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When you say that you respect other faiths, what does that mean?

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skepticscott Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 05:30 PM
Original message
When you say that you respect other faiths, what does that mean?
The phrases respect for other faiths or I respect other faiths get tossed around a lot, but what does it really mean when you say that? Does it simply mean that you respect the right of other people to hold and practice faiths that are different than yours? Or does it mean that you regard all other faiths as having the same validity as yours? Does it mean that you regard the gods of other religions as being as real as the god(s) you believe in (if any)? Does it mean that you regard the things other faiths hold to be true to be as true as the things your faith holds to be true, even when they directly contradict each other?

Does it mean that you tolerate faiths that you may personally find silly or not sensible without publicly condemning or ridiculing them? And is this really respect, or simply politeness?

Do you consider religions that practice missionary work and attempt to convert other people to be respectful of the faiths of those people, given that such an attempt at conversion is based on the implicit belief that My religion is right and yours is wrong, or at least My religion is better than yours?

If someone says that they have faith the Holocaust never happened or that white supremacy will eventually win out in America, do you respect those faiths as well? Does faith have to be faith in a god or in something religious/spiritual in order to gain your respect? If not, do all faiths, religious or otherwise, deserve the same respect? Does a faith have to have any factual basis in order to be respected, or is that antithetical to the notion of faith?
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. ...
:popcorn:
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. having little respect for any faith, that's easy.
pass the bag, please. did you butter and salt it?
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. always butter and salt
:popcorn:

:popcorn:
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iamahaingttta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. I don't respect any of them...
...so for me it's real easy.


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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's a respect for the *right* to believe.
It's a kind of politeness and tolerance for all -- whether I agree with them or not -- with real respect for the principles, values, and/or actions of some.

It's like that quote regarding freedom of speech, though I can't remember who it's attributed to: "I may disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

Naturally, all the above politeness, tolerance, and/or respect vanishes instantly for any member of any religion who is overbearing, obnoxious, or infringes on the equal rights of others.

Bottom line: I don't care what anyone else believes, as long as they don't try to force those beliefs on any other person.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. and respect for their right to suffer an eternity in hell
that's the problem with any discussion based on faith instead of truth...it always gets ugly.
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. That's assuming there's any discussion.
When beliefs are at odds, "discussion" is often difficult if not impossible. I simply don't engage in it because I don't see any point.

If I want to learn something about another religion, I'm quite capable of researching it on my own. Otherwise, I'm not interested in converting anyone else to my beliefs and I'm not about to allow anyone else to try to convert me to theirs.

This is why the separation of church and state is so very critically important. People have the right to believe and say anything they want -- as long as it does not infringe on the equal rights of others.

Respect for the right of others to believe as they will does not include allowing one's own rights and beliefs to be trampled on.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. I respect peoples' right to have whatever beliefs they want
I don't respect their right to push them on others, to infringe others' rights with them, or to harm others with them.
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Ditto!
:thumbsup:
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. OK, I believe the earth is 6000 years old and the Holocaust never happened
R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!! ;)
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. If it harm no one, do as you will
:-)
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. So you respect my right to believe, but do you actually respect the belief?
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I respect your right to believe
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MannyGoldstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. I Agree With Ben Franklin
I believe that he said that he loved that which was common to all religions, and hated that which seperated them.
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
21. Ah...the Great Wisdom of Ben once again...
Edited on Fri Mar-23-07 09:41 PM by rasputin1952
:D

To be honest, most people of "belief" have never delved into their religions to see what is brings so many ideologies together. They take the words of others, who have a generally bastardized said beleif to their own gain, there is always something to "gain". People are too darn lazy to look into things for any semblence of truth....remember, the sun revolves around the earth because the church says so... :eyes: Or how about the leaders in some aspects of Islam that say it is wonderful to blow yourself and others up to get to paradise...if this is such a great idea, why aren't THEY doing it? Common sense seems to be apportioned in miniscule scale to far too many people.

As long as people don't get hurt, nor animals, nor nature, people can believe what they will. It is better to keeps one's beliefs private anyway, far too much damage has been done in the name of faith... :(
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MistressOverdone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
10. I respect their right to belief
Edited on Fri Mar-23-07 06:16 PM by MistressOverdone
not necessarily WHAT they believe. But if I want respect, I have to give it.

I also honor beliefs that are different than mine because to me, faith is sacred. And really, who knows who is right?

On edit, your example of the Holocaust, well, that is not, to me, a part of faith. That is an opinion.

