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!

3 thoughts on “With All Due Respect

  1. I firmly believe that believers know what they profess to believe is just plain silly and childish. They can handle talking to other believers from other faiths, because those other believers hold beliefs THEY can poo poo as wrong and foolish. But a non-believer is making them confront the silliness of their belief, in essence telling them they are stupid. Hey, I guess you believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny too, huh. That’s what pisses them off.
    You see, it’s okay for them to tell us what they believe, because what they believe is supposed to be what everybody believes. But when we tell them what we believe, we’re calling them idiots. And, sadly, that’s how I see them. You’ve got to be a moron to be a Mormon, or any other brand of Christian if you buy ANY of the dogma, from gold tablets in a hat magically translated by a special stone to talking snakes and a virgin birth, but most of all a loving god who will punish you forever just for being humanly confused. So their perceptions are one hundred percent accurate in my case. No wonder they get mad at me. Nobody likes being called a fool. But I find it very hard to stop doing that when the only way to stop doing that is to pretend to agree with them.

    • which makes me wonder, what is it that these patently silly beliefs is appealing to that they take such firm hold in people’s minds.

      I think back to Sunday school and I realize that that is where and when I realized what a load of nonsense religion was – the stories they told us were not consistent with what we were learning in history class – so is it just that religion tells people that they matter and the price of of inclusion and mattering is accepting stories that are in stark contrast and contradiction to reality?

      To accept religion is to reject reality – so is religion the gateway to addiction (which is the chemical way to reject reality)?

  2. why believers react negative to non-believers (more than to other believers)

    I think that believers don’t like non-believers because we don’t give them the reverence that they have confused with respect

    and they know we don’t respect them and more than that, reject them.

    so, they lash out with anger and have to demonize and infantalize us in order to maintain their self image

    after all, if people look at the same history and society as they have – and come to a different conclusion – and they have insisted that there’s one true way – and we disagree and live well and successfully without the brain shackles of their religion

    then, at some point, they have to wonder if they picked wrong; so they lash out in anger at us for making them think and doubt.

    and they project that onto us, to justify their belief by pretending that we secretly believe

    which is why they can tolerate other believers, since even wrong belief confirms belief

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