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How do you respond to beliefs different to your own?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hey guys.

So in my sociology class at college there is a guy who's Mormon. He talks about his beliefs a lot, and I do ask him questions because it interests me how different his beliefs are to my own.

But it got me thinking, he tries to convert people to his beliefs a lot... but when someone responds with a different belief it aggravates him and he doesn't accept that beliefs other than his own are acceptable.

So how do you respond when someone has a religious belief (or maybe a political view) contrasting to your own? Do you question them on it, or just accept it? I think I feel that, if you are going to talk about your beliefs you should be willing to listen to peoples responses.
For example if someone questions my veganism, I'll explain why I'm vegan and I always say "I know it isn't for everyone, and I don't expect the entire world to be vegan". Just curious how other people respond to different opinions.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I usually question it. One of my friends is Jewish and sometimes talks about it and if you ask him a question, he will answer it. But I don't ever remember him trying to force his beliefs upon me. (ignoring the time he told me that he's having his dinner which contains meat and I could not have a cup of tea with milk in)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think you have the right view there. Everyone is different and entitled to their own beliefs but shouldn't pressure anyone else into believing them and should understand that some people will agree with them and others won't. When you contrast with someone I guess you just have to understand that is what they believe and it doesn't make either of you right or wrong but just different in what you believe in. I agree that if you are talking about your beliefs you should be willing to take a step back and listen to everyone else.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's very difficult to reason someone out of position they didn't reason themselves into. This goes double for beliefs that are as all encompassing as religious ones, where to cease belief is to admit a lot of time and energy spend labouring under a misapprehension. This Mormon chap has probably had his Mormonism stuffed into his head since he was Santa Claus susceptible - very few adults in full control of their facilities exposed to Mormonism for the first time could find it convincing.

    I don't buy into the blanket idea of everyone being entitled to believe what they want with no repercussion. If you belief something dangerous - accepting that beliefs inform actions - you should be challenged; if you're proselytising something ridiculous then you should be brought up on it.

    The fact that he gets agitated when you disagree speaks volumes: he's not used to kickback and probably isn't interested in a dialogue. If you suspect this is the case too, I'd politely inform his that unless he's interested in a back and forth then he needs to pipe down up because his Mormonism is, to paraphrase Sam Harris, a little more idiotic than Christianity - it has to be, as it's Christianity plus some very stupid ideas.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There isnt much you can do im afraid. You seem to have taken a good stance, asking questions about things you dont know about, showing interesting and a wanting to learn. However i think it is wrong for people to try and force their views on others.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The right thing to do is to accept that other people will have a belief about something that may be strongly held. The idiotic thing to do is to try and get them to change it. Especially when it comes to religion or politics. That person may be a firm believer that God wants you to go out and marry your daughters, or that it is every person's right to own an assault rifle.
    The more you try and convince them that they're full of shit, the more they will cling onto their belief and then you are on the road to conflict.
    When I'm at work I just nod and smile if someone is talking shit, it's served me well so far.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I get this a lot at work - one of the guys is a staunch Ricky Gervais-esque atheist. So bad in fact that if someone sneezes and somebody says "bless you" he goes off on a rant about "why are you wasting your time with silly fairy tales" etc. Utterly intolerant and refuses accept that other people are entitled to hold views he disagrees with.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Interesting responses thanks guys. I think the one thing that really winds me up is when someone constantly talks about their opinion and wont listen to anyone else's, either don't talk about it or accept other people think differently.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Bearing in mind that one may be sensitive to peoples' beliefs, Mormonism is particularly laughable and if a Mormon was proselytizing, I'd lay straight into them.

    For instance, Joesph Smith (their founder) taught that there were inhabitants on the moon, and Brigham Young (Smith's succesor) taught there were inhabitants on the sun as well!

    Mormons doctrine taught and believed that before 1978 they considered the Negro race inferior, and even one drop of Negro blood prevented a person from entering their priesthood.

    Mormon's teach that women will give birth “forever and ever” to spirit-babies.

