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What does it mean to 'respect' someone's religion or religious beliefs? Many religious theists insist that their religion deserves to be respected, even by non-believers, but what exactly are they asking for? If they are simply asking to be let alone in their beliefs, that's not unreasonable. If they are asking that their right to believe be honored, then I agree. The problem is, these basic minimums are rarely, if ever, what people are asking for; instead, they are asking for much more.


Read Article: What is Respect? What Does it Mean to Respect Religion or Theism?

December 30, 2006 at 12:27 pm
(1) JD Kolassa says:

One of your blockquotes is missing, Mr. Cline. Just thought you like to know.

And anyways, religion does not deserve respect. Considering they don’t respect others, why do they need it?

July 2, 2008 at 4:38 pm
(2) nal says:

H. L. Mencken:
We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

July 3, 2008 at 6:34 am
(3) richard says:

Whilst I can respect the beliefs of the religious, by their very nature they will never learn to respect my beliefs, because of the ‘chosen ones’ ‘divine right’ that if you don;t share the same view you are wrong, ‘damned’ and need to be ‘saved’.

Relgions have labels and ways of treating ‘non-believers’ or ‘heretics’ etc, etc, I’m just glad we live in a time where they don;t have the power (anymore!!) to murder or maim those that don’t share the same views as they do.

April 10, 2010 at 10:16 am
(4) MikeC says:

Respect can also be shown in different ways.

In the big picture, I have as much respect for religion as it has for me, other atheists, and people that follow other “faiths” – which is not much to none.

I do not think showing “respect for” Christianity (or any other religion) means that religion is exempt from criticism – and certainly not the legal system (see the Catholic crisis).

Unless a theist starts to evangelize to me (regardless of their knowledge of my atheism), I will “respect” their religion by not pushing my atheism on them, or giving them information that could leave their faith “shaken”. (While it would be nice to able to ‘destroy’ their faith in one rational swoop, I know that’s as likely as me converting because a ‘seagull Xian’ dropped a pleasing or threatening scripture here.)

I respect religion in that when I’m driving down I-81, I do not stop and remove, or vandalize, the many crosses, and sets of 3 crosses that I see erected on what I assume is someone’s land (that’s beside the interstate). I also do not complain to the newspaper or authorities over them. But I can say with certainty that if Muslim or atheist “icons” starting appearing on local roadsides, the Christians would be in an uproar, and most likely vandalize or destroy them.

I don’t attempt to unplug the red neon “Jesus Saves” sign in my city. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gabrielbishop/2367817878/

I don’t vandalize, destroy, or attempt to have removed the many local billboards stating “Prayer Works” or other rubbish.

I don’t vandalize places of worship.

Christians don’t always give other religions that respect, though they expect it for theirs.

Of course, when a Christian talks about respecting Christianity, they’re not thinking about examples like mine.

They’re thinking about complete immunity from any kind of outside judgment, questioning, and/or criticism.

Then, they’ll turn around and tell you how Islam is dangerous, oppressive to women, how the Koran incites violence, how the Koran is cherry-picked and misinterpreted, and that all Muslims think like “the terrorists”.

It’s telling that the vary tactics Christians use to attack/disprove atheism, and the other faiths, are considered disrespectful when used on Christianity.

P.S. Why the recycling of so many posts from years ago?

April 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm
(5) ChuckA says:

“…so long as those practices don’t negatively impact others…”

Let’s also not forget that Christianity and Islam, in particular, have a proselytizing mission to ultimately take over the World; condemning, in the process, all non-believing “infidels” to a supposed horrific Eternal punishment in an insanely cruel “Hell”.
I was raised Catholic, and attended Catholic schools from the fall of 1944, all the way through Catholic college in the early 1960s. Right from the get-go, starting in kindergarten, I was taught that I was BORN a sinner and, with detailed emphasis, exposed to the fearful notions of Purgatory and Hell; which is, in my opinion…and as Richard Dawkins points out…an actual form of child abuse.
Instead of being taught to THINK independently, and to question any extraordinary claims…which, of course, religions are outrageously loaded to the gills with…expecting solid evidence before any acceptance; children, to the contrary, are first taught to believe…and respect…often without ANY question whatsoever.
In spite of finally, after several decades, gradually weaning myself, with substantial mental effort, from the total lack of any evidence for the existence of what essentially amounts to a vicious, Tyrannical, even insane, god notion, the remnants of early childhood brainwashing STILL leaves some scarred remnants of the outrageous mental abuse.

My atheist conclusion?…What’s actually to respect about ANY religion? Obviously, one is certainly free, in our (currently rather fragile, I’d say) secular Democracy to believe whatever appeals to one’s personal “taste”; but does that actually deserve any respect?
I personally don’t include that word as part and parcel with the freedom to believe whatever wacky notion one might actually ‘swallow’.
[And, indeed, what's more wacky (and dangerous!) than religions?]

Something else comes to mind…
As Christopher Hitchens often points out; having a “Rev.” in front of one’s name should definitely not evince any particular respect, whatsoever. For too many, including many in the popular media, however…it does. As for me, the total opposite is the case.

[After thinking about the whole notion of "Respect"...
cue, perhaps (as some welcome relief?), the late Rodney Dangerfield rapping his brand of..."No respect!"]:

April 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm
(6) The Sojourner says:

Unfortunately, that isn’t true. Even today, we have blasphemy laws in Ireland now (a recent development). Though you won’t be executed, I believe there’s a fine and possibly, a jail term.

Another that comes to mind is the Ugandan law that wants to imprison and execute gays, or arrest their friends and families who don’t out them to authorities. If you know they’re gay, the authorities must be notified or you’re in trouble.

There are also, in parts of Africa, torture and execution of supposed “witches”. Even children are not immune. All this in the NAME of Christianity.

Also in the NAME of a particularly fundamentalist Islamic branch (Wahabism, I believe, as if Islam isn’t fundamentalist enough, as it is), a radio personality has been accused of practicing witchcraft, on air, and blaspheming Islam because of it. He’s actually eligible for execution, I understand. This, happened only weeks ago, and was in the news. You can probably Google it for the details.

The more things change the more they remain the same. I close with my own quote:


April 11, 2010 at 2:57 am
(7) The Sojourner says:

@ Richard (3):

My above comment (6) was meant to be an addenda to your comment. Somehow, it got added in the wrong space. Just thought I’d mention this here.

August 11, 2013 at 7:37 pm
(8) Jeanne says:

There is something about religion which gives people a sense of entitlement, that they can make the most idiotic statements in the context of their religion and it is supposed to go unchallenged. If you question their statement, they claim that you are “questioning god”, when in reality you are simply questioning the person making the statement. In any other circumstance, when someone makes a comment that is totally absurd, people would be wondering why nobody questioned it. Yet, when it comes to religion, anything goes. For some reason, religious statements are supposed to be granted some special privilege, that logic and reason have no place in the discussion and “faith” is the topic at hand. To me, faith is the suspension of reason, which is nothing to be proud of.

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