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R-E-S-P-E-C-T?


Guest billmc
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>>The need to feel special, chosen, to be right and feel in control is powerful. Your different beliefs take something away from me. They make me think about my beliefs and threaten the certain truth of my beliefs, my world, my very self. <<

 

I think that is very on target. It's why religion in discussions is typically a NO-NO.

 

Oftentimes, I think a respectful answer is merely, "I disagree with you." or "My beliefs are different." And leave it at that. I don't feel the need to share or persuade or argue why I think another is wrong with most people -- and most times, feel I'm waaay out of my league in terms of arguing theology/religion. My knowing comes from within -- which oftentimes is unexplainable.

 

I think it also has MUCH to do with your audience -- there are those that you can share differences of belief with without feeling like it's an ego contest, and some that you can honestly share a respectful back and forth.

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I think one thing that would help us with respect and disrespect is if we would change the climate in the way we discuss religion. What I mean is that I think we have a tendency to put religion up on this pedestal where it's free from any sort of harsh criticism even though we may have no problems harshly criticizing other things in life. For example, people have no problems drawing political cartoons that satire politicians but if you draw a picture of Muhammed, even if it's a non-offensive picture, then all of Facebook gets banned from Pakistan. I don't believe in insulting people for the sake of being insulting but I also believe we need to move away from this belief that religion deserves special protection from harsh criticism and we should start treating religious beliefs the same way we treat all our other beliefs. I'm not saying we should make religion an insignificant part of your life but we should treat it like as another aspect of our life and nothing something more special than the rest of yourself that deserves no criticism and try not to take critiques of your beliefs as a personal attack.

 

I also think a good thing that might help is to focus on the arguments instead of ad hom attacks. When a fundamentalist Christian condemns you to hell or accuses you of living a sinful lifesytle, it's tempting to fire back with an insulting attack of your own, and I've often been guilty of doing this a lot myself. But I've found from personal experience that when you get caught up firing insults back and forth, the discussion goes off topic into partisan personal attacks and nothing gets accomplished. So I think that especially in Internet debates, it's more helpful to focus on the arguments and facts than attacking a person's personality regardless of what side of the issue you fall on or if the other person is insulting you.

Edited by Neon Genesis
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Guest billmc

I'm not saying we should make religion an insignificant part of your life but we should treat it like as another aspect of our life and nothing something more special than the rest of yourself that deserves no criticism and try not to take critiques of your beliefs as a personal attack.

 

I suspect this is good in theory, NG, but difficult in practice. I'm not saying I disagree with you, because some of my own progress has been due to trying to look at myself and my beliefs from the viewpoint of another. But it seems to be human nature and the nature of religion that we don't want to objectify religion; we want it to be subjective, personal, experiential. We put it (and possibly ourselves) on a pedestal for precisely the reason that we don't think it is like any other part of our lives. Rather, we see it as the deepest, most meaningful part of ourselves, addressing the core of who we are, and some would even take it so far as to say that it is our purpose.

 

For some, it may be easy for them to "disengage" from their beliefs, like unplugging from a machine, in order to analyze what they believe and why "from a distance." For others, they find their "self" intertwined with their beliefs to such an extent that separating the two is analogous to trying to separate conjoining twins. For those who can disengage, it is probably not to difficult to have a belief criticized, deconstructed, or condemned without the person feeling attacked because they know that they are more than their beliefs. But with others, especially religions that focus on making "believers," to attack the beliefs is to attack the believers (or the Church or the Bible or God himself).

 

IMO, I think many of us are an almagamation of these two mindsets. For instance, I had no trouble letting go of the literalness of Jesus' virgin birth because, not only does it not line up with how creation works, but I find the doctrine that this supports to be unbelievable or immoral. But to give up my belief (and experience) that God is love would most likely kill any sort of Christianity in me. I can take the belief that God is love and examine in the context of suffering and evil and immoral acts of God in the Bible, etc., but, in the end, I still believe it because that is my experience. So when a Calvinist tells me that God hates most people and will not save them, yes, my hackles begin to rise. ;)

 

Can we or should we attempt to separate what we believe from who we are? Some may find it easy to do. Others feel like if their beliefs are attacked, it is akin to having someone insult your mother. :)

 

I'm not yet sure how to respect the person while disagreeing with their beliefs (just being honest). I don't know as I can respect Charles Manson or Adolf Hitler as people. They lived out their beliefs and caused a great deal of harm and death to others made in the image of God. It's kinda like I heard in the Baptist church about homosexuals, "Love the sinner but hate the sin." That's fine in theory (maybe), but I didn't find any Baptists loving any homosexuals.

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I agree with you about the love the sinner hate the sin approach and its faults, but what I meant wasn't that we should love the religious but hate the religion but we shouldn't take constructive criticism of our beliefs or lack thereof about religion so personally. An example would be like with the whole controversy around The Da Vinci Code. If Dan Brown wrote the book about a political organization instead, I doubt most people would care and Dan Brown probably never would have become a popular author (since in all honesty, I find his writing to be mediocre at best). But because he was attacking the Catholic church, the Catholic church made a huge deal about it and waged protests against Dan Brown whereas if they simply ignored him like they would if it was about any other organization, Dan Brown would have gone away and he wouldn't have made millions of dollars off of controversy. You don't see the Freemasons waging mass protests against Dan Brown because of his new book that focuses on them but because The Da Vinci Code was about religion, it got people all riled up about it when if they just ignored it, it would have went away. I understand that for many religious people, religion is the central part of their life, but then for many authors, writing books is a central part of their life and yet they have to endure constructive criticism of their works every day.