    Etc etc ..... you can do more research but this is the type of nonsense they base themselves on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oh I've done a fair bit of research into it which is why I'm so interested. It genuinely amazes me that people can believe that a black person will gradually turn white if they join the Mormon faith, and god is an alien living on another planet! I do feel sorry for the children in Mormon society because (from what the guy in my class has said) there really isn't a way out. If you leave the church your family will abandon you. They seem, for lack of a better word, slightly brainwashed.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If someone was walking down the street wearing ridiculous clothing, telling everyone that they looked pretty cool and smart would you take it upon yourself to publicly ridicule them and their taste? Unlikely. But those with different beliefs, well they're just fair game to some, whether said beliefs are destructive or not.
  • Annaarrr!!Annaarrr!! Noob Posts: 876
    People on here are well aware I'm catholic and I've never tried to force it or convert anyone, but people have had a go at me on here for my beliefs haha. I genuinely find atheists try to convince of their beliefs (or lack of religiously) a lot more than any religious person I've met. I just accept it, i have friends from loads of religions and its never changed how I perceive them. Obviously if they act on a belief that hurts another person, that's not okay Imo but i haven't experienced that..
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Would you not consider raising a child, for example, to be homophobic due to the parents religion hurting other people? Personally I think that not only damages the child but those around them, and it is a shame for a child to be nurtured in such a closed minded way.
    I also disagree with the teachings in religious schools. My mum works in a catholic school, they don't teach about contraception and I think that is completely wrong. Young people should know about all the options available to them, school should be a neutral environment not one that denies children knowledge of other religions, contraception, drug use etc. etc.

    I don't think I've ever met an atheist who has preached at me about their views, but then I suppose I am not religious so there's been no need for them to do so. (I consider myself agnostic)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ahhh, generalisations :D

    Just because someone is religious does not make them homophobic. The religious types who are most probably would be against gays whether religion played a part in their lives or not. Me, yes a Christian. Homophobic? Can't say that I am. I have no interest in anyone else's private life, gay, straight or anything in between.

    And of course you won't have experienced the Church of Dawkins - they only go after religious types.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was using that as an example. I know not ALL religious people are homophobic- there are a lot of gay religious people and I know a few, I just wondered if other people consider that a harmful belief to nurture children into like I do.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ah ok I see :)

    Well yes bringing any child in to a belief system of discrimination is always a bad thing - I feel for the current and next generation of Westboro Church kids. But they really are a small (but loud) minority.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    On the same front, it worries me when I have children whether I will raise them as vegan. I'd want them to be aware of all food forms etc. and let them make up their own mind, but then I wouldn't be able to cook them meat or anything because I couldn't try it to know it was safe. The little boy I babysit for eats meat and if I have to cook him fish fingers or something it really scares me that I will make him ill.

    I really think children should be raised as open-minded as possible, and I know it is only a small minority of religious parents who have damaging views but they can really effect the children. Like the Mormon guy in my class who told me everything I do is a sin... that is not a safe way to think!!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Parenting is a fine line. There are no universal instructions for what is the best/worst way to bring them up. You do what you feel is best. Here's the killer line - I'm Christian, my OH is Hindu. She has 2 kids from her last relationship (to a Muslim man), I have a daughter who is brought up generically Christian. We have a baby together on the way.

    Generally we don't talk about religion :D

    I have no interest in converting to Hinduism and she's the same for Christianity. That doesn't stop us respecting each other's beliefs. Each morning she does her prayer rituals. I give her the space and peace to do it, naturally. She recognises the significance of Christian 'dates' for me. Obviously I want our baby to know about Christianity as well as all faiths, as does she. Our individual beliefs aren't necessarily exclusive. We work alongside each other where some people would assume it causes problems and disagreement.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What a very diverse household you have :razz: So do you celebrate all the Hindu and Christian religious festivals in your house?
    A friend of mine is Muslim, and they have a kind of mini Christmas for her little brother (who's 5) so he doesn't feel left out when he goes back to school and they're talking about presents. I think that is just the loveliest thing ever.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks :D

    Where we can yeah - acknowledging her religious dates doesn't interfere with my beliefs. Respecting them does not mean I take them on as my own and neither would she expect that. Also the bible says a man should honour his woman etc so I see all this as a natural extension.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    Ahhh, generalisations :D

    Just because someone is religious does not make them homophobic. The religious types who are most probably would be against gays whether religion played a part in their lives or not. Me, yes a Christian. Homophobic? Can't say that I am. I have no interest in anyone else's private life, gay, straight or anything in between.

