Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I respect people but not all their views, opinions and sentiments.

Gandhi once said, 'hate the sin, not the sinner' and I totally agree to this statement, but it is also true that it is very difficult to follow this advise. Many times we find it very difficult to isolate beliefs, acts (good or bad) from any person and look at them independently. If we see some person doing good things we start liking them, and we like or love them so much that many times we even try to defend their bad things as we believe that such a nice person can not do anything wrong (hardcore devotees and fan clubs come in this category). Similarly if we have negative image of some person in our mind we develop such a negative attitude towards him/her that we don't want to offer any words of appreciation even towards good deeds done by them (we see this attitude very often in politics). I personally believe in respecting people no matter who they are, I think we as a humans should first learn to respect each other irrespective of our religion, nationality, color, race, etc. According to me this is a basic requirement to call anyone a human, we all need to have mutual respect. But this mutual respect doesn't mean that we need to respect each other's views, beliefs, opinions or sentiments. All these things differ from person to person, people have different type of opinions about same issues, they follow different religions or no religion, some are sensitive and some are not. There is tremendous diversity among all of us as far as our emotions and thinking patterns are concerned, it is impossible to expect that everyone will agree with each other on everything. If we are compelled to respect each and every sentiment and all the time have to be careful not to hurt them then we can not talk or discuss or argue about any issue or can not even question anything. Because no matter how careful we are, our questioning or criticism is bound to hurt someone's sentiments or make some one feel uncomfortable. So the expectation to respect every sentiment or belief or view is totally unreasonable and against spirit of argument or rational discussion.

So let me make clear what I mean in title of this blog post: I respect all people and as a human beings I consider it as my duty to do that but I am not obliged to respect all their beliefs, opinions or sentiments. Rather I am totally free to challenge their opinion, criticize them, question their beliefs or sentiments, at the same time they are also free to do the same with my beliefs or sentiments. They have right to offend me and I also hold the same right. Let me also make it clear that questioning someone's opinions or beliefs or commenting on their sentiments positively or negatively does not mean showing any disrespect to that person. When I question I am trying to challenge or object those beliefs or opinions not the existence of that particular person, there is a difference between challenging a person and challenging their beliefs. Many cultures or religions consider obedience as a necessary virtue and very important sign to show respect towards seniors. But obedience doesn't mean blind faith or total devotion without any right to question, this type of obedience is total surrender which is dangerous for any human being as it shuts their thinking process off. Any human without any logical or rational thinking of their own will become like a robot which can be used to carry out any good or bad work, actually recruitment of young kids for terrorism is a ideal example of this. We have enough devotees or followers in this world, we need many more rational and independent thinkers who are willing to challenge and question things around us. These are the people who can initiate change, who have capacity to go against the flow.

So next time when you see someone questioning your sentiments or views or beliefs don't think that it is a sign of disrespect or insult but take it as a challenge to validate your thoughts, take it as a challenge to prove your point with evidence and data, it will only improve your own knowledge and help that other person also understand your views better. Let's show respect towards each other as a person but feel free to challenge each other's thoughts, this is the only way we can progress.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

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