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Being respectful

Does anyone agree that respecting the beliefs Christians and religious is people is due if your unbelief is to be respected?

philosophy_nerd 3 Feb 23

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Thanks for being there. I awoke early this morning (at 85+ years old) with a new and better description of myself i.e. "Respectful Agnostic". When I searched the Internet to explore this relatively new description for myself, your site came up.
The question I am responding to is a great one and could you check the wording as it does not make full sense to me? I will answer as if the question states: "Does anyone agree that respecting the beliefs that Christians and other religious people hold is due, if your unbelief is to be respected?"
I answer an emphatic YES with the proviso that their belief keeps in theory and practice to an age old condition that their beliefs DO NO HARM.
My wife and I attended the 2009 PARLIAMENT OF WORLD RELIGIONS in Melbourne and all 5000 people from an enormous variety of religions and ways of life (that included Humanist and possibly Atheists) got along without an unkind word, look or body language for a whole week meeting from 8 am to midnight at times. That great experience and several other of my life experiences give me clear hope that the much better world we all seek (but many do not actively work for as they think it impossible) IS POSSIBLE. Fortunately for my continuing passionate efforts to continue I see small clear evidence of a better world coming every day. Recently I was able to promote on National TV in Australia a book "LIFE IS SO GOOD" by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman. The last line of that book states "Life is so good and gets better every day". It is interesting that when I entered my 80th year, I often communicated in a variety of ways an affirmation that "Life gets better every day" and probably because I look for those betterments life does get better every day.
In my case, my membership of a small and very active group called WORLD CITIZENS ASSOCIATION AUSTRALIA (see or provides amazing opportunities and social support. I can certainly recommend this group as they presented at the recent PARIS PEACE FORUM last November and are at present planning a Peace Event in Sydney with a key International Speaker re world government. On that site I show as Junior World Citizen Project Coordinator and as since 2008 due to a national curriculum document, all teachers in every subject area are expected to incorporate global perspectives, I expect to relinquish that project in favour of others.
I have chosen to add the picture of my ODD SOCKS as having fun is a key element of any way of life and I have worn odd socks for most of the past 30 years especially during my times as SCHOOL PRINCIPAL and later SCHOOL COUNSELLOR/PSYCHOLOGIST. I usually was one of the best dressed teachers in a pin stripe suit and tie and very often if a less tense relationship was needed, I pulled up my trouser legs to show the dramatically odd socks. Great fun which often led to great outcomes.

este Level 1 Feb 25, 2019

Beliefs deserve only as much respect as the evidence and logic that can be mustered in their defense.

No idea should be given respect solely on the basis that it is important to someone's self image.


This is something I've struggled with. I'm admittedly more slow to respect evangelists, but I think thats due to a chip on my shoulder. I want to respect everyone's freedom to have beliefs, but its difficult when their beliefs have a very real and very negative impact. In order to show people the kindness and respect I wish to give everyone, I kind of have to just separate their 'having a belief' from what they actually believe, if that makes any sense.


I respect people and expect to be treated with respect. I have zero respect for belief in any mythology.


I don't respect the belief, I respect their right to believe. Big difference.


I wouldn't really want to engage with anyone about my unbelief at all . Its pointless what am I going to get out of it apart from a verbal hiding ?- I have put up with too any of those already and I learned from it .I am never disrespectful of another's beliefs but I won't put up with being lectured about how I am going to hell in a handbucket any more


I respect the fact they can have whatever belief they want however I don't have to respect the actual belief especially if it's batshit crazy !!!


I respect others others beliefs as long as they respect my lack of, of that is not possible then I get mean about it. Also, why I barely talk to my brother.

Same here. I got tired of being shouted down. Gave up on him. and this was before I even mentioned any kind of atheism to him. More truth on my part would have only made it worse. My Mom & Sister say, "Oh he's so funny". I said "Mom, he is the only one laughing"


Respect people, and their right to believe what they want, by there is nothing to respect about Christianity in general.


Live and let live and do no harm. That is the base respect I give to everyone I meet, it will grow unless something is done to lose it.

Betty Level 8 Feb 24, 2018

I'll certainly respect the right of people to peacefully participate in their religion, but I'll call a spade a spade when they're being stupid. Also, if they decide to straight-up disrespect me or my friends, it's open season.


