With All Due Respect

Respect is a tricky balance between what one is entitled to and what one is owed vs what another people feels is due to or earned by you from them.

Respect requires the participation of both parties, and for respect to be meaningful, it has to be exchanged between the parties.

one sided respect is often grudging or arises from fear – more often for the position but not the person occupying said position. That’s when a person demands respect, but does not command it.

Is respect earned or bestowed? Should people be respected or people plus their ideas/opinions? Can a person even be considered separate from their beliefs and ideas?

Respect is such a difficult concept to define, but the lack of respect is easy to identify.

Funny in a way then, that believers are quick to understand that they are not respected by non-believers – but they cannot accept that faith and respect are on similar continuum’s – my lack of respect for believers/belief is crystal clear to them but my lack of faith is not. Odd to me, because these two lacks are inter-related, yet believers refuse to accept my lack of faith while demanding that I respect theirs at the same time.

Part of the problem is that people load words differently and thus conflict is less to do with the word, but the assumptions and values that each person has loaded the word with.

When I hear a believer demanding respect – this confuses me, since, to my mind, respect is earned and not bestowed. Believers have not earned respect because of being believers and their beliefs are not owed respect – beliefs are a legal right and an entitlement – there is no law requiring respect for beliefs – only for a person’s right to hold them.

What believers are asking for is reverence – special consideration – the same consideration that they grant to their beliefs and not to other people’s beliefs.

My respect for a person or group is dependent on the reasonableness of their opinion, their willingness to work across differences and their willingness to be accommodating/tolerant of others. I don’t think that there’s a requirement to tolerate intolerance

All opinions are not equally valid or valuable – so respect in those cases gives them a sheen of credibility that is undeserved and inflates poor ideas and people beyond any justification for the respect – which is often why reverence – unquestioning respect – is demanded for religion and by extension, believers who, for the most part, have never bothered to question why their religion over all others and merely accepted the default setting* of their parent or parents and larger society.

Being undeserving is not a concept that believers, who’s belief tells them that they are special and above non-believers and better than wrong-believers – are willing to accept, because it negates their beliefs. That they have embraced the belief is what to their mind, puts them in an above reproach category of consideration – a category that is specifically denied by non-belief.

What’s humorous is that while believers demand reverence er respect from non-believers – they are unwilling to respect non-belief and characterize non-believers as perpetually rebellious, angry at god people who secretly know there there’s a god.

There’s not. Not sorry about that either. Unrepentant unbeliever, because there’s no consequences to no-belief anymore – the Church cannot force science mind folk to drink hemlock and it’s no longer social suicide to not believe. Unbelief is not only out of the closet, it’s swinging from the door and waving banners.


*Default setting – it has always been something of a curiosity to me that some people refuse to accept that there are people who are not heterosexual, sexually vanilla, not believers and anything else that sets a person outside of the norm of their society – it is as if they are convinced that we haven’t heard of whatever characteristic is the norm or are only rejecting it because we are rebelling for it’s own sake, haven’t heard of the norm, or haven’t experienced the norm pleasantly – or in the case of lesbians, had their particular penis with the magic ability to convert any woman – funny then it doesn’t occur to them that the “right penis” may make them gay!