    While it would be patently ridiculous to suggest all religious folk are homophobic, a liberally-minded Catholic, for instance, is holding a position contrary to that bigotry of which the church has proselytised with such gusto. A bigotry given special fervour due to hell-fire and punishments looming in the afterlife, and a special dispensation for being "a strongly held religious belief".

    And while it's nice to enjoy the fiction of respecting people's beliefs (a position rarely advanced for anything other than religious beliefs - the absurdity of being admonished to respect my political or economic beliefs is obvious) imagine being a gay man who was to be randomly repatriated tomorrow. Have you your fingers crossed for the Islamic Republic of Iran or the secular liberals of Sweden?
    And of course you won't have experienced the Church of Dawkins - they only go after religious types.

    Yeah, I understand: militant atheist; Islamaphobia; Church of Dawkins, etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    While it would be patently ridiculous to suggest all religious folk are homophobic, a liberally-minded Catholic, for instance, is holding a position contrary to that bigotry of which the church has proselytised with such gusto. A bigotry given special fervour due to hell-fire and punishments looming in the afterlife, and a special dispensation for being "a strongly held religious belief".

    Slow down there Hoss :D

    Just like any belief system, not all followers of all aspects agree on all its teachings. Yes you get some very bigoted Catholics but the 'centralised' Vatican version is not as inherently 'anti-gay' as it once was. For example I was brought up in a very staunch Irish-style Catholic household. I often joked that my mother had a hotline to the pope.

    Yet at no point was there ever any anti-gay sentiment in my upbringing. There was the occasional "I hope he doesn't turn out gay" discussion but that was based on my parents wanting grandchildren, nothing more. And this would have been in the late 70s/early 80s when the idea of adoption by gays was as likely as the rumour of Thatcher actually having a soul.

    I'm of the belief that in recent years any anti-gay feeling by clergy and members of Catholicism was probably more to compensate for their own confused sexuality. In no way am I suggesting that excuses it of course.
    And while it's nice to enjoy the fiction of respecting people's beliefs (a position rarely advanced for anything other than religious beliefs - the absurdity of being admonished to respect my political or economic beliefs is obvious) imagine being a gay man who was to be randomly repatriated tomorrow. Have you your fingers crossed for the Islamic Republic of Iran or the secular liberals of Sweden?

    Why is it fiction? I'm living proof of it and so is my OH. I know countless other Christians with the same mentality. Ditto Muslims and Hindus. I also know plenty of athiests with a "I don't give a shit what you believe in" attitude.

    As for other countries, cultures etc I'll have to draw a blank on that one.

    Yeah, I understand: militant atheist; Islamaphobia; Church of Dawkins, etc.

    I feel I need to draw a very thick line between atheism and 'new atheism', the latter being the movement created over the past few years which has Richard Dawkins as its figurehead, where they gather in groups and discuss the texts in the holy book "The God Delusion", with quotations from (Ricky) Gervais the Baptist thrown in too. Next they'll be meeting in designated buildings on a set day of the week... ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not all 'religious' people are homophobic but almost every 'religion' is. It just so happens that those 'enlightened' religious people choose what they do and don't want to believe - often contrary to their religion's edicts. So if you're a Catholic and pro-gay equality, you're not really a proper Catholic.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not all 'religious' people are homophobic but almost every 'religion' is. It just so happens that those 'enlightened' religious people choose what they do and don't want to believe - often contrary to their religion's edicts. So if you're a Catholic and pro-gay equality, you're not really a proper Catholic.

    That's just not true.

