I know, I know, easier said than done, but watch yourself and see if you can catch yourself in the act of not listening as soon as you know that the person speaking (or writing) is a [insert belief system here].
This is particularly common across the boundary of belief and non-belief in God (or gods). Secular humanists are very quick to tune out the religious, missing out on deep insights and traditions of charity, and, as a most disheartening survey in the United States revealed, atheists are less trusted than any of the other groups listed (e.g. women, blacks, homosexuals, Jews, etc. etc.) despite their significant numbers and contributions even in a highly religious country like the U.S.
Try reading something across the boundaries of your beliefs. C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity have something to offer even a diehard atheist. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins or just about anything by Carl Sagan can help theists & deists understand the love & passion that the irreligious can bring to the world around them
If those are too big a jump, go read the humorous Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by atheist Douglas Adams or enjoy Sister Wendy's books and videos on great art of the world.
2 thoughts on “Discard the knee-jerk biases based on philosophical/spiritual affiliation”
As a secular humanist, this is one of the hardest things for me to do. Despite the fact that the world crawls with brilliant theists, I struggle to escape my deep seated conviction that these people have to be mentally deficient to believe such nonsense. Of course, this sort of insular belief in one’s own superior philosophy is very much a matter of the pot calling the kettle black and does nothing to further one’s own growth. I suspect that, of all the bad habits one might hope to discard, this one is probably the most challenging.
A spiritual teacher whom I respect very much, says something along the lines of, “I understand that some of us get allergic to the religion of their upbringing. Whenever you encounter somebody referring to God, just substitute the God of your understanding.”
I’ve found this to be the most helpful advice.
The God of your understanding, grey, may well be reason or science; that might be a way of looking at it.