Respecting not just the right of persons to hold a belief but respect the belief

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear that it is individual people that have rights.  Beliefs and political or religious organisations do not.  The person needs protection so why would you protect gatherings of people?  To do that is to spend time on religion or whatever that should be spent on the person.  All mistakes with justice end up hurting the wrong person and this is no exception. 

Not all that acts as faith or belief really is


Respecting religion is not a simple matter for not everything that looks like religion or faith really is.  Don't let ideology driven people and ignorant people silence you over respect for faith or belief when they are not there!


Take faith.  Faith is a trust in a person and involves belief but it is not exactly the same as belief.  Belief is an arid impersonal thing while faith is more like loyalty.  Do not make the mistake of thinking a person's belief is the same as their faith.  If belief should be respected then faith should be respected more. 


Do not mistake belief for faith or faith for belief.

It is not faith/belief when somebody only goes along with a religion for they think lots of others in their community do.


It is not faith/belief when somebody goes through the motions.

It is not faith/belief when somebody feels they have to play a role for the religion seems too big and powerful in their society.  That is fear and nothing else.


It is not faith/belief when somebody has not got the chance to think about an alternative view properly.  A real religion of faith/belief will tell you why you should leave it and why you should stay and welcome either choice equally.


It is not faith/belief when the person is conditioned by religious people from childhood.  Even when we are older we can see that our thinking is being processed and conditioned and find it hard to overcome and resist.  Being programmed to think that x is probably true is only making you think you recognise that x is likely to be true.  Being programmed to smell smoke is being programmed to smell smoke that is not there.  You are sensing a belief in you that is not in fact there.

It is not faith/belief when it is not in accord with reality: eg somebody who thinks faith will make their life easier – Christianity to be fair teaches the opposite should be more likely.  Mormons say that feeling Mormonism is true proves it is true but they deny that feeling Hinduism is true proves it is true!  That cherry-picking is too brazen to be sincere.  Catholics do not really act as if they believe a blob of cells in the womb is a person deserving the same legal protection as an adult would get.  They do not really treat the communion wafer as a living and breathing Jesus.  While a faith can divert from reality through bad information and being confused, there are many issues that cannot be put down to these things.  Just to state what some religious doctrines are is to refute them!

People are tempted to disrespect faith or belief when they seem to look down on the truth or divide people or hurt them.  Liberals and leftists typically make the problems of faith worse by defending toxic and silly religions.  They like to make the subject of religious abuse and sectarian arrogance sound too fuzzy and complex for puny minds so that they can pretend all is going well. To argue that sectarianism between two religions is caused by people over-simplifying the issues is fine as long as that is what the evidence says. But to say it is always down to simplistic thinking is ignoring the fact that something simple can be considered enough by one religion to be sectarian towards the next one and then the latter will respond in kind with abuse and hate.


A quote


“A failure to confront is a failure to love.” —Scott Peck - Good quote though I'd prefer "A failure to challenge is a failure to love". Confrontation can always be avoided and challenging does not create enemies.  Disagreement is not intolerance but it is if you and the opponent both are depending on faith alone.  Thus a Mormon and a Catholic arguing about religion is sectarian for both religions are as false and manmade as each other.


Me being irrational is trying to stop the other trying to reason with me and asks them to damage their character. Anybody who meets me is at risk of me rubbing off on them.  For that reason, the religious person who will not reason about religion or examine it is being an irrational bigot. 


People talk about the meaning of life.  By that phrase you would expect to mean being fully alive and feeling fully alive. As reason is a part of you and of life then reason has a role to play in allowing you to have meaning and giving you meaning.  Without reason even a God is no good!  If we were more rational and careful our lives would grow.


The reason people feel the temptation to harass others for having different beliefs from them is that who ever says their belief is true is saying any belief that contradicts it is untrue.  It is typically religious and political believers who get angry at the beliefs of others that they do not share.


Saying somebody is convinced about their belief being true is a way of arguing that their position should be considered. That may not be the intention but it is obvious that a belief held deeply and in a very convinced way may have something to it.  That is why if a belief that is too far-fetched or dangerous or held too strongly it needs to be challenged.

It is usually religious people who protest that you are not respecting their beliefs when you mock them or even when you merely say you find them implausible. That no other grouping carries on like that is a warning bell and shows that religion is not as much about humility, justice and truth as it pretends. Respect in the eyes of religion, does not mean real respect. It means applauding their beliefs even if you disagree with them and keeping silent instead of challenging the beliefs.


The religious do not ask respect for themselves but their beliefs. They degrade themselves in doing so and degrade you. Asking for respect as a person means you do not regard your beliefs as that which should never be challenged but you welcome the challenge.


