There is something about modern society that has arisen from the good intentions of the P.C. Brigade yet it is something I have come to detest.
The fact that we all show “respect” to other people of all colours, races, nationality and sexuality etc is a laudable one and on the whole one I agree with. Why should I judge another person by an aspect of himself or herself that they cannot control or does me no difference? One can only judge another by their actions and effect. I agree we should accord equal respect to peoples who differ from us by incontrollable aspects that ultimately do us no harm.
A similar but different word than respect is tolerance. This means that I will allow someone his or her intellectual thoughts and opinions where they do not impact onto mine, but not when their deeds impact me adversely. If their tolerance extends to my thoughts and opinions then we have the basis of a reasoned and civilized society. As an adjunct to that we need to be open and accepting of rational and reasoned arguments, this is where the respect comes in. I shall respect a rational argument, I shall tolerate an unreasonable or irrational argument but I will oppose actions arising from an unreasonable argument.
Most religious thought deserves tolerance not respect because it is rarely based on rational and reasoned arguments. In a civilized society I tolerate religious believers their belief where it does not impact mine and they should do likewise to me. Unfortunately some firm believers do not accord me this tolerance and I then I spring to opposition. This article articulates this wonderfully.