    The bible says nothing about gays or gay relationships, only the act of gay sex itself.

    If someone choose to distort a religion's teachings to fuel their own prejudice then that's up to them, not the religion itself.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You don't respect your partner's beliefs merely because your partner holds them; you respect her reasons for holding her beliefs. Or at least I hope you do. If I tell you I'm a democratic socialist or a member of the Labour Party or a subscriber to Keynesian economic theory, then I don't want you to respect my beliefs. Ultimately, I want you to respect the reasons behind my beliefs. It's what it is to be a rational human being.

    If your wife is a Hindu and you're a Catholic it seems to me you have to hold some fairly interesting views on your wife's religious beliefs. I'd imagine you have to believe that her creation story is either plain wrong or, rather, simply less likely than yours, otherwise you'd be a Hindu on the creation myth front! Where do you stand on Ganesh and the caste system? Take a moment to be cognizant of your opinions on her beliefs; don't just reach for the platitudes of "no-one can be certain about the nature of ...".

    To what degree people should be challenged on their beliefs is the real point of interest. Given that beliefs inform actions I generally try assess the likely negative effects of a belief being held. But the notion that any belief is off limits or one should be admonished to respect it is rather silly.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    That's just not true.

    The bible says nothing about gays or gay relationships, only the act of gay sex itself.

    If someone choose to distort a religion's teachings to fuel their own prejudice then that's up to them, not the religion itself.

    You do know what dangerous footing you're on using the Bible as source of morality. :D

    I've read that thing. It ain't pretty.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You don't respect your partner's beliefs merely because your partner holds them; you respect her reasons for holding her beliefs. Or at least I hope you do. If I tell you I'm a democratic socialist or a member of the Labour Party or a subscriber to Keynesian economic theory, then I don't want you to respect my beliefs. Ultimately, I want you to respect the reasons behind my beliefs. It's what it is to be a rational human being.

    I respect her beliefs because she's a fellow human being. That should be one the most basic tenets of existence in my opinion. Oh and because she'll stop making my awesome lunches :D
    If your wife is a Hindu and you're a Catholic it seems to me you have to hold some fairly interesting views on your wife's religious beliefs. I'd imagine you have to believe that her creation story is either plain wrong or, rather, simply less likely than yours, otherwise you'd be a Hindu on the creation myth front! Where do you stand on Ganesh and the caste system? Take a moment to be cognizant of your opinions on her beliefs; don't just reach for the platitudes of "no-one can be certain about the nature of ...".

    Call me a Catholic one more time and you and I will have a big problem ;)

    I said I'm Christian - I was just raised Catholic. I got away from that as soon as I turned 18.

    I have no opinion on any of her Hindu beliefs. We simply don't talk about it and I see no reason to do so. This is where a lot of conflict comes from, others assuming that there simply MUST be an issue within 2 different faiths, *almost* as if they feel its their duty to stir. Not saying that's what I think you're doing but even if it was, nope - not happening.
    To what degree people should be challenged on their beliefs is the real point of interest. Given that beliefs inform actions I generally try assess the likely negative effects of a belief being held. But the notion that any belief is off limits or one should be admonished to respect it is rather silly.

    Unless there is clear and unequivocal proof that a person's faith (and how they apply it to their lives rather than simply going on the fact they call themselves a follower of a religion) is encroaching on someone else's life in a negative way I disagree that anyone's beliefs (or lack of) should be challenged.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You do know what dangerous footing you're on using the Bible as source of morality. :D

    I've read that thing. It ain't pretty.

    Not making any particular statement on that, merely pointing out what I considered needing clarification in the post I was replying to :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    I respect her beliefs because she's a fellow human being. That should be one the most basic tenets of existence in my opinion. Oh and because she'll stop making my awesome lunches :D

    I don't think I could disagree more. I don't respect a person's beliefs merely because they hold them and I don't think you do either. If you spend a minute thinking about all the people whose opinions you believe to be idiotic and/or dangerous then I suspect you'll realise that. In the rush to appear non judgemental I fear we're in danger of professing to have jettisoned some of the fundamental phenomena which make us human: rationality and awareness of self.
    Call me a Catholic one more time and you and I will have a big problem ;)

    I said I'm Christian - I was just raised Catholic. I got away from that as soon as I turned 18.

