Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Do you think people with specific beliefs owe an explanation to others?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5479points) July 5th, 2016
29 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

This is an conceived attitude I have observed over on Yahoo Anawers. Certain people demanding that others provide detailed evidence for their belief system (even if they don’t profess their specific belief as fact).

I thought I’d get some opinions from the Fluther community on this issue?

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BellaB's avatar

If people present something as a fact/truth, I want evidence.

If it’s a belief, I’m curious where it comes from but I don’t expect evidence. I may ask, but I won’t care as much as if someone’s trying to tell me something is true without providing evidence.

jca's avatar

I can only speak for myself. I don’t question other people’s beliefs and I don’t expect someone to grill me on mine. If someone tells me something that they state is a fact and I find it hard to believe, I google it. I may google it anyway just to get more info, even if I do believe it.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (1points)
zenvelo's avatar

”...provide detailed evidence for their belief system. So people want one to prove the unprovable.

It isn’t so much “owe an explanation” as much as being willing to state that they are beliefs.

stanleybmanly's avatar

They only owe explanations when their beliefs intrude on others.

Coloma's avatar

What @BellaB said.
I don’t think anyone owes anyone an explantion for their beliefs, but..if presented as ultimate truth I want evidence as well. Don’t even try to tell me that marrying off/raping children is okay, or try to justify your otherwise deviate beliefs. That’s a no fly zone for me and regardless of your explanations I will dismiss you as ignorant at best, depraved at worst.

Seek's avatar

“I believe God is in all of us” – No explanation needed.

“I believe the earth is flat” – Explanation needed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, look what the cat drug in! Glad to see you @NerdyKeith!

I think it depends on how militant those people with “beliefs” are about insisting that you convert to their way of thinking. When they start demanding that, I start demanding “Why?”

rojo's avatar

“I believe God is flat” Explanation needed or not???

rojo's avatar

Agree with @BellaB Interested to know how certain beliefs are acquired and why the are but don’t demand someone prove beliefs to me.

Seek's avatar

I’d want an explanation for that. Not that I’d be entitled to one, but it would make for interesting conversation.

kritiper's avatar

No one owes any explanations although many self-righteous self-proclaimed clerics profoundly state their beliefs in the assumption that their POV is somehow right, the other person’s POV is somehow wrong, and that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights to correct the supposed unknowing and/or uneducated.
“God is.” – Explanation not required. Proof would be nice.
“God isn’t.” – Ditto.
To each his or her own opinion.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t think anyone owes anyone else an explanation of their beliefs.
That said, maybe if people knew they would have to defend their positions, they would consider them better.

NerdyKeith's avatar

Good to see you too @Dutchess_III :)

Thank you everyone for your answers. All very compelling points.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Only if they are trying to win others over to that way of thinking. Otherwise it’s their business.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to justify themselves.

lynfromnm's avatar

No, they don’t owe anyone an explanation. That said, it furthers understanding and tolerance to provide an explanation to people with whom one wishes to have any kind of meaningful relationship.

jca's avatar

I don’t think the word “owe” is appropriate in this context. Very few things are “owed.” Work in exchange for a paycheck, for example. Taxes to the government is another example.

People having a conversation don’t owe each other anything. If one asks another about their beliefs, it’s all optional. Last night we were visiting friends and I asked the mom if she believes in God. I’ve known her for about 10 years. She didn’t owe me an explanation but the question and the ensuing discussion helped us both get to know each other better.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (1points)
marinelife's avatar

Not at all.

Cruiser's avatar

It is my belief that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs with no explanation or justification needed.

Mariah's avatar

Owe, no. I consider it good practice to be open about explaining one’s beliefs (it helps everybody grow – the readers as well as the writer), but if someone doesn’t want to for whatever reason, that’s their prerogative. It probably gets very tiring for, e.g., trans people to have to host a trans FAQ every time they come out.

Aethelwine's avatar

No, but there will always be someone who will chastise and belittle you if you don’t explain your position to them. It’s happened to me many times here. very recently, I should add

Dutchess_III's avatar

WHAT DO YOU MEAN @jonsblond??!! And what happened to your other name? Explain this please.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III…Maybe Janet can explain this sudden changeooops too late…Neptune is having a snack

SmartAZ's avatar

In the 19th century Americans started moving west and three institutions went with them. There was vaudeville, traveling entertainment. There was lyceum, traveling education and culture. And there was the itinerant preacher, offering a new style of preaching called “hell fire and brim stone”. It was very entertaining, only loosely based on scripture, and pastors didn’t even try to compete. Instead they switched to preaching public morality and philosophy. Eventually an entire generation grew up not knowing the first thing about the religion they claimed to believe. That is why most Christian churches don’t teach doctrines, and most members don’t know what they are supposed to believe. Modern atheists have tuned in to this absence of knowledge and they yank believers around all they can.

rojo's avatar

@SmartAZ so which is the correct teaching method for religion Hellfire and Brimstone or public morality and philosophy?

SmartAZ's avatar

@rojo The correct teaching method is to first learn the subject. It is not reliable to ask people to tell you what the bible says. Many people will make up stuff because they don’t know what it says, and many will make up stuff because they wish it would not say what it says. You just have to read it for yourself. Read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Proverbs has 31 chapters so you can keep your place by just looking at a calendar. There is no religion or nothing in Proverbs and you don’t have to believe anything. Just read to find comfort and confidence. When you are comfortable with that, then read the bible from Romans to 2 Thessalonians over and over until you start to remember what it says. That is the part that applies to Christians. Here is a book to help you to understand the bible. It’s a free download and you can get a hard copy at any bible book store. “How To Enjoy The Bible”

Sneki95's avatar


I have a belief. I have my own reasons to believe it. There may not be a proof of it but honestly, I don’t care.

In my opinion, belief does not require proof, but trust and reasons to believe. I may think about life and nature and thus conclude about the existence of a God, but that does not mean I have undeniable evidence for it. I don’t have any way of saying “Here, there is God, on this very place, and you can’t deny it and tell me otherwise”. But I still believe in it, I don’t care if there is no proof.

Belief does not require proof. Stating something as a fact does. So saying, “I believe” is not the same as “It is”. “I believe there is a God” does not require proof. “There is a God” does, because it implies it is a fact and a part of reality we can’t deny or disprove, like saying “There is water”, rather than an opinion or belief.

As long as i don’t force it on others and claim I definitely am speaking the truth, I have a full right to believe whatever the hell I want.

If I believe that unicorns, lizard people and leprechauns exist, but keep it to myself, I have right to do so. I don’t have any “burden of proof”. It is my choice, my thing. As long as I keep it to myself, no one has the right to ask for evidence or attack me for believing in it.

Ergo, I don’t give anyone else the right of doing the same to me. You believe whatever your brain makes up, just keep it to yourself and don’t shove it down my throat as an undeniable truth.

I don’t have a right to tell you what to think, and you don’t have a right to tell me either.

I think we can all agree and live peacefully as long as we respect each other’s beliefs and keep ours to ourselves and people who share opinion with us.

That is, as long as whatever you believe in does not include hurting or molesting others. Then we have a problem.

In conclusion: believe whatever, just keep in mind it is a belief and thus, don’t pass it off as a fact or truth and for the love of everything, don’t preach it and force it on others!


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