Where it really gets ticklish is navigating tolerating intolerance. I still haven't figured that one out, and either has most of Western Europe.
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
11. It means (to me)
that I am interested in hearing about their beliefs while not thinking that they are stupid for believing as they do. Nor would I say anything rude to them about their beliefs or their deficiencies for believing as they choose to do.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Even if there was an obvious sickness in the person?
I've heard some pretty kooky stuff, and I've told several people that they need to get help. Is that rude?

I respect a person's RIGHT to believe as they wish, but I sure as hell shouldn't be forced to say something nice to them when they're obviously off their rocker.
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Crunchy Frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-24-07 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #14
23. Maybe more so if there's an obvious sickness.
I'm currently working with a woman who suffers from delusions due to dementia. She's absolutely convinced that she has people living in her basement. Whenever anything in her house is out of place, or she sees something she doesn't recognize, she attributes it to "the people in the basement". And yes, I treat her with respect. Disrespecting her would be counterproductive.

What exactly is it that you hope to accomplish by telling an obviously sick person that they're "off their rocker" and that they "need to get help"? Surely a situation like that requires a certain degree of delicacy, if you are actually interested in helping the person. If you just enjoy taunting mentally ill people for the fun of it, you're probably on the wrong message board. On the other hand, if you're saying those things to people simply because they have a religious belief that you don't share, then you're just being rude.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. Taunting?
Absolutely not. But there shouldn't be a prohibition against pointing out when someone has a problem. I would think that someone needing helping should be told that they need help. Not by accusing them of "being off their rocker". Those were the words I used on an online message board, but they certainly aren't the words I would choose in a real life confrontation.

Where the hell did I say that I enjoy taunting mentally ill people for the fun of it? If someone is delusional, I have no problem telling them that they need help, but that doesn't mean that I do it because I enjoy it.

"On the other hand, if you're saying those things to people simply because they have a religious belief that you don't share, then you're just being rude."

Where is the line crossed? If someone were to believe in a pink unicorn who lives on the moon and worships it fervently by sacrificing cats, should I just ignore their obvious delusion and "respect" it because I don't believe the same?
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Crunchy Frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. I believe the killing of cats by private individuals is currently illegal in this country.
In the above mentioned scenario, I would alert the authorities, and probably try to avoid direct contact with an individual who is clearly dangerous.

When someone clearly has a problem, it's probably advisable to handle the situation with extreme delicacy, and most likely to bring in professional help.

I'm not sure what this question has to do with the issue of religious tolerance, unless you're trying to display your own intolerance by conflating seriously mentally ill persons with ordinary religious believers.

I certainly hope that you're not dealing with actual mentally ill, delusional people by glibly informing them that they "need help". If you are, then you might want to look into your own mental status.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-26-07 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. You act as if I have fun trying to help mentally ill people
You're projecting your view of a stereotype onto me. Undeserved, no less.

Of course it requires delicacy, and I never said that I don't broach the subject with a light hand. And I'm not talking about ordinary religious believers. I'm talking about people with serious mental problems who get sucked into dangerous situations with questionable religious sects. I have no problem trying to help these people understand the position they're in.

And thanks for questioning my own mental state - it's always appreciated when I haven't done anything to show an unstable mental position. :sarcasm:

This is pertinent to religious tolerance because I'm being asked to tolerate people who can adversely affect my life. I won't stoop to some politically correct level because of a person's religious beliefs.
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MistressOverdone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
25. Good point
When you stop and think, since we jumped out of the trees, we humans have believed in a very wide variety of things. I do believe it is arrogance for us, in our "modern" culture, to assume that we, with our science, have cornered the market on beliefs. When I started teaching we used a book that showed the "evolution of man" and it showed a monkey gradually developing (in a timeline) into a white man in a suit with a briefcase. In other words our culture is the end all and be all.

I believe it is fine to worship at the altar of science, and it is a worthy altar. But a wise person knows that we are just a speck on the continuum and not the destination we like to think we are.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #11
30. You can seriously hear the "dogma"
of scientology and not chuckle? Really? I mean as an honest-to-goodness I-believe-this belief and not a crappy sci-fi novel? You are a stronger human than I am.
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 09:03 PM
Response to Original message
18. I don't respect beliefs and I'm not even sure I respect the right to believe
at least not in all cases. Most beliefs lead to actions, and beliefs that lead to harmful actions are as questionable as the actions themselves.

For example, if I believe I drive better after a couple of drinks, I can be compelled to attend classes where someone will try to change those beliefs. Shouldn't the same reasoning apply to racists, sexists and homophobes? What about creationists or holocaust deniers?

