At the beginning of my journey away from organised religion, I used to say that even though I disagreed with peoples religion, that I respected their religion.
I think I lied.
Walk with me.
The dictionary defines respect, as a verb, to feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
And as a noun, it is defined as A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem; The state of being regarded with honour or esteem.
I cannot respect your religion if
– your religion advocates the annihilation of all who don’t believe in your God.
– your religion requires that you deny or separate from your family to follow it
– your religion at its core promotes gender inequality and in fact suppresses any form of female expression and leadership
– your religion does not acknowledge or treat non-heteronormative relationships as equal
– your religion promotes or is sympathetic to slavery
– your religion promotes social stratification by caste or class
– your religion says/implies that if you leave the fellowship/religion that you are shunned
– your religion whilst pretending to be universal is actually targeted at a small select bunch and has – arbitrary to rules to keep members in and non members out
– your religion has a God that advocates genocide
– your religion promotes that prayer trumps scientifically proven methods of dealing with illness
I can respect you as a friend and colleague, or indeed a stranger, and your right to a religious belief, but I cannot truly say I respect your religion if at advocates one or more of the above.
And so it begins.