To answer the question we need to define what we mean by respect. If respect means not to disparage, I agree, they deserve respect. But if
respect means that religion as an idea cannot be dissected, analyzed, critiqued, being the subject of objective analysis or that no argument can be presented against it as an idea that could be obsolete or ill conceived or even nefarious, then no. If respect means that one has to accept the damaging actions of some based on their religious belief and that represent an attack on the lives of others, then no. If respect means having to accept their imposition of their views and their drive to make us all see things the way they see them, to make us hate the way they hate, to make us strip others from their rights the way they do, all based on their religious dogma, then no. Religion and religious ideas should not be special as to be untouchable. If to exercise religious freedom means to act as a bigot, or to discriminate, or to be a racist then no, that does not deserve to be respected. I don’t care what people say about atheism as long as it is a valid arguable opinion. I give religion the same treatment.


No. It is important to separate respect of people's right of belief from respect of the belief itself. The world is full of people who "believe" in nonsense of every kind, including religious beliefs. We are not obliged to respect all the rubbish they may care to believe in. We are obliged as part of free speech, and under philosophical liberalism -- the tenet which broadly underpins free and democratic societies - to respect people's rights to their views, as long as those views do not breach acceptable free speech, such as advocacy of hatred, racism, bigotry and so on. If you choose to respect someone's religion, or their belief that aliens built the pyramids, or anything else, then fine, but respect is neither obligatory or "due" because they hold that view. Similarly, they are not obliged to be respectful of your belief, only your right to hold it.

I would just add that this is often a mistaken comment from religionists. "You should respect people's religions!" Wrong. However an absence of respect does not mean intentionally showing disrespect.

Right. I respect your right to believe. I don’t have to respect what you believe.

@Rodatheist Precisely so.


Pretty much. You respect my unbelief and I will respect your belief.

They should respect our right to not believe. They can say anything about the idea of not believing; and if it is a good argument, even better. The same goes for their believing and their beliefs.


Not if their beliefs include passing laws that infringe or impose their beliefs on others or supporting political or social agendas that do.


Respect* everyone. No matter what. No excuses.

*"Respect" doesn't mean "let people do whatever they want"--that's permissiveness.

I don't respect everyone as a lot of people are fucking assholes like trophy hunters or kiddy fiddlers for instance and many more things. more like put up with and bite my lip, because I cant, change them but live amongst them. it just seems like respect ie live and let live. I think most people are assholes but that's their choice. some people are worthy of respect and get it. I do a lot of things for me and not them and treat people as they treat me. there some lovely people around too.

With the second part of what you said you are showing what is wrong with the first part of what you said. First we have to define what respect is.

@Rodatheist I fought with myself through at least 3 aborted drafts of this comment before I decided to go with brevity uber alles. A discussion about what "respect" is and isn't is definitely called for; it would and should make for its own thread, which is why I didn't try to jam it into this one. For the most part, though (and the reason why I was okay with brevity in this case) I think most grown-ups can agree on a general ballpark of what "respect" entails. If 5- and 6-year olds can reliably be taught to "be respectful" in Kindergarten, I think the fundamental basis of respect is unassailably clear. I included the caveat about permissiveness here because I've detected it comes up terriby often in a context of belief-driven behavior; it seems to be a go-to argument against "respecting" believers.


Sure, as long as that respect does not entail infringement upon my own disbelief. For example, I don't believe that people should be able to wear the the full burchar in public as it poses a security risk. You can't identify someone wearing a full burchar, security footage of them is useless. They can freely break the law and provided they get away they will not be punished as no one can identify them. Motor cycle helmets are not allowed in banks, then why are full burchars? I am happy for them to pray 7 times a day and they can even have 4 wives. That respect is two way of course, right? Well a lot of people who are religious do not respect those who are not religious and they can be emphatically disrespectful at times. I am all for respect.


Not sure I understand what you're trying to say here ....


I don't have a problem with others beliefs as long as their beliefs do not cause harm to others, impinge on my rights, and they are not going door to door disturbing my day by trying to convert me. Unfortunately, there aren't many religions out there that meet the above criteria for my respect.

“I want to congratulate you on your new business. I'm sure you'll do very well, and good luck to you. Especially since your interests don't conflict with mine. Thank you.”
Don Corleone.

@Rodatheist didn't he then kill them all?

No, they first made an attempt on Don Corleone’s life, then Sony went to war against them, Michael killed the guy and the police chief and then Sony got killed, which made Don Corleone to get the heads of the five families together to end the war.

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