    I have no opinion on any of her Hindu beliefs. We simply don't talk about it and I see no reason to do so. This is where a lot of conflict comes from, others assuming that there simply MUST be an issue within 2 different faiths, *almost* as if they feel its their duty to stir. Not saying that's what I think you're doing but even if it was, nope - not happening.

    You have no opinion on her beliefs at all? I find that difficult to believe. Do you equally have no opinion on any of her non-religious beliefs?

    By definition as a Christian you have to think Islam has Jesus pegged incorrectly. They don't have him down as the son of God. It's about the only thing you can reliably assume a Christians to believe!
    Unless there is clear and unequivocal proof that a person's faith (and how they apply it to their lives rather than simply going on the fact they call themselves a follower of a religion) is encroaching on someone else's life in a negative way I disagree that anyone's beliefs (or lack of) should be challenged.

    Missionaries in Africa preaching the immorality of condoms.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think I could disagree more. I don't respect a person's beliefs merely because they hold them and I don't think you do either.

    If judging me by your own standards works for you then that's all that counts ;)
    If you spend a minute thinking about all the people whose opinions you believe to be idiotic and/or dangerous then I suspect you'll realise that. In the rush to appear non judgemental I fear we're in danger of professing to have jettisoned some of the fundamental phenomena which make us human: rationality and awareness of self.

    I'm not one of these curious types who only respect someone's beliefs and ideals if they're "trendy". As humans we're all entitled to hold views that are agreeable to us. But that does not mean I am in favour of these beliefs. For example, take Nick Griffin. I can't stand the guy. Given half a chance I'm sure he'd try to deport my OH (even though she was born here) or whatever. I find everything about him and his views repugnant however I respect his right to have them. He's entitled.

    You have no opinion on her beliefs at all? I find that difficult to believe. Do you equally have no opinion on any of her non-religious beliefs?

    I'm sorry to disappoint you but no, I don't have any real view on her beliefs and I don't see why I should. I have enormous respect for how they have helped her though difficult times and if there's a Hindu festival (like the recent Diwali) I have no problem going along with her and the kids as support - hell, I love fireworks. She is not the type to preach to me and neither am I to her. If either of us were then we wouldn't be each other's soul mate.
    By definition as a Christian you have to think Islam has Jesus pegged incorrectly. They don't have him down as the son of God. It's about the only thing you can reliably assume a Christians to believe!

    True however a) that's not something we sit down and talk about after Eastenders and b) she's Hindu - not Muslim. She 'converted' to Islam just to please her then partner (father of the kids) 10 years ago but it never meant anything to her.
    Missionaries in Africa preaching the immorality of condoms.

    Yes but do they speak for all of Catholicism? Do they speak for my mother? No. One of the biggest misconceptions by some atheists is to assume one person speaking about their religion represents the view of ALL its followers. As the kids say these days, rookie error.

    For example I have no problem with the suggestion of life on other planets. Why not? If someone wants to use the Bible as their reference then there's nothing in scripture to say they don't exist.
  • Annaarrr!!Annaarrr!! Noob Posts: 876
    None of my family are homophobic. We're an Irish Catholic family, I have gay family who still practice. My school has never taught that being gay is wrong and if someone needs help because they do/don't want to come out or need help coming to terms with what theyre dealing with then the support is there just like it would be for a straight person who needs help and advice and they don't try and make you straight or whatever bullshit people seem to think goes on. Also, no we never got taught how to put a condom on a cucumber but i think that's a bit vulgar and unnecessary in year 8. If you cant work out how it works you shouldn't be having sex haha. We got sex ed lessons and we were taught about contraceptives. I would never turn around and say all Muslims are terrorists cos its complete and utter kack so I don't understand why all this shit gets brought up when Christianity or Catholicism is mentioned
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