The fact is that we don't respect all faith, or even people's right to hold all faiths. All children in this country are compelled to learn that 2+2 = 4, no matter what they "believe". This may sound silly, but fundamentalist Christians believe (at least by implication) that the value of PI is exactly 3 (2Chronicles 4:2). Should I be required to hire someone who holds this belief? How about someone who believes the earth is 6000 years old?

The evidence shows that willful ignorance and blind belief DOES lead to harm (witness our current pResident). Isn't it in society's interest to try to reduce the damage? At the very least, I think we should stop actively supporting it with tax breaks and other special rights.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. You really want to give someone the power to determine what you can believe?
At that point, democracy's over; just turn the lights out when you leave.
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. I'm just making the point that we've never tolerated ALL beliefs
Isn't that what compulsory education is all about? The question becomes: do you have a right to be ignorant? In this society, we don't.

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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
22. Let's see if I can answer all of these.
The phrases respect for other faiths or I respect other faiths get tossed around a lot, but what does it really mean when you say that? Does it simply mean that you respect the right of other people to hold and practice faiths that are different than yours? Or does it mean that you regard all other faiths as having the same validity as yours? Does it mean that you regard the gods of other religions as being as real as the god(s) you believe in (if any)? Does it mean that you regard the things other faiths hold to be true to be as true as the things your faith holds to be true, even when they directly contradict each other?


Yes, because what's true for my understanding of the divine doesn't have to be true for anyone else. For example, I've encountered a person who best connected with the divine through understanding it as one of the deities created for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting. She fully understood that the character was created in that sense, accepted it, but still went with it.

Does it mean that you tolerate faiths that you may personally find silly or not sensible without publicly condemning or ridiculing them? And is this really respect, or simply politeness?


I try to be less concerned with how "silly" a particular idea is, and how it affects the person holding it. An "ugly" belief can lead to beautiful actions, and an "intelligent" idea can lead to stupidity. :shrug:

Do you consider religions that practice missionary work and attempt to convert other people to be respectful of the faiths of those people, given that such an attempt at conversion is based on the implicit belief that My religion is right and yours is wrong, or at least My religion is better than yours?


Nope. I'm generally not a fan of evangelism.

If someone says that they have faith the Holocaust never happened


This is a different beast entirely - the question of whether the Holocaust happened or not is a matter of fact, not opinion. While I don't have a problem with harmless 'delusions' (to claim otherwise would be to claim that my senses are absolute, and therefore I am capable of judging when someone is actually deluded), when a belief becomes harmful to others, my respect ends.

or that white supremacy will eventually win out in America, do you respect those faiths as well?


Now we're back in the land of opinion. However, as I said above, when a belief becomes harmful to others, my respect ends.

Does faith have to be faith in a god or in something religious/spiritual in order to gain your respect?


Nope.

If not, do all faiths, religious or otherwise, deserve the same respect?


As it harms none, do as you will.

I hope my answers are at least interesting to read. Certainly good questions to ponder.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 03:17 PM
Response to Original message
24. I look for common ground rather than dwelling on differences, and I have
no objection to anyone believing anything they like as long as their acting out on their beliefs isn't socially harmful or cruel to people or animals.

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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Exactly!
Saved me the work of typing!
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
28. I respect other people's spiritual perspectives.
I tend feel quite differently when it comes to religion (see my sigline). I'm a strong atheist when it comes to one god, and a weak atheist when it comes to all others plus an agnostic to boot. So I don't really know what's out there one way or the other, so that makes it pretty easy for me to appreciate the spirituality of others. I respect that, and that's why I really come here.

When it comes to religion, well I could quite accurately be described as an anti-theist. I've said it elsewhere and I'll say it again - religion is one of the single most destructive forces known to the human race.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-25-07 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
31. Ho Metaquiatsun
I use that Lakota phrase because it means "All My Relations", and is included at the end of a prayer so that it is understood that everyone is included in the prayer.

I'm still evolving on this one, but as I see it now, we are all One Being. Not a hard concept if you think of waves in the ocean--they have their individual identities, and yet are part of the whole. But to truly get into the spirit of this it means one must appreciate all others, no matter what their thoughts or belief systems, because they are all a part of the Whole. Hindus call It Bramin; Sufis call It Allah; the Dalai Lama called It Nothing (To quote: "In Sufism, everything is. In Buddhism, nothing is. Same thing, no difference."). A friend of mine named Martha calls it Life.

So "respecting all" (I'll leave out the "faiths" part because this definition is more inclusive) means appreciating the fact that each individual is on their own unique path, and that they are where they are supposed to be at this moment. So we celebrate with thankfulness this fact, and ask ourselves forgiveness when we forget and judge others and ourselves.
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