Friday, January 30, 2015

Respect Must be Earned, Not Forced

I've had issue with people and the idea of respect for religion. It occurred to me when there was the heinous massacre of the French publishers who made cartoons of Mohammed. There were people saying that they shouldn't have made the cartoons because they should respect Muslims. It occurred to me that was a misapplication of the word respect.

Respect is defined as, and I agree with this definition:
re·spect rəˈspekt/noun
1.a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

It occurs to me that I do not respect any religion. I believe they are all bogus, so how could I respect them? Then certain Muslims say that people must respect their religion, or else. One can not force another to respect anything. People have to have good reason to respect something. Just like people we don't know personally. We really don't respect them at all. That respect, more often than not, has to be earned. If that person or thing does things that are radical or unseemly, normally we don't start respecting them. We start distancing ourselves from them.

That's not to say we should treat people and things we don't know badly. Normally we treat people we don't know with a respect for their rights as an individual. But that is only an acknowledgment of those rights, and is not the same as respecting the person. That persons rights have earned respect, but the person has yet to earn it.

If all the Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or whatever other fundamentalists terrorists stopped going around bombing and killing, and instead did all that is good, they might start to foster respect. Right now they only foster fear and anger. Right now they only cause others to want retribution.

Why else would people pick out someone from a crowd. Someone who has on the badge of their religion and persecute them? There are always going to be bad people in any group. You know how it goes with people though. If a few do something bad, the many will suffer for it. When Muslim extremists cause harm, ignorant people pick out the entire group, not just the harmful ones.

I see a lot of Muslims getting on the defensive when any bad thing some terrorist does happens. I've heard it with my own ears. "No one says a word about Christian terrorists", they say. I say, forget all that. I say don't get on the defense, and just criticize the harmful ones. Don't respect them, or make any excuse for their behavior. How else are you going to gain any respect?

I remember a lady saying a woman has to work twice as hard in the office because of men's attitudes. Sure it shouldn't be that way. But humans are still a savage and primitive species. The same could be said of Muslims. They have to work twice as hard because of ignorant attitudes. The ignorance of terror, and of non-Muslims. Even though things shouldn't be that way, that is the way things are. Now is the time that our progeny will look back on. Like the first coming out of the fog of unenlightened thought, or the sinking into the quagmire. It is up to this generation to make the right decisions for the future of humanity.

So remember that respect is not the same as fear. Respect must be earned, not forced.