Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Respect: Can You Respect a Person and not Respect Their Opinions?

The question is simple: Can you respect a person and not respect their opinions? (individual opinions not as a sum whole)

I grew up being taught that everyone has a right to their opinion and to this day I still believe that. What I do not believe is that everyone’s opinion should be given the same weight or respect. Many people’s ideas in fact deserve nothing more then to be ignored. Unfortunately those people and those ideas usually cannot be ignored for the very thing that makes those opinions so worthless is the very thing that makes them so dangerous: ignorance, both intentional and unintentional. 

I see this as I look back on the Evangelical Christianity of my past. As I have reexamined many of my previous beliefs and opinions with open eyes I see the ignorance that created and maintained them and I find that those beliefs now in fact turn my stomach to the point of disgust. Thankfully I did not live out my life to the full implications of those beliefs, few people do, which is why I can separate respect for the individuals who hold those same beliefs and the beliefs themselves. However just the fact that I supported many of those opinions is often embarrassing to me. I have many friends and family members who support many of those ideas I now reject and yes I still love and respect them but when it comes to their individual opinions on these various topics those I do not respect because these opinions tend to be uninformed, poorly thought out and simply not good (practically or morally) therefore respect is not due.  

So can you respect a person and not respect their opinion? I think so because I do. 

1 comment:

  1. It depends, because some people try to force their opinions upon you and in that case I will not respect someone opinionated and dogmatic. If the person is respectable and deserves respect then why not? You can like a person but disagree with their ideas and point of view. Sadly, now people are more likely to only associate themselves with people who have the same opinions as themselves. So we had segregation based on race,religion,social class and now we have a segregation of ideas. A world like this will not bring much for any of us.