Hold on. Before you flip out and write a million nasty comments, hear me out. This is a complicated issue so don’t just jump to conclusions.
So what do I mean by there is “no reason to respect religion”? Well, what is religion? Religion is a a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. A set of beliefs. People may hold these beliefs so strongly they would die and kill because of them, (unfortunately, some often do), but at the end of the day it is still just a belief.
So why respect a belief? Because they hold it so dearly? What if we applied this to something other than religion. Say someone had the belief that invisible mermaids held up ships to keep them from sinking. Can we disprove them? No. Do they have any evidence? No. Are there natural, alternative explanations that do not require the supernatural? Yes. Say this person believed as passionately about invisible mermaids as you might about your religion. Seriously, I know it sounds strange, but what if this person fervently, passionately, and emotionally believed in the existence of these invisible mermaids. Unshakable faith.
Would you respect their beliefs the same way you want others to respect yours? What if they attempted to pass laws that affected your daily life based off of their unshakable faith? What if they wanted to teach their beliefs in public schools that all children have to go to? What if they wanted to use your tax dollars to support their religious programs? What if they wanted to put up their religious monuments to the mermaids in public law buildings?
Would you respect their beliefs then? Would you show deference? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Now replace the mermaid analogy with your religion.
“But it’s extremely important to me and I’m offended that you don’t show respect! You’re being rude!”
Look, here is the important thing most people overlook. There is a difference between respecting a person’s unfounded beliefs, and respecting the person’s right to have them. You should respect a person for the human being they are, and respect their right to believe whatever they want, but just because they hold a belief very dearly does not mean you have to respect that belief.
Religion does not get a free pass. The ideas that comprise a religion are subject to the same scrutiny as any other idea. You have the right to hold those ideas, but you do not have the right to be free from criticism.