True Respect and Fake Respect - The Galactic Free Press

will's picture

I've been accused of not respecting religion, and you know what? It's true! I don't respect belief systems, what would have happened if Jesus "respected" the Pharisees? What if Martin Luther King had "respected" racist beliefs? What if Gandhi had "respected" British imperialism? Change doesn't come by respecting old belief systems.

Respecting belief systems is a fake kind of respect. "Respecting" the belief often conflicts with respecting the one who's holding the belief. For example, many religions teach that people are "born into sin", that people are evil by nature. When a religion tells me that young innocent children automatically have a wicked nature, it's out of respect for the children that I call the religion ignorant. It's in this case that the religion is being extremely disrespectful to the human being, and I have no respect for that. True respect doesn't enable disrespect.

When "respecting" beliefs, you'll often have to make this choice: Do you lie or tell half-truths to "respect" what people believe, or do you tell the truth and respect the Being within? Which is greater respect, treating someone like they're strong enough to handle the truth, or treating someone like they're too weak to handle the truth? Which one? One is a fake respect that honors the ego, the other is true respect that honors the Divine within every human being.

Now I don't recommend viewing what I'm saying in terms of absolutes, as that would just be creating another belief system. Nowadays people often use truth like a weapon, they withhold it until they're really pissed off at the other person. When the other is emotionally vulnerable, they strike them with truth. This is really a kind of abuse of truth, it's not what truth is for. I recommend tact and kindness when dealing with touchy subjects. Share the truth with Love and empathy, as those really open up a person to healthy communication. Being too confrontational usually just shuts a person down.


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Separating the Signal from the Noise

Rebecca's picture

I have zero respect for the Catholic church and their leadership for their conduct throughout history, all the way up to the massive cover-up of their priests' exploitation of children.


However, I have tremendous love and respect for Catholic Mother Teresa and her divine work that still affects us all, to this very day.


I abhor the Christian Right's meddling in American political affairs for their own agenda.


I deeply honor Dr. King as a Christian for his work. He was a Reverend, after all.


I despise the violence and corruption of Muslim extremists, just as I despise the conduct of Christian extremists in America that take the word far too literally. Fundamentalists don't necessarily represent their religions themselves. 


I love and respect my Muslim neighbor that practices his faith with love, compassion and a gentle spirit.


Disrespecting a religion is like disrespecting a bicycle. Judge the conduct of the person riding it, not the thing itself. 


People, religious people included, are often hypocritical but that doesn't mean their religions are bad.


In fact, they are often wonderful.


Just my perspective. 




I would say the only thing

will's picture

I would say the only thing wonderful about a religion is the people that make it up. People are too unique, too individual and beautiful, to need some limiting belief system like religion. I feel that people only believe it's a force for good because they've been taught that, and they don't really know any other way.

True, except ...

Rebecca's picture

Religions do tend to be limiting, I agree, but that is their choice to make. Nobody can determine what is best for anyone else and the Universal law of Free Will ensures their right to make that mistake.

People believe religions are a force for good, and they are equally incorrect as those that believe it is a force for bad. It is neither. It is a force of potential that can be directed for a good or bad outcome. Religion is like a flame - it can be used in a romantic candlelight dinner, or to set a house on fire. In fact, the exact same flame can be used for both. The flame is powerless without a person behind it.

If a religion waited until a

will's picture

If a religion waited until a person was an adult, I would agree that it's a choice for the person to make. When a child is conditioned from a very early age to believe something... well I don't think people really have a choice when they don't know their options. I agree that a religion isn't really good or bad, but when a person has a deep, personal connection to God, there's no need for religion.

Agreed on all points, but it

Rebecca's picture

Agreed on all points, but it's still their call and nobody else's. They have a right to be 'wrong' as long as they don't hurt others. Also worth consideration is that not everyone comes to the divine the same way. I tend to think of religion as a step in the journey towards full realization, a step that some people like, want or may even need. As for kids, we should raise them to be independent thinkers, regardless of belief system. That is a whole 'nother discussion, though.


SJW's picture

These are all wonderful and respectful comments!


IndigoDream432's picture

Good to see this topic explored a bit! For my own experience, when I think of respect, I feel it means respecting the people themselves, and their right to believe what they choose.  However, I don't believe I have to respect actual belief systems designed to disempower and used as a tool for the mass enslavement of humans (strong words, but folks, it's time we call it by it's right name). 

