|A Raelian discussing his beliefs with a passerby in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When people make statements like this, they generally mean something a bit different from what they say. They may mean that all beliefs are worthy of respect (they aren't), that religious beliefs should be immune to criticism (they shouldn't), or that all beliefs not readily falsifiable are somehow equally valid (they aren't).
While we each have the right to our own beliefs, we must recognize a couple of hard truths about what we believe. First, believing something does not make it true. Many beliefs are false, and the fact that many people hold false beliefs does not make these beliefs any less false. Reality is not determined by popularity. Second, some beliefs are harmful to the believer, to others, or both. Beliefs can involve bigotry, prejudice, bias, intolerance, and even hate. Such beliefs fuel tribalism, cruelty, discrimination, violence, and other adverse outcomes. Beliefs of this sort can be toxic. The belief in demonic possession readily comes to mind as an example, but there are countless others.