Beliefs and Opinions
We all have our beliefs and opinions that have developed with input from our environment, where we grew up, our parents, church, family, school, and friends. Our beliefs are either very firmly held or very weakly held. Moreover, our ideas and opinions are often questioned. Therefore, we must rethink our beliefs and opinions when we move into another environment, such as leaving our current community and attending college in another state or country.
I was fortunate in some respects because I grew up in a family with an Air Force father, so we moved often. From Indiana to Michigan, to Florida, and finally to Arkansas. Al very different parts of our country with different fundamental beliefs and history. Moving around helped form my opinions and belief system in a way that allowed for perhaps more flexibility than it would have had if I had lived in any of these areas my entire young years. Moving around the country has been advantageous as I have met others with different beliefs and opinions.
My middle daughter lived for a while in North Carolina, where she picked up the phrase “bless their pea-picking heart’ to keep from being angry with someone she was having trouble with. An interesting way of dealing with disagreements over differing beliefs and opinions.
Respect is defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary as admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities.” This definition is unambiguous: we admire this person for their good ideas or personal attributes. So this makes it very hard to respect the opinions of those you disagree with.
Perhaps the real question is “whether we can respect them as a part of humanity” while disagreeing with their belief system. This is probably the best answer to the headline question I have. I can respect some people I disagree with, but not all. The ones Those I don’t respect are still a part of the humanity of the world.
Those I don’t respect other than they are a part of humanity have earned that disrespect because of how they treat others. In general, to earn my respect, you have to
- Treat everyone as equally human. This means that you don’t divide humanity into various groups where some are deemed to be better than others. Instead, you treat everyone the same.
- Listen to everyone’s opinions looking for the nuggets that are common to both of you. No one’s views should be dismissed because you don’t like them or who they represent. We all have a piece of the answer.
- Support others as they grow and learn to be a better part of humanity. We don’t have to want to live like others or believe as they do, but they deserve to be heard.
Can I respect others’ beliefs and opinions?
My answer has to be not everyone’s. But I respect everyone’s right to have their opinions and think it is vital that everyone be willing to listen deeply to each other. Everyone must think for themselves and consider what others say and why.
It is okay to disagree with another person’s beliefs and opinions as long as you do so without demeaning their humanity. We are entering the political season in the United States. It is discouraging that those who want to be elected feel the need to do it based on negative advertising focused on misstatements and half-truths.