The View From Where I’m Standing

22 February 2009

I know some of you may not believe this but it’s never my intention to be offensive or rude, either here or in “real life”.But I do know that sometimes I offend.  And I think I do that by showing a lack of respect.

I just cannot agree that we have to respect each other’s views.  I respect your right to HOLD those views but I don’t have to respect the views themselves.  And your right to hold whatever views you want doesn’t also give you a right to use them to determine the way I live my life.  If you want to believe that the world is flat, I’ll defend your right to believe that.  But don’t expect me not to laugh.  And don’t be offended when I discover that you’re a Qantas pilot and I refuse to get on your plane.

In some people’s mind, religious beliefs deserve some sort of special protection from ridicule and derision.  We’re always being told that we mustn’t offend people’s religious views.   Why on earth not? 

Why should I respect your view to allow your child to die rather than allow her to have a blood transfusion?  Although I wouldn’t normally condone violence, I’d have a lot more respect for a mother who killed to protect her child than one who just stood by, when she was perfectly able to save her child’s life.

It’s apparently reasonably acceptable to poke fun at the newer religions.  Who, except Tom Cruise, hasn’t laughed out loud at the beliefs of Scientologists?  But what adherents of the older religions don’t seem to get is that there an awful lot of us who find their beliefs just as crazy.  A misunderstanding/lie/fairy story doesn’t become a fact because it’s been passed on through the generations for a few thousand years.  But the Big Three have acquired a protection from criticism in some quarters.

Well, not in this quarter.  If you’re a Nazi, a racist, a creationist or a Christian, then your views will find no respect here.  I may respect your humanity (though that’s pushing it a bit in the case of a Nazi or racist) or the way you live your life, but never your beliefs. 

And if you find that offensive, all I can do is ask that you show some respect for MY views.  And stop reading my blog.



  1. Is there something you’d like to share with us? Some email, or expunged comment, perhaps?

  2. I agree with comment above. Someone or something “set you off”; there’s an interesting story here that you are too respectful to relate.

  3. As nearly always, I agree with Sally. What set ME off a few weeks ago were two Mormons who came to my door. I was, as I invariably am, polite and entered into a short discussion to explain to them that I am not an “unthinking” atheist, but one who has made a real effort to learn about religions but have come to the conclusion, for me, that there is no god. They, in turn, disparaged me, made me out to be a fool and then suggested I pray to God for belief in him. When I said I couldn’t pray to someone/something in whose existence I didn’t believe, they were even more contemptuous. I respected their right to their beliefs, but there was no reciprocity.

    And if you need someone who knows the bible inside out, ask Sally! Atheism isn’t a lazy way out; it’s an nformed choice.

  4. A girlfriend and I were talking about this very issue a few weeks ago – we ultimately decided that we couldn’t respect a decision that we felt hadn’t been made in an educated fashion.

    That being said, I’d like to say that I respect religious views of a general nature, but being a confirmed atheist (Mark prefers to call himself an anti-theist) makes it hard to me to deal with the whole creation business on top of the invisible omnipotent friend business.

    Maybe I should just say I am accepting of religion, rather than respectful?

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