Edited by Neon Genesis
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Just a few comments concerning respect in communications.

 

To me, whether we are discussing religion, politics or something less controversial such as electronics, TV programs or whatever, the opposing view of the subject isn't the real source of the problem with respect. Respect comes either into or out focus when the discussion gets personal. Statements such as you are wrong, you don't know what you are talking about, or any statement for that matter that says or implies that 'you are less than me'. That is where in most cases communications start failing. Usually, in my experience, those comments have nothing to do with the relevant discussion. They are 'ad hominem' remarks. (just recently learned that word from Mike ) biggrin.gif In my experience, personal remarks that imply that we are 'less than' the other attack most peoples sense of self or who they think they are. Unless one is rooted in a deeper sense of self that is not bound so tightly with positions and views, emotions will naturally be triggered and unconscious reactive responses will follow. I believe this is a structure of what is know as the ego.

 

It seems to me that "Respect" looks at views as more of conditioned thoughts and experience of mind subject to a myriad of influences and therefore subjective in nature rather than who or what we really are. Respect sees the other's underlying commonality within ourselves and allows understanding and compassion to win over the inherent need to be right found within the nature of mankind whose sense of self is by design subject to being derived from his thoughts, positions/views.

 

It seems to me that we all at times partake at being an "armchair" coach, president, government official, and in general, intelligent critique and solver of the worlds problems. (Whatever that may entail) And in doing so, often with insufficient information for a thorough understanding or using hindsight to critique another, we in effect re-enforce our separation and sense of self to be 'more than' the other which gives us a temporary good feeling of pride that is short lived but addicting to that sense of self that is fed by it.

 

Anyway, just a few personal thoughts of one for consideration and not addressed to anyone in particular concerning RESPECT.

 

Joseph

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In a semi-related question, do you think Jesus always showed respect for others who held to other views than he did? What about Paul? Were they always respectful of other beliefs or do you think they put their understanding of truth above relationships?

I think Jesus and Paul believed in the importance of respect but Jesus and Paul were both human beings and therefore not perfect and so like us, they were just as guilty of making mistakes. Like Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek and pray for our enemies but he called his enemies white washed tombs. I don't think that means we should give up on that ideal of loving our enemies but I think it means Jesus was imperfect like the rest of us. It's a case of "do as I say, not as I do."
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Guest billmc

I think Jesus and Paul believed in the importance of respect but Jesus and Paul were both human beings and therefore not perfect and so like us, they were just as guilty of making mistakes. Like Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek and pray for our enemies but he called his enemies white washed tombs. I don't think that means we should give up on that ideal of loving our enemies but I think it means Jesus was imperfect like the rest of us. It's a case of "do as I say, not as I do."

 

Yeah, I think that's true, NG. I also seem to recall:

 

"Brood of vipers!"

"Stiff-necked and adulterous generation!"

"Blind guides!"

"Dogs!"

"Get thee behind me, Satan!" while addressing Peter.

"You of little faith."

Not to mention threatening people with everlasting torment.

 

He certainly wasn't in keeping with our 8-Points, was he? ;) He would find himself quickly warned and possibly banned from this forum! :D

 

(Sorry, mods, but I just couldn't resist. I've got my hail-mary's and god-our-father's ready, just tell me now many.) :lol::lol::lol:

Edited by billmc
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Yes, that was a good one Bill. laugh.gif

 

I'll bet he didn't win anybody over with those sayings if Jesus indeed said them.

 

He certainly wouldn't have lasted long here if he used those words on us but i don't think we would have crucified him for it either. wink.gif We would have sent him on his way in love. smile.gif

 

Joseph

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He certainly wasn't in keeping with our 8-Points, was he? ;) He would find himself quickly warned and possibly banned from this forum! :D

 

(Sorry, mods, but I just couldn't resist. I've got my hail-mary's and god-our-father's ready, just tell me now many.) :lol::lol::lol:

This may sound blasphemous but the idea of Jesus as an Internet troll sounds adorably cute to me. This reminds me that I was watching the online video recording of the Cathedral of Hope's sermon from this past Sunday and they had some actors at their church who were going to perform the play, Corpus Christi for them, which was about what if Jesus was a gay man living in modern day Texas. They performed one scene from the play during the worship service and Jesus (who is called Joshua in this modern version) is performing a gay wedding at a church and this fanatical Christian lady shows up to protest the wedding and accuses Jesus/Joshua of blasphemy and he smacks her on the face for it. One of Jesus'/Joshua's disciples points out his hypocrisy by pointing out that he had said they should turn the other cheek. In the play, Jesus/Joshua admits he lost control of his temper and he tells his disciples you shouldn't take everything he says seriously.
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