would be more willing to allow or even participate in criticism or opposition of Scientology, Mormonism, or other less-established cults, appreciate the hypocrisy of this position and its true underlying factors.

One Response to “Respect for religious beliefs stems primarily from politics, not compassion or respect; The case of Scientology”
  1. Patrick says:

    Well put! Actually in my experience atheists tend to be fairly accepting of Scientology and the like; we see them as foolish, but not significantly more foolish than the “mainstream” religions.

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