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Please Don't Insult Me. Respect Goes a Long Way.

I sit the fence on many things.  Sitting the fence allows me a great view of both sides.  I am not wishy washy, but open minded and willing to learn new things in an effort to gain a better understanding of the world around me.  I watch and listen and try to learn.  I make my decisions based not only on what I know already, but also by what is presented to me at the time.  My decisions are often affected by how they are presented.

EP offers me a place to meet people from all walks of life with every kind of view.  Because I am friends with conservatives, liberals, socialists, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists, gay, straight, bi, young, old, male, female, and everything and everybody in between, I am offered the opportunity to read all kinds of stories in a variety of groups.  I like reading stories from people outside my circle, too.  I love learning about the different perspectives and how these people came to believe what they do. 

When I first became a member here, I would actively seek out various groups of people different than myself.  Not anymore.  I do, in fact, avoid many of the very groups that I had a strong desire to understand better.  I‘ve been appalled at the lack of respect or civility I‘ve come across from some of the members in these groups, and I can’t help but take some of the rudeness personally. I’m sure there are many more members here who have found the same thing, so I hope I speak for them, too.  I will address one of these groups as an example, although I know this happens in other places, too.  This one just happens to hit me the hardest.

I consider myself a Christian although I don’t attend church or affiliate myself with any one religion.  While I would like to ask questions, express my doubts, and talk about my upbringing in a church, I’ve found that I will never talk about this here on EP.  I have seen much too much hate and ridicule for anyone who dares to express their religious or spiritual beliefs, ask a question, or God forbid, speak out.  (And no, I won‘t spell it “g*d“.   And while I’m at it, don’t call me “xtian“.  I don’t call you *theist.)  The “discussions” inevitably digress to nasty barbs, belittling, mocking, caustic sarcasm, and name calling.  Some of the names I’ve come across include simpering  idiots, morons, retards, ********, parasites, uneducated degenerates, and ignorant *****.  When I read this sort of disdainful animosity, I think of my dad.  He was a linguist who spoke 7 languages.  He was an Italian interpreter in WWII, and at one time a college professor of German and Spanish.  He read at least 5 academic or intellectual books a week.  He was learning Arabic and reading “The String Theory of Evolution” when he died 6 hours short of his 82nd birthday.  He was moral, but not self-righteous.  He was the man who taught me to respect others, no matter what their race, gender, or religion.  He was a loving family man, a liberal Democrat, and a devout Catholic. 

My father was an exemplary human being, humble, honest, funny, warm and kind.  To the hate mongers, you offend me when you describe yourself as such.  You not only offend me, you offend my dad, and you offend my sense of all that is right in people.  Think before you spew your insults and hate.  You are only making a case as to why I would never want to be like you.

Myonis108 Myonis108 56-60, F 82 Responses Sep 21, 2009

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I'm at little late to this discussion but I have to agree. Extremism on either side is the single biggest (in my opinion) divide in society and politics (another naughty word). Nothing is wrong with agreeing to disagree. Wish more people could accept that.

Weird, there are so many comments gone now. Sadly, they are comments from many who have deleted their accounts here at EP... and many because they were tired of the the things I addressed here.<br />
I hope that people do learn to respect each other here. There willl always be differences of opinion and beliefs, but the basic premise of this story still stands. "Please don't insult me. Respect goes a long way."

smebro, I so agree. I respect all views...as long as they are presented with respect. I have seen too much hatred and anger here. It leads nowhere, except to wider derisions and animosity. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree; as long as intelligent people think for themselves (which are always formed on beliefs and opinions based on their lives and experiences), there will be disagreements. I see no reason for hate or anger. My dad taught me respect. I will give that to anyone who is also willing to do the same in return. Otherwise, I have no reason to continue a one-sided discourse with no hope for a respectful discussion. Call me an idiot or an ignorant ****, I will gracefully and confidently walk away because I know I am neither, and have no reason to further discuss anything. Simply speaking, you lose. Thank you for reading my story and commenting with such a wise and pragmatic view to a difficult subject...which will most likely never be resolved in our lifetime. At least we can show some respect...live and let live.

In my opinion, in terms of religious debate (I gather this is what we're talking about) there is never a 'respectful debate' to be had. It is a near impossibility for any two such incompatible world views to align even in a hypothetical universe of discussion. Try and try as we might we are too different, the flexible and the inflexible- like rubber against brick- no one can win, lose or break even.

foodlover, it's so true. "My way or the highway" seems to be the mantra with some and generally they expect the other person to hit the road, never the other way around. <br />
tefron, civil discourse is far more effective than the name calling or as hominem attacks, every time. Respectful debate is healthy. And thanks, I was lucky to have my dad for as long as I did.

I loved what you wrote. I believe in civil discourse...now more than ever. Hate intolerance and self rightousness. I believe extremism is a minority...but a loud one.<br />
I believe faith requires uncertainty as well as certainty.<br />
I wish i had had, a dad like yours:o)

And that they are. I like to think we refrain from comment for all the right reasons, and not out of fear.

Thought I'd add my comment to the other hundred. Because you might need a little encouragement to share a little more. ;-)<br />
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I very much enjoyed the read, and very much agree. I pretty much avoid conflict like the plague, so I like debates when they're small. A few people sitting around on couches, or, if online, in PM form.<br />
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I will tell people pretty much the same thing as you do - I am a Christian, but not always a very good one. I don't usually go to church - because i don't like a lot of people who say they're Christian ;-) <br />
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At the same time, I have friends from all backgrounds, like you. And I wonder, if I were as open in discussing my ideas, would they be as willing to read my opinions as I am theirs? While I could never see myself stop believing in God, I do look at their posts...I read, and refrain from comment.<br />
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Yes, respect would be a good thing for everyone to learn.

