A commenter recently made a comment to the blog post. [While he doesn't identify further, reading his post Conversations in the Clubhouse of Truly Smart People (the smart people club is apparently how he viewed the "imaginary elite society" of atheism when he was younger and an atheist), it seems he may be some sort of Christian.] He writes, regarding my post:
Hmm. Your list of comment instructions is disrespectful, actually; but it's your blog, and it doesn't really hurt anyone, just shows the contempt you feel for those with religious beliefs. Doesn't it?What exactly are my comment rules? You may be familiar with them, minus the recent revision to them of the FSM for The Skeptical Sorcerer. I've posted a brief run-through of them as a comment to this post, as it isn't exactly relevant (except for responding to the above).
So, what is this "respect" thing we keep hearing about? I would like to have the theists of this blog give me a clear definition of what they think does and does not constitute respect and what does and does not constitute disrespect. Further, how it applies to only, or even just more so, to atheists than theists, specifically Christians (since Christianity is what this blog is mostly dedicated to). And finally, just what is being disrespected and why that should be respected.
respect (n):If we are to have a discussion, surely it should be towards the person and not the concept. If someone comes on here and tells me why atheism or why I am wrong, I would not count that as disrespectful. If they are insulting me or being rude, I would count that as disrespectful (though, I wouldn't even make a mention of it as the person's respect or disrespect is completely immaterial to the discussion). If they come on here, as Christian commenters have, calling me a "fiend," a "fool," or throwing around threats of Hell, I would count that as disrespectful -- just as if an atheist did it. If someone makes a joke out of it, though, I would not count that as disrespectful.
3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
5. the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.
disrespect (n): lack of respect; discourtesy; rudeness.
I respect your right to have an opinion. I respect your right to your religion. I respect that you have chosen Christianity as that religion. I most certainly, though, do not respect Christianity, nor do I respect the Bible. I disbelieve and abhor most of what is written in the Bible and detest that which Christianity teaches.
There is a difference between showing respect for a person or respect in a conversation and showing respect for and for showing respect for a concept. I offer this as only a closing remark due to the nature of this post: I may think Christianity is foolish and that the person who believes and accepts it is a fool, and that is my right to do so. It's also my right to tell Christians that I believe them to be fools; however, it would be disrespectful to call them fools, as that is needlessly rude and insulting. It is not, however, disrespectful for me to express my feelings and also articulate why I think Christianity is foolish.