In my mind, respecting the people's right to believe does not necessarily include tripping over myself to validate what it is they believe.  I think we have built into the concept of 'good manners' the notion it's not acceptable to challenge someone's beliefs when they feel moved to share.  I think it's healthy to openly discuss these things, and if one puts their beliefs on the table by sharing, there should be a reasonable expectation others might offer their ideas as well.  Instead the 'polite' thing to do is to validate and sooth.  I've been noticing these social rules lately and anymore they seem designed to promote group think and keep the enslaved in line.  

On a different scale, I see the religious and governmental institutions of this world as an outward construct of our own internal limiting beliefs - we all have a mini-gov't inside us, laying out the laws of what we can and can't do, what is possible and what isn't, we have our own internal churches where we limit our own abilities to heal ourselves and access "god/goddess" to create reality.  It might sound quaint but I wonder if each individual worked to dismantle their own limiting beliefs, if we would start to see these outward structures change as well. 

Nice article, look forward to seeing more. :)


Questionable Premises

Rebecca's picture

Lovely point, Indigo, and I agree that if each person worked to dismantle limiting beliefs, we would be better off. But, again, it's their choice. You don't have to trip over yourself to honor another's choice that is different from yours. There is no reason why every individual must be the same. What you are advocating is that every person be in the same place, on the same page, on the same path, at the same time. Which is precisely what the churches are trying to get us to do. Think on that.

But, the larger point is this: Your position is based on a faulty premise. You said,

"However, I don't believe I have to respect actual belief systems designed to disempower and used as a tool for the mass enslavement of humans (strong words, but folks, it's time we call it by it's right name)."

This premise is false, religion was not designed for any of that. People abused religious authority for so long that a distorted version of religion was created. The distortion is not the true thing, it is an illusion. So when you imply we should eliminate religion, you basically opt to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Religion is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. It does not deserve respect any more than a fork does. Use it to do good, or don't use it at all.

You both have inspired me to write a blog to delve deeper into my perspective, I'll share it when I finish.

Light Blessings,


ronlaswell's picture

Loved the article, and loved the various responders comments as well. 

To will and IndigoDream 432

Rebecca's picture

Okay, I wrote and posted my expanded perspective. If you would like to read it ... 


will, I can add a link to my blog post leading to this initial discussion, but I won't do that without your permission. 


Thank you both for the lively discussion, it helps me to understand my own position when that happens. 

Blessings and Light. 

You're welcome Rebecca!

will's picture

You're welcome Rebecca! Always good to have healthy and respectful communication. Where did you want to put the link? I'm a little confused about what you meant there.

the link

Rebecca's picture

I just wasn't sure about linking your post (this thread) to my blog post as a reference point when I explained the original conversation.

I went ahead and did it, though. If it is a problem. I will gladly remove it. 



IndigoDream432's picture

Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Rebecca. :)

I see how important it is to be more precise when expressing thoughts on this topic!

~~There is no reason why every individual must be the same. What you are advocating is that every person be in the same place, on the same page, on the same path, at the same time. Which is precisely what the churches are trying to get us to do.

Hmm, would you mind showing me where I said that all must be on the same page and path at the same time?  I'm not certain I said this and I certainly did not intend this, in fact, if you knew me, you would know that I absolutely appreciate deviation from the norm, variety, all points along the vibrational spectrum for all are beautiful and offer their own unique gifts.  I absolutely respect the individual's right to choose.  However, I have no obligation to respect the belief/idea itself.  There is a difference between the idea and the individual.  This is the point I was trying to make, but sadly, failed to some degree.

I see your point about Religion, I think I was referring to the illusory, dogmatic religions as they are practiced.  Of course there are certain practices that can assist one in focusing their intention and assist in raising one's vibrational state (prayer, saying the rosary, pagan ritual, shamanic practices, eastern martial arts, etc) and these 'tools' can be beneficial on one's path of spiritual exploration.  However, in my mind, the great majority of Religion, as it is practiced, most definitely is a tool of enslavement by those seeking to retain power, control and wealth - this is what the world might really be better off without!  This is my opinion and not really subject to 'right' or 'wrong' values. Do I respect an individual's right to disagree, I sure do. Do I necessarily respect *what* they believe, nope, not always.  

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!  I'm excited to read your blog post. :)