On Life and Love

Ah, respect!

Here’s a question, spawned by a recent, saddening event (that I’m not involved in):

Are we obligated to respect those things that our friends respect? Are we compelled to show respect for (for instance) gods that we may not even believe exist? What about gods that in our belief systems are gods that don’t take themselves seriously enough (or aren’t present enough, for the deists in the crowd) to give a damn if jokes are made of their supposed words and actions? Can we not joke about those in the presence of a friend with a mindset different from ours?

Or should kindness and respect overrule personal belief expression in the case of a friend? Should those jokes and forms of relaxation be reserved for when that friend isn’t present to be hurt or upset by them?


  • Imani

    Though I do not share them, I respect A and part of that is respecting his beliefs. I would not be a true friend if I was to knowingly hurt him that way.

  • Lissa

    So, you believe that you should stifle the expression of your own religious beliefs (for instance) to avoid hurting the feelings of a friend who is setting her beliefs as That Which Should Not Be Violated? 🙂

    (I love playing Devil’s Advocate…)

  • Luke

    We all know that I’m the nicest person ever, so my take on it would be that in a society/country that has mixed religions/moral codes/etc. that everyone must be willing to respect the other person’s beliefs to a point.

    Telling me I can’t say “gay” to mean something bad happened or whatever (you know what I mean) isn’t likely to cause any change in my behavior. However expressing the fact that you have an honest and heartfelt problem with things that I say could (possibly) effect my behavior.

    What it should come down to is a common level of respect between both parties. I read the event and it seems as if someone likes to call something “jew” or whatever…I wasn’t paying that much attention…and my question is would that person feel just as comfortable calling something “nigger” (update the context to be appropriate use of nigger or jew…by appropriate I mean used correctly as a slur). If the answer is no, then you really shouldn’t use either in such a manner.

    So I guess it comes down to just how much you respect this particular individual, and to what point you’re willing to use a slur.

    Personally, I rarely use slurs that involve ethnicities, religious connotations, or sexual preference…they don’t usually make sense anyway. And making fun of someone’s religion can only be so funny as the jokes run out quick.

    (If anyone has any idea what I just said, please translate and let me know. And yes, I am sober.)

  • Lissa

    Luke: the issue was that Guy and WO make reference to the Bibloverse–something like a fan fiction ‘verse where fans discussed what was real or not in the Bible. According to them, the Jehovah additions (and A. is a Jehovah’s Witness) didn’t fit into the verse and were widely unaccepted by fans of the Bibloverse.

    Or something to that extent. Something making light of the Bible and the Christian god.

  • Javid

    Part of respecting others is to respect thier beliefs and thoughts in their presence unless it is against your own beliefs or values. If you need to violate your own values or beliefs in order to make another person comfortable, then they should be the ones feeling guilty.

    I might say racially or socially tense phrases, but I try not to say them in front of those that I know will get offended. Yes I believe it is necessary to censor yourself in order to not offend others. It is a sign of respect. They should return the respect my not forcing you to suspend your own beliefs in order to make them happy. It is not that difficult to censor yourself. I believe that someone that offends others while knowing that they are doing it for no reason other than to express themself in their normal manner has an inflated self value or ego. Have some humility and tone things down.

    To answer the original question, I believe that it is a sign of respect to others that you should overrule your own expression in order to not offend someone. Someone that respects you should never put you in a position where you need to respect a god (or something else) that you do not believe in, but your respect for other people should be enough justification for you not to say offensive things about that god in their presence. By not respecting others, you show arrogance.

  • Luke

    Ah. That’s one of those fun times. As I see it this is one of those times when both sides have to respect the other. And that makes perfect sense to me.

  • A

    As usual, I find the explaination here best said.

    And, in response to Lissa’s advisal to the devil – I think that as individuals we should stifle ourselves to some (indeterminate) degree, but we must not hold others to the same rule (we can’t impose on others – that’s the point). On the other hand, it is also perhaps why I get myself into silly social quandries.

    While we should not aggressively assert ourselves so as to infringe on another’s freedom and happiness, balance must be found to ensure our own happiness. There is no perfect balance, so we learn to fluidly give and take. Upset or fail to care for this balance, and the social cogs start to grind a bit.

    Conversely, it as my AP Lang. teacher’s mom said: Social grease makes the world go round. It’s not insincere b.s. – it’s merely the effort to smooth over and reduce interpersonal friction. As brought out above, respect like this can get us to where we’re comfortable enough to poke fun at ourselves. I know I crack joke’s down at the [Kingdom] Hall. But I’ve spent a long time studying what other’s limits likely are; slowly probe, never push them.

    Even then, though, I have been chastised and upset friends. So I try to err on the side of caution. Still some whine, but never stumble.

    Enough out of me, I’m dangerously close to dancing with a dead horse.