When I was a young man, a song rocketed to the Billboard Hot 100 called “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. I remember seeing and hearing people singing this song everywhere I went. I did my share of singing it and it still remains one of my favorite songs. Perhaps one reason for its immense popularity was that it so accurately reflected what each of us longs for: to be treated with dignity and respect.
If you think about it, when we disrespect another person, we are actually disrespecting ourselves. We need to always remember to treat others with dignity and respect. We can respect the person, we can respect their right to believe whatever they choose to believe and we can treat what they believe with respect even if we do not respect what they believe. You do not have to agree with something that you do not believe, just disagree respectfully.
Religion and politics are volatile topics that can quickly get out of hand since so many people only respect what they themselves believe. Yet, those volatile topics can be discussed if you remember to show respect for all other views and display no condescension or sarcasm. The most important thing is to keep your discussions on what you believe, not what you do not believe.
The Golden Rule is a great guide for how to treat others with respect. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 7:12 ESV