Dear lady we are of a like mind on this topic. xx

stevester, I love a good debate. I love hearing both sides of an argument. If everyone commented in a rote, buttoned up manner, EP would be a very boring place. I even like a bit of sarcasm when it's humorous, but too many times I've seen it used to slam someone down and it comes off as cruel and condescending. Sarcasm in itself is rooted in a negative to begin with, so I think in an online forum where smiles and inflections are difficult to convey, it's best left to the lighter stories. I appreciate forthright comments in a debate. Those are the comments that often most clearly state where the commenter stands. If the argument is solid, there is no reason to resort to mean sarcasm and nasty names. I don't think there are many folks who take kindly to being called an ignorant **** even if it's meant to ***** the bubble of egocentrism. Direct confrontation can be done in a way that doesn't reduce what could be a great discussion into nothing more than back and forth swipes. I very much appreciate your comment on this story.

I thought I'd wait a while before venturing into this post cos I wanted it to be about what you said and what other like minded people think. I liked what you said and obviously you have a lot of support from your friends here. Good. <br />
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I don't sit on the fence very often and enjoy the cut and thrust of debate. Sure sometimes the comments get a bit barbed. Anyone who reads anything I write on here knows it's a bit cynical and sarcastic, but sometimes, and i admit they are rare, there's some sense in it. I come across others who comment in a very forthright manner and in a way I expect them to do that because I have got to know that's what they do. I might be wrong but I think some of the debates on here have a shape that people come to expect, there's the intellectual side, there's the dogmatic side, there's the very confrontational side, some like you go with the flow and there's some like me who tend to jump in without thinking. But don't you think individuality is what gives us anonymous people and avatars on here a form of personality? I accept that sometimes it appears to go over the top but i have seen a very intellectual discussion (and there are some hot thinkers in here) take a completely different and interesting turn because someone pops and calls us all pretentious wankers. It could be considered rude but sometimes it ****** the bubble of egocentrism.

Mega, I appreciate your thought but I can't say I agree with it. I can come up with many things I haven't made a decision about. There have been times I've acted quite differently than I thought I would when faced with a difficult situation.

Remember there is no gray. Only black and white and those on the fence have already made a decision.

Thanks, gounreal. I appreciate the comment.

Well said! =) 2 thumbs up for that

You're welcome. I'm missing my dad terribly right now. :(

I very much enjoyed reading this post as well as it's thread. Thank you Myonis.

Very much enjoyed reading this story .. thanks Myo xx

There are so many thoughtful eloquent posts, and I'm so very grateful.

Great post, and your father was a great man. I totally agree with you

I'm with you myonis108, YouPaintTheBoxYouLiveIn does write some amazing stuff. Kudos to him.

Reminds me of my dad, he's still alive. He taught us tolerance, we grew up in a cultural melting pot, mostly new immigrants and it was a great experience! My dad also taught us to do our own thinking, listen to all sides, but make up your own mind. He taught us to "question everything" and not take someone's word for granted. <br />
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The sitting on the fence bit threw me at first, I tend to understand this as someone who can't make a decision, but you don't strike me as suffering from this at all.<br />
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Naturally most intelligent folks know that to argue with ignorance and stupidity is a pointless chore. Thank God for people like you Myo who are confident enough to express their own opinions without fear or favour AND has something worthwhile to say!<br />
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Nice post.

Thanks, Dope. It's great to have you back.<br />
Salar1, thank you, too. I always appreciate reading your comments.<br />
YouPaintTheBoxYouLiveIn, wow...that was beautiful and thought provoking. I wish I could write like you!

A lady of substance , with a moral pedigree to match , and a mind to vocus it with .... a credit to your father <br />
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Well said My

This has to be one of the most important and heartfelt experiences I have ever read on this site. I applaud you. :)

There's always gotta be one wet blanket, I suppose. <br />
Thanks, I love you, too. =)

My only claim to spirituality in this venue was---and I'm not sure if it was true--I said "I'm a practicing Green Witch." I do have a strong feeling of connection with plants---but I think "Green Witch" was really an exaggeration. I hesitate to label myself with a claim to the religion that I practice. No sooner does a person say, "I am a Christian." or "I am a Buddhist." or "I am an Athiest." or "I am a Muslim". whether it's in the real world or online---you risk having to listen to people tell you what you believe. Seldom do people ASK what you believe... also, if you tell people what you don't believe, you risk making them angry. Politics is risky too-- for the same reason...still I find myself entering into these discussions--because I really am interested in what other people think--especially those who disagree with me. :). I don't mean to be condescending, when I laugh at people who are rude and start name calling and insulting me...it's just because I am very old and have spent a lot of my life raising children...naughty children are amusing---when they act like that...as long as they don't get physical--time out in the corner---or a good long nap is what I recommend.

Owlafaye--If you don't stop being bad, Santa is going to bring you switches and rotten potatoes for Christmas. rotfl :)

Hi ono! Thanks. I find people's behavior fascinating sometimes, good and bad. You said, "a new view helps one to see the greater picture, and even adjust ones own thoughts." You got the gist across in 25 words or less. :) I agree, but it's harder to see another's view when it's clouded with disrespect.

My, <br />
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I have always thought that the rudeness which comes out in many people can be due to their own closedmindedness. Take a moment, and notice, people other than ourselves, are fascinating. Why do people think and act they way they do? Do I really identify with that belief, behavior, action? Sometimes, a new view helps one to see the greater picture, and even adjust ones own thoughts. <br />
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You keep being you. Cause, quite frankly, I just adore the way you see things.