Today's religionist who refuses to co-operate in a test of the credibility of their beliefs, is tomorrow's religious terrorist. That is how it starts.


Many religions say terrible things about people of other religions and none. Some say they deserve to be persecuted. Some say they deserve to go to Hell for all eternity to be punished. Some religions say terrible things about their own people too! For example, if hypothetically a Catholic mother needed an early abortion to save her life so that she can raise her ten children the Church forbids it. A religious doctrine is put before the woman. We are told to love God alone and to love others for his sake meaning they are not important in themselves but important because he made them and to offend what he makes is to offend him. Do you really have the right to say that if there is a choice between treating God as a means and not as an end and a person as a means and not as an end you should choose God? That is sick for you cannot prove God the way you can prove the flesh and blood person beside you. It is no wonder believers think of people not as ends in themselves but as a means to serving God who is the end. A baby is accused of needing forgiveness from sin in baptism. The human race is accused of being capable of being bad enough to choose an eternal Hell of torture just for spite. The list is endless.
Those bullies still demand that their beliefs be respected and that those who don't hold to those beliefs must find them adorable.


In fact the beliefs do not even respect the holders of those beliefs and degrade them. For example, if you believe God is right to allow so much evil to happen the problem is that even if he would be it does not mean there really is a God. You are still worshipping something that harms people. To worship a God who does not exist is still to worship something - maybe nature or your imagination. You are still condoning the evil happening when it should not happen. To respect those beliefs is to disrespect those who hold them. It is to encourage them to believe what disrespects your beliefs. Also many of the beliefs of religion disrespect who you are. They disrespect you as a person all the way down to the core.


Too often, respect for the beliefs of others amounts to cherry-picking what beliefs you are going to respect. You do not respect the belief of a person who believes you should give him a job in your company because God says so even though he is not the right person for the job. You are also assuming that the person cannot stand you challenging their faith in God when in fact they might be open to the challenge. People who are devoted to religion could still be hoping to find out that it is rubbish so that they might be free. Too often respecting belief is treating one belief as good as another and that only insults people's faith and beliefs. If you regard something as probably true you cannot honestly say that this belief is as good as that of the person who believes the complete opposite. Also, you have to be yourself. You cannot be expected to encourage an error tacitly for that implies hypocrisy and disrespect for your own beliefs or for the truth. Too often respect for the beliefs of others amounts to insinuating that freedom of speech is bad and that a belief should be immune to criticism.


You go to a party and the host boasts about how great his layabout useless son is. He asks you to raise your glass. You might think respect his belief by raising your glass to the son. This is not real respect for the man's belief but simulated. It is phoney respect. Many advocate similar "respect" for religion. It leads only to ridicule and opposition to religion especially in political matters in the long run.


People who have any wisdom know that we need to give people what they need to hear not what they want to hear. But what if we do this and we are accused of being vile creatures who have disrespected the beliefs of people by not telling them what they want to hear?


Society might say it believes in respecting the beliefs of others. What it really means is respecting the believers by refusing to mock them or forcing them to listen to criticism of the beliefs. This is respecting the person not the beliefs. And those who talk about respecting beliefs always qualify this by saying they mean the deeply held and important beliefs that others have. Nobody really thinks that beliefs must be unchallenged. It is just that some think only the deeply held and most sacred beliefs of others should be left alone. A belief that is really sacred to you and deeply held will lead you to disrespect a person's belief when they contradict it. For example, the Catholic who is devoted to the notion that same-sex marriage is nonsense will have to try and stop those who disagree. The dangerous thing about respecting the most sacred and deeply ingrained beliefs is that it often means you are enabling the believers to force their beliefs on others. You become a hypocrite who assists others to disrespect the beliefs of those who differ from them while you claim to stand for the notion that belief must be respected. True respect for principles and belief and others means politely and compassionately encouraging them to rethink their beliefs.


The United Nations defines tolerance as the acceptance that others do not have the same beliefs as you and the decision to respect them while you stand up for what you believe or know to be right. Tolerance then in its true form means it is only honest and open to say what you disagree with. Yet some see any disagreement with them as intolerance and try to have you silenced on the grounds that you offended them! It is those who tell you not to disagree or state your disagreement who are intolerant. They are the most offensive not you. Criticism when intended to serve the truth and better yourself and others is tough love not intolerance. Tolerance involves making it possible and easier for people to think things out for themselves so challenging existing beliefs and religions and dogmas is necessary. If people disagree and debate they have the best chance of working out the truth for themselves. This is good when competing beliefs are not fully right or fully wrong. They share the truth between them.


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