Merry Christmas wrote:
"Horrifying... Dr. Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No!"
(From Reunion) ... the Enterprise crew currently includes representatives from thirteen planets. They each have their individual beliefs and values and I respect them all.
Iamnotspock, how would you reconcile these two Picard quotes. In the latter, we see the Picard who is respectful, tolerant and believes in multiculturalism. This Picard is very much the cosmopolitan being who commands the starship Enterprise.
You can respect someone and still think their beliefs are complete bollocks.
Furthermore, all the Starfleet personnel are probably from pretty highly advanced cultures, I doubt that their beliefs contain much blatant superstition.
In the former quote, there is a separate Picard, one who is narrow minded, intolerant and is disdainful with ideas that he himself doesn't personally embrace. He insults the Mintakan's former spiritual beliefs, using derisive terms like "dark ages" and "ignorance."
He is a rationalist and what he says is true. How is 'ignorance' not an accurate description for believing things that just are not true? Should Picard respect the Mintakans' blatantly mistaken belief that he is a god?
I think that all Federation members have shared respect of scientific reality and knowledge. That things can be known, that they can be studied, and increasing knowledge makes us better people. They're not people who would be insulted if someone told them that their beliefs are not true. They would ask the person to explain why they think that and then they'd have a civilised discussion on the matter.
Respecting beliefs do not require accepting false things as true. Respecting someone's beliefs do not require you to refrain from saying that you think their beliefs are not true.