Just read an article from ABC News that briefly distracted my from continuing my multiple part series on The FUDing of Windows Vista.
It distracted me because it made me mad. The story talks about how some Muslim cab drivers are refusing to transport people with dogs, or people with alcohol, because it violates their religions beliefs. But that's not what made me mad. (Although it did annoy me a little.)
What made me mad was the fact that the response to this, by most people at least, is that these people's religious beliefs deserve respect. Evidentially they deserve so much respect that it outweighs the legitimate needs of some people, such as those with seeing eye dogs.
People deserve respect, beliefs do not. If a belief cannot be rationally defended, it is not worth believing in.
I'm not saying we should go around banning certain religious practices because they can't be rationally defended. I mean, I would really miss seeing Catholics parade up and down Church isles wearing funny hats and swinging smoking tea pots around. That's damn entertaining.
But when irrational religious beliefs detrimentally butt up against other people's lives, we should usually take the side of rationality.
I would say it's a pretty safe bet that the Muslim cab driver can't rationally defend this particular belief, anymore than a Christian can rationally defend the belief in the Trinity, or a Jew can rationally defend the prohibition on eating shellfish.
I don't care if you cloth your beliefs in the armor of "religion", as far as I'm concerned, they're, at best, silly superstitions. And at worst they damage the very basis of modern society.
To quote Jefferson: "Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind."