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phaloides | 14:09 Mon 22nd May 2006 | Phrases & Sayings
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I respect a persons knowledge and I respect a persons skills but why must I respect a person beliefs.... How much respect would I get if I stated that I was a member of 'The Flat Earth Society' or that I believed in Father Christmas?

If I think someones beliefs are totally illogical why should I respect them.


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You don't have to believe or respect their beliefs. Just respect the right for them to have a belief different to yours.
You can only respect someone's beliefs as long as they don't interfere with your own rights, health or safety. For example, you might meet a doctor who believed that everyone diagnosed with a life threatening illness should be euthanised immediately after diagnosis. Would you respect that person's beliefs? Or would you respect beliefs that are openly hostile to another race, gender or group in society? Would you have respected Hitler's beliefs? Or Pol Pot? Respecting someone's beliefs is, I think, very selective, and cannot be used as a generalisation. If your beliefs interfere with someone else's quality of life, you have no right to expect them to be respected.

I think you should respect someone's beliefs, no matter how odd ir illogical, simply because a person's beliefs are an inherrent part of what makes that person who they are - you cannot separate a facet of someone's personality and decide not to respect that part of them, if you repsect the person in all other ways.

I could never say "I think Jim's a great guy, exccept for his Nazi sympathies ..." or "Julie is a really nice person, I love her to bits, except when she starts on her Animal Rights bandwaggon ...."

Beliefs, by definition, are logical to the person that holds them, and you must either accept they way that person thinks, or not, but respecting is not the same as agreeing, or ignoring, or tolerating, it does mean respect for the individual to think as they choose. That is a cornerstone of freedom, and should be defended.

Perhaps I'm being, how do you Brits say? "daff"... but I've always had a difficult time understanding what one means when one says "respect". I can respect someone, such as my father or someone who displays uncommon integrity or selflessness, as an example. But those are qualities, no? Certainly not beliefs or even knowledge. I think the term 'respect' is overused and does not really mean much of anything in our (at least U.S.) society.
On the other hand, wasn't it Voltaire that said, "I may disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it"? So, in line with that missive, I can disagree with members of the Flat Earth Society for their "information content" but it has nothing to do with respecting them. Remember, a lot of people are probably misinformed on various subjects, but they are only professing what they've been told/read/inherited.
So, perhaps someone can define that term a little more precisely than the usual feel-goodism in the name of PC... In my opinion...
Respect is defined in the OED as "a feeling of deep admiration for someone elicited by their qualities or achievements". We can respect a person for having beliefs, whether or not we agree with them, but we do not necessarily have to respect those beliefs.
I always try to respect others' beliefs and their rights to them, as I would expect them to respect mine.

What I do object to is being judged in terms of others' beliefs and values. Being told I am a blasphemous sinner who has been corrupted and who will burn in hell because I go to see a show they don't want me to see.

Yet I don't turn around and tell them they're naive, gullible sheep for turning to christianity. That would be disrespectful.

Clanad I think you're using respect, of a person, to mean the same as admire; and I think it's less than that. One should be able to respect most people, rather than just a few, even if you find nothing admirable about them.

I think ali_alic was right first time: you respect their right to hold views different from your own... but not all views; there are some that, as andy says, you can never respect, such as some of the views that are expressed on the News section on AB. I can't respect them, or the people who express them.

I've always considered the first answer to be the correct interpretation, where ali says we aren't respecting the belief, but we are respecting a person's rights to hold that belief.

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I never said that I didn't respect the person , but only the beliefs they hold.

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